On appeal from the Final Decision of the Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, OAL DKT. NOs. HMA-3280-01 and 3925-02 on remand.
Before Judges Stern, Coburn and S.L. Reisner.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: S.L. Reisner, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
A.B. appeals from a final determination of the Director of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) denying her Medicaid benefits because her husband refused to name the State of New Jersey as first remainder beneficiary on his commercial annuity. The parties stipulated that the annuity was purchased to provide income to the husband and that it was not purchased for the purpose of enabling A.B. to qualify for Medicaid benefits. We reverse.
The parties stipulated to the following material facts:
1. The applicant, A.B., was permanently institutionalized on April 26, 2000, at the Chestnut Hill Convalescent Center in Passaic, New Jersey.
2. The applicant and her husband, Ar.B., have been married for sixty years as of the date of institutionalization.
3. At the time of the filing of the Medicaid application, [in December 1999], the applicant maintained that the sole spousal asset was the balance in a joint checking account... with an approximate balance of $17,000.
4. In November 1998, Ar.B. purchased an annuity... with monthly interest payouts wherein he was the owner and annuitant and the daughter of their marriage... was the beneficiary upon death. On or about August 31, 2000, that annuity was exchanged for another immediate annuity at a higher interest rate... for the then outstanding balance of $77,485.15. The monthly payments now in the amount of $1,441.22 to Ar.B. continued.
5. The parties to this action have stipulated that the annuity purchased in 1998 and exchanged in 2000 was not for the purpose of achieving Medicaid eligibility but rather to provide income to the couple, and that there is no transfer of assets issue applicable to this case.
6. [The Passaic County Board of Social Services] confirms that the applicant has submitted sufficient documentation to achieve Medicaid eligibility at the county level, but the denial is based solely on the DMAHS requirement that to accept the annuity as a non-countable asset, it must name the State of New Jersey as the first remainder beneficiary.
It is also undisputed that the annuity in question is a standard, fixed-term commercial annuity. At oral argument, all counsel stipulated ...