No Hardship Waiver When Recovery Would Not Make Estate Beneficiary Eligible for Public Assistance

A New Jersey appeals court rules that a son is not entitled to an undue hardship waiver from Medicaid estate recovery of his mother's property because estate recovery would not make the son eligible for public assistance. L.P. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-1035-18T4, Nov. 12, 2019).

L.P. received Medicaid benefits up until her death. L.P.'s son, P.P., was the executor of her estate. The state filed a claim against her estate to recover $132,755.39 in benefits paid on her behalf. The only estate asset was L.P.'s home.

P.P. requested a waiver for undue hardship, arguing that he had provided the funds to maintain the home in the last years of L.P.'s life and that he was unaware the state would request reimbursement. The state denied his request for a waiver, and P.P. appealed to court.

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirms, holding that P.P. is not entitled to an undue hardship waiver. According to the court, a waiver was not appropriate because the property "was not P.P.'s sole income-producing asset" and "P.P. did not present any evidence to demonstrate that pursuit of recovery by [the state] would likely result in P.P. or one of his siblings becoming eligible for public assistance." In addition, the court finds that during the Medicaid application process, P.P. signed documents acknowledging that the state could seek reimbursement.

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