Visitors to TexasTitle19.com should be well aware that there are a whole lot of criteria that the HHSC uses to evaluate your parent or spouse’s eligibility for nursing home Medicaid benefits. If your parent or spouse does not satisfy all of the criteria to establish eligibility, they are probably headed for a denial of benefits and potentially thousands of dollars in un-covered nursing home bills. One of the critical factors your parent or spouse has to prove is that they are “income eligible” for Medicaid; and if they need a Miller Trust in order to become income eligible, then you need to have it done before your deadline if you want to avoid un-covered nursing home bills.
What Is “Income Eligible?”
Income eligible means that your parent or spouse’s “income” (as defined and calculated by the HHSC following relevant laws and regulations) does not exceed the applicable income limit. If your parent or spouse’s “income” does exceed the income limit then they are not eligible for Medicaid benefits in any month their income exceeded the limit.
What Is The Income Limit?
The income limit for nursing home Medicaid changes every year. It almost always increases, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it go down. As of this article in 2014 the current income limit for a nursing home Medicaid applicant is $2,163 per month. And that is gross income, not net income.
What If Your Parent or Spouse Is Over The Limit?
Nursing homes in Texas cost an average of more than $4,700 per month. As a result, it is not uncommon for someone to have income that exceeds the Medicaid income limit, for example $2,400, and still not have enough to pay for the nursing home care they need when it costs $4,700 per month or any amount more than their income.
For situations like this the Texas Miller Trust (also called a Qualified Income Trust or “QIT”) was created by the courts and recognized by the HHSC as a 100% legal solution to allow someone to get around the income limit.
When Is The Last Chance To Create A Miller Trust?
Published HHSC policy provides that:
“Income is disregarded for Medicaid eligibility purposes the first month that a valid written trust instrument is signed and properly executed, a trust bank account […] is established, and enough of the beneficiary’s income is placed into the account to reduce any remaining income to below the special income limit.”
Only after all three of those steps are completed is the HHSC going to disregard your parent or spouse’s income that is properly diverted through the Texas Miller Trust. Until your parent or spouse completes all of those steps their income will not be disregarded and if they are over the limit then they will be ineligible for Medicaid benefits. The step that we are going to discuss a little more is the requirement that the Medicaid applicant’s income is placed into the Miller Trust account because this requirement is what creates your deadline for creating a Miller Trust.
If you parent or spouse that is applying for Medicaid receives all of their income on the 10th of the month and is expected to spend it all on the 15th of the month to pay the nursing home or other expenses, when is their deadline to complete the three Miller Trust steps?
The deadline to complete the set-up of a Texas Miller Trust would be the 15th. The 16th or anytime later would be too late because the Medicaid applicant’s income was already spent on the 15th. If you miss your Miller Trust deadline the next opportunity for Medicaid eligibility would be the next month.
The result of missing your deadline is at least one month of un-paid nursing home bills that the nursing home is going to want to collect from anyone they can think of. And if you signed an admissions contract that includes a personal guarantee from you (read the contract again if you are not sure what you might have signed), they could be looking at you.
If your parent or spouse has gross monthly income of more than $2,163 and they need Medicaid benefits in April, May, or June then you can take advantage of our special reduced fee of $500 for our 100% guaranteed Miller Trust. This offer is only valid from March 31st through April 11th in 2014. On April 12th the price goes back up again. To get started, simply fill out your name and e-mail address in the form on the bottom of this page and a checklist to get started will be e-mailed to you right away.