SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 1041

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  JUNE 8, 2015

 

      The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 1041.

      This bill provides that, except for child support payment orders, monetary reparations payments designated for or received by a Holocaust survivor of Nazi persecution from any governmental source or victim assistance source shall be exempt from all claims of creditors and from levy, execution, attachment, or other legal process.

      This bill also exempts these monies from estate recoveries under the Medicaid program.  Under State and federal Medicaid law, a State must seek recovery from the estate of the deceased Medicaid recipient for assistance correctly paid or to be paid on his behalf for all services received when the recipient was 55 years of age or older.  These services would include nursing home services, home and community-based services and related hospital and prescription drug services.  Federal law exempts Holocaust reparations payments as assets/resources for the purposes of determining eligibility for Medicaid as long as the payments are "separately identifiable," that is, maintained in a separate account.  Any interest or dividends earned on the reparation payments, however, are not exempt from Medicaid's calculation of income and assets/resources.  This bill would continue the exempt status of the reparations payments upon the death of the Medicaid recipient by providing that they are not part of the Medicaid recipient's estate and, therefore, not subject to recovery in an estate proceeding of a Medicaid recipient.

      In 2000, a global settlement agreement and plan of distribution was ratified which included the establishment of an $800 million settlement fund designed to provide restitution to Holocaust victims and their survivors for moneys illegally obtained from Swiss banks by the Nazi regime.  The Claims Resolution Tribunal has received over 32,000 claims from Nazi victims or their heirs to assets deposited in Swiss banks in the period before and after World War II.

      At about the same time, the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims established a program to settle insurance claims never paid to Holocaust victims or their heirs.  Recently, Holocaust survivors or their heirs have begun to receive reparations payments from the funds established for this purpose.

      As reported, this bill is identical to Senate Bill No. 2676, as reported by the committee.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The OLS concludes that this bill will result in an indeterminate loss of State revenue and an indeterminate, likely minimal loss of local revenue. The OLS notes that the estimate of Holocaust survivors living in New Jersey is approximately 1,600 according to press reports citing estimates by the State Commission on Holocaust Education; no estimate of the number of heirs of Holocaust survivors residing in New Jersey has been obtained by the OLS. No information is available on the number of survivors currently eligible for Medicaid, or the amount of reparations received or to be received by such persons. Nor is there any information on which to base an estimate of the exposure of Holocaust survivors to State or local claims against their assets that might otherwise be collected from reparations payments. Absent this information, no quantification of revenue loss is feasible.