Do you or a loved one live in Ohio and receive Medicaid benefits for long-term care? Do you foresee yourself or a loved one needing long-term care in the future? If so, the Ohio Department of Medicaid made changes to its eligibility requirements in 2016 that may affect you.

 

The Ohio Qualified Income Trust and its Requirements

In order to receive Medicaid benefits for long-term care, an individual’s monthly income must be below the Medicaid income limit set by the state of Ohio. Starting August 1, 2016, if a Medicaid applicant or recipient’s monthly income exceeds $2,199, the applicant or recipient must set up a Qualified Income Trust (aka a “QIT” or “Miller Trust”) before he or she is eligible for benefits. For individuals already receiving Medicaid benefits, they must set up their QIT either before Aug. 1 or before their 2017 renewal date. To be enforceable, the trust must be irrevocable, it must name Ohio as a residual beneficiary, and it must be properly executed. The trust must also only contain the individual’s income. It cannot shield assets or contain someone else’s income.

The Trustee of the QIT may use the trust funds to pay certain expenses, such as the Medicaid recipient’s patient liability to the nursing home, the recipient’s $50/month allowance, incurred medical expenses, bank and Trustee fees, and other limited expenses. Any funds remaining in the trust upon the individual’s death must be paid to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

 

Setting Up a Qualified Income Trust

The Ohio Department of Medicaid has contracted the services of Automated Health Systems to help individuals already receiving Medicaid benefits set up a QIT free of charge. However, individuals are encouraged to reach out to an elder law attorney if they want more personalized and service-oriented representation. An elder law attorney can address important issues relating to QITs and Medicaid eligibility. Such issues might include: who will serve as trustee, what will happen if a Medicaid applicant lacks capacity to sign a trust, which bank should be used to manage the trust funds, and how an annual trust account is prepared. An elder law attorney can also assist the family through the confusing Medicaid application process.

Setting up a QIT is just a small piece of the Medicaid eligibility puzzle. When applying for Medicaid benefits, it’s important that everything is done correctly. If not, you or your loved one could be denied Medicaid benefits and could possibly get evicted from the long-term care facility. Contact an elder law attorney if you need to plan for the nursing home and Medicaid eligibility.

 

Bill Hesch is an attorney, CPA and PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) who is licensed in Ohio and Kentucky and helps clients get peace of mind with their tax, financial, and estate planning. He focuses his practice in the areas of elder law, corporate law, Medicaid planning, tax law, estate planning and probate in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. His practice area includes Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio, and Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky.

(Legal Disclaimer: Bill Hesch submits this blog to provide general information about the firm and its services. Information in this blog is not intended as legal advice, and any person receiving information on this page should not act on it without consulting professional legal counsel. While at times Bill Hesch may render an opinion, Bill Hesch does not offer legal advice through this blog. Bill Hesch does not enter into an attorney-client relationship with any online reader via online contact.)