Decisions about managing long-term care become increasingly important as we age. Choices will have to be made about your care (or your loved one’s care). And as you look at the available options, you may decide that home care is preferred over a nursing facility. Depending on your state, Medicaid benefits, which are accessible to the elderly (over 65) and disabled, may include care at home. But for some, just the thought of applying for home care assistance seems daunting. After all, there are many hurdles including lots of paperwork, specific steps to follow, limitations, regulations, and specific requirements involved.
Trying to handle the process on your own may cause you undue stress. Who can help me handle issues with qualifying for Medicaid Homecare benefits? Who’s going to manage the home care expenses? What about my monthly income and bills? What role does a pooled trust play in making the process of receiving home care easier?
Qualifying you for homecare benefits
The first challenge for many people who are seeking long-term care starts with the process of getting qualified for government assistance. In some cases, individuals may have more monthly income than allowed to receive these benefits. This is the main reason that people look for a Pooled Trust to help them. To take advantage of Medicaid Homecare Benefits, excess monthly income is placed in the trust to meet the income requirements. The government and lawyers routinely recommend these special trusts to help people become eligible.
By depositing their income into such a trust, Medicaid recipients in some states like New York “will not be subject to the rules that normally apply to excess income.” Think of it as protecting your income in addition to helping you qualify for government home care benefits.
Remaining eligible is also important and shouldn’t be something that you need to worry about. But the fact is, the government has strict rules in place for those receiving benefits. For example, as your monthly income increases, you may need to deposit additional excess funds into the trust.
Managing your funds to meet your needs
If you are in New York, you would join a Pooled Trust at the same time that you would apply for Community Medicaid. An account would be established in the trust where your money will be deposited monthly. Although the income is (pooled) jointly, each account is personal—similar to a bank account. It’s important to remember that the pooled trust is only allowed to pay your expenses from your funds.
Your deposited funds will be used to pay for your homecare and approved monthly bills. Your bills are approved by the trust and typically include your rent, mortgage, groceries, utilities, clothes, etc. These are the expenses that fall outside of the government assistance you receive. This means that the trust funds “are used to supplement a beneficiary’s government benefits.”
The trust is administered and managed by a non-profit organization who is bound by rules and regulations. These organizations are established with the goal of meeting the needs of the beneficiary—you or your family member. And in some cases, depending on the organization, they will provide services beyond what is required.
Gaining from additional benefits
Although to some people, pooling your funds together may sound scary, it actually provides beneficiaries with stability. Because there are many contributors to a pooled trust, the beneficiaries can benefit from additional management services.
In addition, non-profit organizations that establish such trusts are experts in managing them. They are very familiar with the rules and regulations in their state. A highly qualified organization will work to ensure beneficiaries’ funds are handled with the utmost care and accuracy. But not all pooled trusts charge the same fees and provide the same services. You should take the time to check out those in your state and consider any recommendations.
Being in good company
If you think the whole process sounds complicated, you’re not alone. Many people scratch their heads when they start to look into Medicaid home care benefits and what’s covered. Add to that the eligibility requirements, income limitations, plus joining a pooled trust, and you’re bound to get frustrated. But the reality is that joining a pooled trust can give you peace of mind. Especially if your goal is to receive needed care in the comfort of your own home. So, keep your eye on the prize, work with a preferred pooled trust organization, and enjoy the rest of your life—at home.
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