Case: Shira Booth is 24 years old and recently found out that she is pregnant with her first child. She earns $39k annually as a medical biller.  Her husband is in yeshiva and does not receive a kollel check. Because she is under 26 years old, she is still covered by her parents’ private insurance. Her friends are advising her to apply for NJ FamilyCare even though she already has insurance through her parents. Considering her household income, she is eligible for NJ FamilyCare for her pregnancy. However, applying to NJ FamilyCare seems like an unnecessary hassle to Shira. This is especially true because her doctor accepts her private insurance but does not accept NJ FamilyCare.

Question: Is there any reason for Shira to apply for NJ FamilyCare even though she already has insurance through her parents?

Case: Shmuel Krohn is a property manager with a salary of $85k a year. A number of his friends have recently bought houses in a new development, and Shmuel is considering buying one of the remaining units. The starting price for a basic model is $580k, which is ramped up to $630k for an upgraded unit. Between his savings and help from his grandparents, Shmuel can put together $120k - approximately 20% - for a down payment. Based on the current interest rates, Shmuel approximates that his monthly mortgage payments will be around $3,700. Although that number is significantly higher than the $1,400 a month he currently pays in rent, Shmuel is still considering buying the house. The reason is that with a finished basement, his property will be able to generate $1,200 of rental income each month, lowering his monthly payment to a manageable $2,500 a month.

Question: What advice would you give to Shmuel?

Case: Yitzchak Jacobs worked as a commission-based salesman for a furniture company while his wife was in school studying to become a Physician’s Assistant. As his family grew, Yitzchak struggled to make a living as a salesman. During this time, Yitzchak received insurance through NJ FamilyCare.

Suddenly, in a very short span of time, Yitzchak’s situation improved dramatically. His wife finished school and began working for a hospital, earning a salary of $100k a year. Around the same time, Yitzchak was promoted to sales manager, with a base salary of $75k in addition to residual commissions.

Question: With a combined salary of more than $175k, Yitzchak and his family are no longer eligible for government programs. How should Yitzchak inform NJ FamilyCare that he is not eligible? Yitzchak recently received his yearly recertification package from NJ FamilyCare. The letter states that if he does not reapply, he will be terminated. Should he ignore the recertification and allow himself to be terminated?

Case: Nechama Weiss worked in an office as a secretary, earned $20k a year and was on NJ FamilyCare. During her time as a secretary, she found out that she was pregnant with her first child. Two months later, she was promoted to a managerial position with a salary of $45k. When she reported her change of income to NJ FamilyCare, she was told that her new raise would bump her over the income limit and she was therefore being terminated from NJ Family Care. This was a surprise to Nechama, because one of her co-workers had also received an identical promotion and was also expecting her first child, yet she was still being covered by NJ FamilyCare. 

Question: Why is Nechama being terminated from NJ FamilyCare while her co-worker is still being provided with insurance?

Case: Chaim Berk is a 26-year-old yungerman with two children. His wife works in an office and earns $35k a year while Chaim receives a $320 kollel check every month. He also receives $300 a month from Shemiras Hasedarim and Dirshu. Chaim’s parents help out by paying his rent directly to his landlord. They also occasionally pay his credit card bill. 

Question: What portion of Chaim’s income is counted as far as government program eligibility is concerned?

Answer: When reviewing Chaim’s story, two issues must be clarified: Kollel stipends / Shemiras Hasedarim / Dirshu, and parental support.