SENIOR MOMENTS BLOG

The Elder Law Firm Blog

By 7016324482 17 May, 2017

To qualify for long-term care under the Medicaid program, there are two general qualification criteria: (1) monthly income; and (2) resources. Some of the specific eligibility requirements can change annually and a prior article covered the changes for 2017. The current income limit is $2,205 per month. However, there is an avenue available to qualify for Medicaid when the resource criterion is met, but the monthly income is too high. The Division of Medicaid designed a mechanism called a “Medicaid Income Trust,” or sometimes "Qualified Income Trust."  This Medicaid Income Trust is not to be confused with a Revocable Living Trust or a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust which are often topics in this column. 

The Medicaid Income Trust is a short document that is signed by the applicant or representative of the applicant and commences the month that the applicant first receives Medicaid benefits for long-term care. The concept of the trust is that the applicant’s monthly income in excess of $2,205 is held in the Medicaid Income Trust. It is then periodically audited and the monies held there are paid to Medicaid to defray the amount Medicaid has paid to the nursing home. Using this approach, a Medicaid applicant who otherwise qualifies for benefits can qualify for Medicaid even with a monthly income greater than the current amount allowed. 

The income of the applicant’s spouse does not affect the applicant’s eligibility. The spouse’s income is not used in calculations for Medicaid eligibility if the spouse is not also applying. This allows the spouse to live at home and have sufficient resources to pay expenses. 

The income limit for long-term Medicaid care is not necessarily applicable for all Medicaid services. There are different criteria for each program, including the Medicaid waiver program known as Home and Community Based Services. This program provides assistance for qualifying persons needing care but who are remaining at home. To qualify for this program, the applicant either receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or meets the income and resource eligibility requirements for income level up to 300% of the SSI federal benefit rate and meets certain medical criteria.

The Elder Law Firm Blog

By 7016324482 17 May, 2017

To qualify for long-term care under the Medicaid program, there are two general qualification criteria: (1) monthly income; and (2) resources. Some of the specific eligibility requirements can change annually and a prior article covered the changes for 2017. The current income limit is $2,205 per month. However, there is an avenue available to qualify for Medicaid when the resource criterion is met, but the monthly income is too high. The Division of Medicaid designed a mechanism called a “Medicaid Income Trust,” or sometimes "Qualified Income Trust."  This Medicaid Income Trust is not to be confused with a Revocable Living Trust or a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust which are often topics in this column. 

The Medicaid Income Trust is a short document that is signed by the applicant or representative of the applicant and commences the month that the applicant first receives Medicaid benefits for long-term care. The concept of the trust is that the applicant’s monthly income in excess of $2,205 is held in the Medicaid Income Trust. It is then periodically audited and the monies held there are paid to Medicaid to defray the amount Medicaid has paid to the nursing home. Using this approach, a Medicaid applicant who otherwise qualifies for benefits can qualify for Medicaid even with a monthly income greater than the current amount allowed. 

The income of the applicant’s spouse does not affect the applicant’s eligibility. The spouse’s income is not used in calculations for Medicaid eligibility if the spouse is not also applying. This allows the spouse to live at home and have sufficient resources to pay expenses. 

The income limit for long-term Medicaid care is not necessarily applicable for all Medicaid services. There are different criteria for each program, including the Medicaid waiver program known as Home and Community Based Services. This program provides assistance for qualifying persons needing care but who are remaining at home. To qualify for this program, the applicant either receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or meets the income and resource eligibility requirements for income level up to 300% of the SSI federal benefit rate and meets certain medical criteria.
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