More and more, people are hearing they need Qualified Income Trusts — a QIT — to stay on or receive Medicaid benefits at home or in the nursing home. It’s just another in a long line of recent changes to Ohio Medicaid laws.
Unfortunately, many of these changes affect thousands of elderly Ohioans and have made it more difficult for them to pay for their long-term care expenses.
Without a QIT, anyone with income over the designated income cap — $2,205 in 2017 — is unable to receive Medicaid benefits to help pay for in-home care, assisted living or nursing home care. The state of Ohio sets the income cap and requires the QIT to be in place before it will approve any benefits.
The QIT, also commonly referred to as a “Miller Trust,” is established to hold all income over the income cap. Any income over $2,199 in 2016 must be placed into the QIT account. The QIT can only hold the Medicaid recipient’s own income. It cannot hold a spouse’s or child’s income or other assets. The recipient cannot assign or transfer the right to receive income to the trust or direct deposit his or her income into the trust.
This means that the recipient will first receive his or her income, whether it is Social Security, OPERS, STRS or pension, in his or her personal bank account. Then the person must transfer the overage into the QIT. For example, if John earns $2,700 in income, then he must write a check for $495 to the QIT.
QIT funds can be used to pay for certain expenses such as medical expenses, a monthly personal needs allowance or bank fees associated with the QIT.
It is important to understand that a QIT is a legal instrument that must be carefully administered. If the QIT is mishandled, benefits could be lost. One misstep and all of the hard work getting approved for benefits would be for nothing.
If you or a loved one needs any type of long-term care, be sure to contact an experienced Elder Law attorney. Like many of our clients, the benefit of having someone walk you through the step-by-step process of how to use these types of accounts is critical to ensure benefits are not lost.