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Income Trusts and Medicaid: Frequently Asked Questions

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Qualifying for Medicaid benefits as a Florida senior can have a huge impact on your ability to afford the long-term care that you, your spouse, or your parent needs in their later years. Many Floridians would simply be unable to pay for in-home or nursing home care without qualifying for Medicaid coverage. A common path to Medicaid coverage is to use an income trust, also known as a Miller Trust or Qualified Income Trust. Learn the answers to some common questions about income trusts with the medicaid planning FAQs below, and contact an experienced medicaid planning attorney with any additional questions.

Does all of my income have to go into the income trust each month?

The only portion of your income that needs to go into the trust account is the amount over the current income limit as set by the government. This income limit depends on the long-term care program for which you’re applying. For seniors who wish to qualify for Medicaid assistance with institutional or nursing home expenses, or who are seeking a waiver for in-home care or the costs of assisted living, the income limit is $2,250/month for a single adult, and $3,375/month for a married applicant where both spouses are applying for coverage. So, if you’re applying as a single adult with a monthly income of $3,200, you would need to deposit $950/month into an income trust.

Do I get to choose where the money that goes into the trust comes from?

If you’re like many seniors, you receive income from multiple sources each month, such as a retirement account, VA pension, and Social Security. The original source of the income going into the trust doesn’t matter. What matters is that any amount over the current income cap as it’s spread among different accounts you own is being placed into your trust account. You might find it easiest to have certain checks deposited automatically into your trust account, rather than your bank account. Perhaps you’d prefer to have an automatic withdrawal set for a portion of each account to go to the income trust.

Will I be able to access the money once I place it into the income trust?

Funds in an income trust aren’t locked away forever and can be used for certain qualifying expenses. For example, income trust assets can be used to pay an individual a small monthly allowance for personal expenses, as well as pay an allowance to their spouse. The income trust can also be used to cover premiums owed for Medicare coverage, as well as additional uncovered health expenses.

If you need help affording your long-term care needs but are concerned about your ability to qualify for Medicare coverage, find out more about how to create a Miller trust in Florida by contacting the seasoned and professional West Palm Beach elder law attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway for a consultation at 561-686-6200.

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