A federal court awarded surviving spouse benefits to the surviving partner of a same-sex couple who were prohibited from marrying because of now-unconstitutional state law that banned same-sex marriage. Thornton v. Commissioner of Social Security, Case No. C18-1409JLR, (U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, September 11, 2020) Helen Josephine Thornton and her partner, Margery.. read more →

The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (Strengthening Protections Act) amended the Social Security Act to allow for the advance designation of representative payees for recipients of Social Security and other governmental benefits. The  Strengthening Protections Act requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to promulgate regulations specifying the information Social Security beneficiaries.. read more →

With the coronavirus pandemic responsible for more than a hundred thousand deaths and disrupting life across the United States, the only way for the country to return to normal is an effective vaccine. When a vaccine is available, Medicare will cover the cost. Medicare covers vaccines in a variety of ways, depending on the vaccine… read more →

Do you have evidence of misconduct involving a New Jersey nursing home or other long-term care facility during the COVID-19 outbreak? Now you have a chance to report the misconduct to New Jersey’s Attorney General. On April 16, 2020, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that the Office of the Attorney General had opened.. read more →

On June 5, 2020, the Administrative Office of the Courts issued Directive #18-20, allowing trial courts in New Jersey to enter a judgment granting a divorce in default and uncontested cases on the papers without requiring the parties to appear personally before the court. Judges have discretion to schedule hearings in such matters if necessary.. read more →

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new guidance for state and local officials to ensure the safe reopening of nursing homes across the country. The guidance details critical steps nursing homes and communities should take prior to relaxing restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including rigorous infection prevention and control, adequate.. read more →

Many guardians are wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact their responsibilities. The National Guardianship Association, the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, and the National Center for State Courts have worked together to develop a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” or FAQs. Throughout the list of FAQs, they have provided suggestions and.. read more →

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new toolkit which was developed to provide nursing homes, Governors, states, departments of health and other agencies overseeing these facilities with additional resources to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic within nursing homes. The toolkit is comprised of best practices from a variety.. read more →

The penalty divisor is the average daily cost of nursing home services in New Jersey. It is adjusted annually after a survey of all nursing facilities in New Jersey is conducted. The penalty divisor is used to determine the penalty period for an individual applying for Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports when that individual transfers.. read more →

The coronavirus relief bill includes a direct payment to most Americans, but this has Medicaid recipients wondering how the payment will affect them. Because the payment is not income, it should not count against a Medicaid recipient’s eligibility. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a one-time direct payment of $1,200 to.. read more →

Directive #12-20 issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court establishes principles and protocols for virtual court operations, including information about ways to conduct remote court events. The full name of the directive is “Directive #12-20 – Principles and Protocols for Virtual Court Operations During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic – (1) Methods of Conducting Remote Court.. read more →

The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued new guidelines governing the use of electronic devices in and around courthouses. The Court stated that the reason for the new guidelines was to ensure that electronic devices do not “disrupt proceedings or compromise security, fairness to litigants, efficiency and/or appropriate courtroom decorum.” In summary, the new guidelines.. read more →

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“CV Response Act”) was signed into law on March 18, 2020.  The CV Response Act bars all Medicaid terminations during the course of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. All individuals enrolled in Medicaid as of March 2020 must have continued benefits, until the last day of the.. read more →

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a press release announcing new regulatory requirements that will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities. In addition, CMS will now require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and.. read more →

Until recently, New Jersey law required notary services to be performed in-person. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19 causing residents to self-isolate and notary offices to close, it has become much more challenging to get documents notarized. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to proceed with legal and financial transactions. To deal with this.. read more →

Yesterday, April 9th, the New Jersey judiciary launched The Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system, an electronic filing system to ease the filing of cases and slow backlogs while the state remains under an extended health emergency. The JEBS system will allow attorneys and litigants who represent themselves to file their papers electronically in most.. read more →

Did you know more than 9 million health care appointments made by veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) go unutilized each year due to missed appointments? To increase access to health care for all veterans, the VHA has developed VEText, an interactive mobile solution to remind Veterans of upcoming appointments via text messaging. The .. read more →

The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved temporary adjustments to the process for seeking an adjudication of incapacity of an adult and the appointment of a guardian of the person and/or estate. Based on social distancing requirements, the court rules and regulations governing the procedures for obtaining guardianship over incapacitated adults are relaxed to permit.. read more →

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued Executive Order 202.7, which temporarily suspends the rule requiring physical appearance before a notary public until April 18, 2020. This action was taken to facilitate the process of closing sales and signing estate documents remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Executive Order allows notaries to notarize all legal.. read more →

The New Jersey Department of Human Services (“DHS”) has announced that its Federal Section 1135 Waiver Request has been approved by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”). On March 20, 2020, the New Jersey DHS had outlined federal Medicaid requirements that “pose issues or challenges for.. read more →

As reported by Jon Hurdle in a March 9, 2020 NJ Spotlight article, a pending bill would increase fines for failing to report that an institutionalized older adult is being exploited or abused. The bill, introduced February 13, 2020, would apply to, any caretaker, social worker, physician, registered or licensed practical nurse, or other professional.. read more →

For additional information concerning special needs trusts and disability planning, visit: NJ Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning read more →

In December 2019, the U.S. Congress enacted into law the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019,” also known as the SECURE Act, as part of a year-end spending bill. The SECURE Act makes major changes to retirement plan rules, including inherited plans. The effective date for the new law is January.. read more →

On January 29, 2020, I presented at the 2020 ““Elder Law in a Day” seminar given by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I presented the case law update, summarizing the most significant legal developments over the past year in the areas.. read more →

The following figures represent the average cost of nursing home care in each region in New York State as determined by the State Department of Health. These figures are used to calculate Medicaid penalty periods for gifts and asset transfers in New York. Long Island (Nassau/Suffolk) $13,407 New York City (5 Boroughs) $12,844 Central (Syracuse,.. read more →