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Medicaid and Qualified Income Trusts in Florida

Medicaid Qualified Income Trusts

Medicaid and Qualified Income Trusts in Florida

Applying for Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing home care in Florida can be a confusing process.  The person applying must meet certain asset and income limits.  For example, you may not have more than $2,000 in assets if you are applying for benefits.  Certain assets are considered “exempt” meaning their value does not count against the $2,000 you are allowed to have.  Your homestead and a vehicle are examples of exempt assets.

Also, you cannot have more than a certain amount of income.  The income limit has increased in 2013 so that you cannot have income of more than $2,130 per month. The income limit has increased in 2013 so that you cannot have income of more than $2,130 per month.  It is important to note that Medicaid looks at your gross income, not the net income (after taxes are deducted).  Thus, your income includes the amount you pay for Medicare Part B, the amounts deducted for supplemental insurance, and any taxes which are withheld from your pension.  If you income exceeds $2,130, does that mean you cannot qualify for Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing home care?  No. You may still be able to qualify if you create a qualified income trust (also known as a “Miller trust”).

What, exactly, is a qualified income trust?

A Qualified Income Trust is an irrevocable trust in which you put your income into (the income that is over the $2,130) and which pays anything left over at your death to the state of Florida up to the amount of Medicaid benefits paid for on your behalf. A Qualified Income Trust is an irrevocable trust in which you put your income into (the income that is over the $2,130) and which pays anything left over at your death to the state of Florida up to the amount of Medicaid benefits paid for on your behalf.  It can be created by the person applying for Medicaid, their spouse, by someone who has legal authority to create an irrevocable trust under a durable power of attorney or by court order.

A Qualified Income Trust is a legal document that should only be created by a qualified Elder law attorney who can also guide you on how to set up the trust and maintain it.  Be very careful of a company or person that calls themselves a “Medicaid expert” and is not a licensed attorney practicing Elder Law.  Non-attorneys who prepare QIT’s are practicing law without a license and could do more harm than good.  If you are unsure of who to contact, you can find a qualified Board Certified Florida Elder law attorney at www.flabar.org.

Laurie Ohall is a Board Certified Florida Elder Law Attorney.  To learn more about Florida Elder Law and issues affecting seniors, please contact the Law Offices of Laurie Ohall.


Laurie Ohall

Laurie Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney based in Brandon (Tampa), Florida. Ms. Ohall is a sought after expert in the area of elder law, probate, estate planning, special needs planning and guardianship. You can find her on twitter at @ohalllaw,  LinkedIn, Facebook , and Google +.

 

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