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Qualified Income Trusts and Medicaid

What does a Qualified Income Trust do?

 

Applying for Medicaid can be tricky and is best done by a professional. The average monthly cost for a skilled nursing facility is $8944.00 per month in Florida.  Many people are applying for governmental benefits to assist with the cost. Medicaid can be the solution. If you’re going into a nursing home and you are disqualified from receiving benefits because your income exceeds the Medicaid limit, you may feel confused. You can’t qualify for Medicaid benefits because your monthly income exceeds the income limit, but you don’t make enough money on a monthly basis to pay for your nursing home without help from Medicaid. What should you do?

A Qualified Income Trust can be an option for you. A Qualified Income Trust, a Miller Trust, aka QIT, is often used as way around the income limits of your state. If your income is over the limit to qualify for Medicaid, a QIT allows you to become eligible by placing income into an account for every month that you need to qualify for Medicaid. The QIT involves a written agreement and setting up a special bank account. After setting up this account, you must make deposits into the QIT account every month for as long as you need Medicaid. This means you may need to make deposits before a Medicaid application is approved if you need Medicaid coverage. Any income that you receive outside of the QIT account will be considered your income. If you fail to make a deposit in any given month, or to deposit enough income you may become ineligible for Medicaid for that month. As long you deposit income into the QIT account in the month it is received, it should not be used to determine your eligibility for Medicaid for that month.

There are many companies out there that will offer to help you apply for Medicaid without the guarantee of approval. These companies may give you a Qualified Income Trust form for you to fill out to help your eligibility. A Trust is a legal document and should always be drafted by a legal professional.  An improperly drafted QIT can cause a denial for Medicaid. More often than not, QIT’s drafted by these kinds of companies do not have the proper terminology/language, do not provide all of the information needed, and run a greater risk that at some point in the future, investigations and reviews of the trust accounts will take place and your benefits could be denied retroactively. Also, many people try to apply for themselves and are denied without knowing the reasons why. There are deadlines, all sorts of different requirements and paperwork needed to guarantee approval for Medicaid. As always, it is better to seek advice from an experienced Elder Law Attorney when it comes to qualifying for Medicaid. You always have a better chance working with an attorney than doing it alone!

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