By notice contained in Medicaid Communication 14 – 15 issued on December 19, 2014, the State of New Jersey formally announced the official end of the Medicaid Medically-Needy program. Medically-Needy Medicaid no longer accepted applications after November 30, 2014. Beginning on December 1, 2014, individuals seeking Medicaid to pay nursing home costs as well as home.. read more →

Earlier in December, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, or the ABLE Act. The ABLE Act provides individuals with special needs and disabilities to own tax-free savings accounts while preserving their needs-based government benefits. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law. Beginning in 2015, the disabled and.. read more →

Plaintiff, D.W., is a 48 year-old woman with Down’s Syndrome and the mental capacity of a 4-year-old. She requires care 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. She resides with her sister who works full-time. D.W. participates in the Personal Preference Program (PPP) administered by the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS)… read more →

On December 12, 2014, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA). Among other provisions in the NDAA, Section 624 protects the disabled children of military families by allowing their parents’ survivor benefits to go into a special needs trust. This new law permits a disabled child to benefit from a parent’s military.. read more →

 Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Effective 1-1-15  SSI Federal Benefit Rate           SSI Resource Maximum For an Individual – $733.00                   2,000.00 For a Couple – $1,100.00                      3,000.00 New Jersey State Supplement: New Jersey supplements the federal benefit rate with additional money. The payment received by SSI recipients each month includes.. read more →

On December 3rd, I presented at the 72nd Semi-Annual Tax and Estate Planning Forum sponsored by the NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education. My presentation focused on recent developments in planning for disabled beneficiaries, including my recent victory in the New Jersey Supreme Court in the Thomas Saccone v. Board of Trustees of the Police and.. read more →

An appeals court in Maryland has upheld the criminal conviction of a daughter who withdrew funds from a joint account with her father, holding that her father did not intend to make a gift when he put his daughter’s name on his bank account. Wagner v. State of Maryland. Marion Wagner was 84 years old,.. read more →

Reversing a trial court, an appeals court ruled that a beneficiary’s Social Security benefits, though deposited each month into a special needs trust, were correctly counted as income by Louisiana’s Medicaid agency. Moore v. Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals (La.App.Ct.1st Cir., No. 2014CA0422, Nov. 7, 2014). Jess Moore, a disabled resident of Louisiana, lived in.. read more →

What is SSI? SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is a federal program that provides monthly cash payments to people who are aged (65 or older), as well as for blind or disabled people of any age, including children. To qualify, an applicant must have little or no income and few resources. 2015 Cost-of-Living Increase The.. read more →

  Elder Law College 2014  Presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education Thu, Dec 18 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Location: Crowne Plaza 690 Route 46 East Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 973-227-9200 If you have an interest in representing the graying segment of our population, this is the course for you. In just one.. read more →

The following notice appeared in the November 15, 2014 RAO Bulletin: To align VA’s healthcare program with the financial assessment requirements for other federal healthcare programs, the VA has approved a process change to cease collection of veterans’ net worth information for purposes of means testing for health benefits. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, VA will.. read more →

Clients often come to my office seeking a solution to the following problem: the client has lost Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid coverage due to the receipt of Social Security benefits on a parent’s record based upon the retirement, death or disability of the parent. The client asks if it’s possible to continue receiving.. read more →

Contrary to popular opinion, under the law of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states, an unlimited gifting authority in a power of attorney does not protect the agent from criminal liability for self-dealing. A recent appeals court decision in Pennsylvania demonstrates this legal principal. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Patton David L. Patton was arrested in.. read more →

72nd Semi Annual Tax and Estate Planning Forum Presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education Wed, Dec 3 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM $220.00 General Tuition S12700W5 Location: Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel 515 US Highway 1 South Iselin, NJ (732) 634-3600 Don’t miss out – register today to hear from a virtual “who’s who”.. read more →

New Jersey Medicaid may not count IRAs, 401(k) and pension plans owned by the spouse of an applicant in determining eligibility if funds may be withdrawn only by borrowing against the retirement assets. Avery v. Union County Division of Social Services Rose Avery admitted her husband, Friend Avery, to a nursing home in July 1997. After.. read more →

As discussed in a prior blog post, a major overhaul of Medicaid will be introduced in New Jersey in the coming months. The new Medicaid program is called Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). The MLTSS implementation date has been repeatedly adjourned, and the next date scheduled to put the new program into effect.. read more →

The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli is proud to announce that Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. has been named as a “Super Lawyer” on the 2015 New Jersey Super Lawyers list. This is the 9th consecutive year in which Mr. Vanarelli has been named to the Super Lawyers list in New Jersey. The Super Lawyers website.. read more →

An issue concerning the payment of college tuition arose in a recent case that may be of interest to readers of this blog. In this case, the mother, who is my client, adopted two children later in life. Both children are now attending college. In the past few years, the mother has been paying college.. read more →

An appeal of a claim for Medicaid benefits that was filed late may be considered when the applicant shows that the filing deadline should be extended due to “extraordinary and extenuating circumstances.” Reuter v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Docket No. A-0514-13T2 (App. Div., October 17, 2014) Plaintiff, Greta Reuter, a nursing home.. read more →

REVISED ATTORNEY ADVERTISING GUIDELINE 3 ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENTS: USE OF QUOTATIONS OR EXCERPTS FROM JUDICIAL OPINIONS ABOUT THE LEGAL ABILITIES OF AN ATTORNEY The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved the attached revised version of Attorney Advertising Guideline 3, “Attorney Advertisements: Use of Quotations or Excerpts from Judicial Opinions about the Legal Abilities of an Attorney,”.. read more →

NAELA Aids Win for Children With Disabilities of Retired New Jersey Police and Firefighters New Jersey Supreme Court decision allows survivor benefits to be designated to a special needs trust. The New Jersey supreme court’s decision to allow children with disabilities of retired police and firefighters to receive their parent’s survivor benefits without the risk.. read more →

Following the decedent’s death, one of his three children applied for summary administration of the estate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:10-4, which governs intestate estates that do not exceed $10,000. More than two years later, the estranged wife of one of the decedent’s children filed an action for probate, claiming that there was a 2005 will.. read more →

New Jersey’s Qualified Income Trust Template For many years, Medicaid programs available to elderly and disabled New Jersey residents to help pay for long-term care costs have been quite limited. The Medicaid-Only Medicaid program pays the care costs of nursing home residents. A companion program, Global Options for Long-Term Care, pays care costs for residents.. read more →

In In re Tomei Trust, in connection with a family dispute regarding ownership of a business, plaintiff sought to terminate a trust he established, in which his father was the trustee. Plaintiff claimed that his father misappropriated trust funds, and asserted that the trust termination date was August 18, 2003. Plaintiff claimed that, despite the.. read more →

In re S.H. was a contested guardianship litigation centering on who should be appointed guardian for S.H., a twenty-eight year old incapacitated woman. S.H. had lived with her mother, who “dutifully and selflessly cared for” S.H. her entire life. However, S.H.’s sister opposed their mother’s appointment , based upon the actions of the mother’s live-in boyfriend… read more →

Appearing Above, Left to Right: NAELA Board member Ron Landsman, Esq., CAP, who filed a brief for the Special Needs Alliance and argued the cause before the Court; NAELA member Donald Vanarelli, CELA, CAP, who represented Mr. Saccone and argued before the Court; and NAELA members Robert F. Brogan, CELA, CAP, and Dan Jurkovic, CELA,.. read more →

Court OKs Trusts for Disabled Kids of Cops and Firefighters NJ Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, author of the majority opinion in Thomas Saccone v. Board of Trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System For Plaintiff-Appellant Thomas Saccone: Donald D. Vanarelli (Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli, attorney; Mr. Vanarelli and Whitney W. Bremer,.. read more →

This was a contested guardianship case involving S.H., called “Sarah” by the court, a 28 year old incapacitated woman. The principal issue in the case was whether Sarah’s guardian should be her mother, B.H. (Barbara), who filed the guardianship action, or J.H. (Joan), Sarah’s adult sister. Joining Joan in opposing Barbara’s appointment were: Barbara’s ex-husband,.. read more →

There are different rules regarding the imposition and repayment of Medicaid liens prior to funding special needs trusts (as opposed to the imposition and recovery of Medicaid liens from estates of deceased recipients.(Notably, the lien rules are different in the context of institutional liens (see N.J.S.A. 30:4-80.1) and DDD services (see N.J.A.C. 10:7-6.1). The differences.. read more →

The 17th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on September 17, 2014 at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. Thank you to the 144 who attended the 17th Annual Symposium this year. As in past years, I gave the case law update at the opening plenary session by summarizing the.. read more →

In In re Estate of DeFrank, 433 N.J. Super. 258 (App. Div. Nov. 15, 2013), a New Jersey appeals court reversed a trial court’s summary judgment dismissal of a case involving ownership of joint bank accounts. The Appellate Division reasoned that ownership turned on the intent of the decedent and the relationship of the parties,.. read more →

In Estate of William Strohmenger, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2651 (App. Div. Oct. 31, 2013), the decedent left a handwritten will leaving his estate to his minor son, in trust, and nothing to his estranged wife. After his sister sought to admit the holographic will to probate, the estranged wife filed a caveat objecting.. read more →

(In the midst of my oral argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court held on February 4, 2014 on behalf of Thomas Saccone. A video of the entire oral argument can be found on my website here.)  Reversing contrary decisions by lower courts and administrative agencies, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the disabled.. read more →

In Salvemini v. Spector, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2942 (App. Div. Dec. 13, 2013), certif. denied, 217 N.J. 303 (2014), the Appellate Division rejected a legal malpractice claim filed by sons against their father’s estate planning attorney. When widower Mr. Salvemini contemplated remarriage, he and his sons went to attorneys Spector & Dimin, who.. read more →

A court of appeals in New Jersey reinstated a legal malpractice lawsuit, finding that the defendant law firm owed a duty of care to explain the terms of an agreement to a client even though they were unambiguous and the client was a sophisticated businessman who personally negotiated the agreement without assistance from defendant. Cottone.. read more →