Today we will present information describing a little known method for some people in certain states to receive home care through Medicaid without requiring them to impoverish themselves first. Here is how it works.
In 1993 Congress created the Pooled trust to protect this country's most vulnerable and disenfranchised segment of our citizens - the elderly and disabled. Through non-profit organizations who have a Pooled Trust, individuals who meet the definition of disabled under the rules of Social Security, can place their assets in the trust and still meet financial eligibility for Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income). The funds are pooled for investments but separately accounted for throughout the individual's life. The funds can be used to enrich the quality of life of the participant instead of being quickly consumed by catastrophic medical and long term costs.
Elder individuals may benefit from a Pooled trust if they are: Disabled in need of long term nursing care at home or in a facility; over the age of 65; and in need of or receiving Medicaid, Social Security Disability or SSI. Essentially, this law allows disabled persons to put their monthly income or assets - above the amounts Medicaid allows them to keep, into a special type of pooled trust. They can use the money in the trust to pay for their basic monthly bills like rent, a mortgage payment or cable TV bills. Medicaid in the meanwhile will pay for their home care.
Monies left in the trust after the person dies are generally kept by the nonprofit organization running the trust, or is paid back to Medicaid.
You should also be aware that the rules governing Medicaid are intricate and differ in each state so while you may be able to keep a loved one home in New York State under Medicaid, this may not be true in other states. With a Pooled Trust however, each month, the participant who has been deemed disabled can deposit her or his excess income into the trust to pay bills as long as the expense is for the sole benefit of the participant. The nature of the trust is to supplement needs that are not met by government programs.
The trusts work particularly well for those who have few assets but may own a home. Many states however, do not allow persons over 65 to use the Pooled Trusts at all because they have interpreted the federal laws differently and have even imposed penalties on people over 65, so please speak with an elder law attorney.
In the State of Florida, Pooled Trusts are used quite well. For example if you have a client with approximately $40,000 to $50,000 in need of nursing home placement, the client can deposit funds into a Pooled Trust. They must be eligible for Medicaid, pay for a private caregiver or Care Manager, used for a semi-private or private room charge, or other services. A great resource is the Alpert Jewish Family Services Pooled Trust. For information please visit: http://jfcsonline.com/pooled-trust
Posted 9th February, 2010 by Olga Brunner
Labels: Elder law, Alpert Jewish Family Services, Medicaid Pooled Trusts, Special Needs Trust.
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.