Medicaid Applicant's Inability to Access Joint Account Doesn't Matter When Determining Eligibility

A New Jersey appeals court rules that a Medicaid applicant who had a joint account with her daughter had excess resources even though she did not contribute to the account and was not able to access the account due to physical and mental disabilities. M.A. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-0127-18T4, Aug. 8, 2019).

M.A. and her daughter opened a joint bank account. M.A.'s daughter contributed all of the funds in the account, and M.A. never made a deposit or withdrawal. M.A. suffered from dementia and was unable to leave her house. When she applied for Medicaid benefits, the state denied her application because it determined she had excess resources due to the joint bank account.

M.A. appealed, arguing that the account should not count as an available resource because she did not contribute to the account and was not physically or mentally able to access it. The state upheld the denial, and she appealed to court.

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirms, holding that M.A. had excess resources. According to the court, it is "not persuaded by her physical and mental incapacity to access the account because the test is whether she has the 'power' and legal authority to do so."

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