March 4

New Jersey Settles Federal Lawsuit Involving Veterans Benefits and Medicaid Eligibility

The state of New Jersey has settled a class action lawsuit and agreed not to count veterans pension benefits as income when determining Medicaid eligibility.  Plaintiffs’ counsel has been paid $100,000 in fees.

Alma Galletta filed a class action lawsuit against New Jersey, seeking to enjoin the state from treating Veterans Administration Improved Pension (VAIP) as income for Medicaid eligibility purposes. Ms. Galletta argued that the entire income she received from her VAIP benefit resulted from unusual medical expenses, so it should not count toward her income for Medicaid eligibility purposes.

After a U.S. district court enjoined the state from counting one of the class member’s VAIP as income, the state began settlement negotiations with Ms. Galletta. On February 6, 2015, the court approved a consent order between the parties, in which the state agreed that VAIP will not be included as countable income during the Medicaid eligibility process and a notice will be distributed to caseworkers explaining the ruling. Ms. Galletta also received Medicaid benefits retroactive to her application. In addition, the court approved $100,000 in fees and costs for the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

February 9

Medicaid: Making it work for you under the new guidelines and Miller Trust

On Wednesday, February 25th, elder law attorney Harold Grodberg, Esq. will be offering a special seminar to discuss the new Medicaid guidelines and the elimination of monthly income limits for Assisted Living and Medically Needy for Long Term Care.

The Chelsea at Bridgewater
680 US Route 202/206 North
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
February 9, 2015 at 6:30 PM

Please RSVP at (908) 252-3400.

Click here to download the flyer.

February 3

Obama Calls for End to Basis Step-Up at Death

In his State of the Union message, President Obama called on Congress to raise taxes on the wealthy and on large financial firms to pay for middle class tax cuts. Most of the plan’s funding would come from an increase in capital gains taxes and an end to the step-up in basis for inherited wealth.

Mr. Obama would eliminate what some have called the “angel of death loophole”by taxing capital gains at death rather than allowing a basis step up when assets pass to heirs, as under current law. The first $100,000 in gains would be exempt for single people ($200,000 for couples), with an additional $500,000 exemption for the home. There would be special rules to protect small businesses, and gifts to charity would be exempt.

The White House proposal would also raise the top capital-gains tax rate to 28 percent from 23.8 percent for couples with incomes above $500,000 a year.

It is highly unlikely that Mr. Obama expects a Republican Congress to turn his bid to make the tax system more progressive into legislation he would sign, but it does begin a conversation that could prove useful for Democratic candidates in 2016.

For coverage by the New York Times, click here.

January 28

The Veterans Administration Proposes 3 Year Look Back On Gifts

“On Friday, January 23, 2015, the VA issued proposed new Veterans Administration regulations that would penalize wartime veterans up to ten years for making gifts of assets for less than fair market value. The VA is trying to stop what they perceive as lawyers and financial advisers “taking advantage of veterans” when helping them strategically plan to preserve assets and qualify for the Improved Pension benefit.”

Click here to continue reading on the Lawyers With Purpose blog.

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