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A NOTE ON GUARDIANSHIP AND THE NEW JERSEY PERSONAL PREFERENCE PROGRAM

by: Begley Law Group

by Emily M. Schurr, Esq.

If an individual has been deemed incapacitated and has a guardian, there is an additional consideration. Parents often serve as guardians of their adult children with severe disabilities. If the child lives in the home with the parent/guardian, the parent may want to be employed by the New Jersey Personal Preference Program as the paid caregiver. The New Jersey Personal Preference Program can employ a guardian as the paid caregiver without issue. However, there must be a separate individual serving as the “authorized representative” for the New Jersey Personal Preference Program. The guardian cannot serve as both the paid caregiver and authorized representative, and the incapacitated individual cannot serve as his/her own authorized representative due to incapacity. Therefore, a third individual must be involved.

♦Case Study. Son is 30 years old, has Autism, and lives at home in New Jersey with Mom. Son has been deemed incapacitated and Mom has been appointed as Guardian of Son. Mom is Son’s primary caretaker. Brother is 35 years old, also lives in New Jersey, and is close with Mom and Son. Brother is well aware of the family situation and what Son needs to thrive. Son receives NJ FamilyCare Plan A and is “active” under one of the five NJ FamilyCare HMOs. Son is eligible for Personal Care Assistant Services and will need these services for a period of more than six months since this is not a short-term disability. Because Mom is Son’s primary caretaker, she would like to get paid by Medicaid for this role. However, she cannot serve as both Son’s caregiver and his “authorized representative” to handle the fiscal management aspect of the New Jersey Personal Preference Program. Son cannot serve as his own “authorized representative” due to the nature of his particular disability. Brother can serve as Son’s authorized representative to act on Son’s behalf, appoint Mom as a paid caregiver, and handle fiscal management and payroll. Mom can serve as both Son’s guardian and paid caregiver.

For more information about the New Jersey Personal Preference Program please follow this link to a detailed Begley Law Group article – New Jersey PPP