Medicaid Qualified Income Trust (Miller Trust)
If a Medicaid applicant's income exceeds the lawful amount for Medicaid eligibility ($2,163.00 per month currently; will be $2199.00 effective Jan. 1, 2015), a Qualified Income Trust must be created with the applicant's income in order to create eligibility for long-term nursing home care benefits. This instrument is also called a Miller Trust. This is an irrevocable trust.
The income of the Medicaid applicant which exceeds the eligibility criteria, is placed in the trust, and someone other than the applicant is the trustee. The trust income will be disposed of in accordance with the directive of the Florida Department of Children and Family Services, after the applicant has applied for Medicaid and been approved. Generally speaking, the applicant will be allowed to retain $35 per month of the income; may be entitled to divert some of the income to the community (well) spouse if the spouse's income falls below $1,966.25 per month (effective July 1, 2014; number changes each July); and pay a fixed amount towards his patient's responsibility for nursing home care. In the event that there are excess funds in the account after the applicant dies, Florida Medicaid is entitled to reimbursement from those funds.
The Qualified Income Trust may be created by the applicant, if the applicant is competent to do so; by the applicant's spouse, if there is one and if the spouse is competent to do so; or by the attorney-in-fact pursuant to the applicant's Durable Power of Attorney, if the Durable Power of Attorney authorizes the agent to do so. If none of the above conditions exist, a court proceeding would be necessary to secure the authority to create a Qualified Income Trust.
The Qualified Income Trust must be properly managed and payments must be made each month to maintain eligibility. There are very specific rules that must be followed for the trust. For example, it must be in a non-interest bearing account. Contact The Karp Law Firm for assistance and information about the Miller Trust. Our elder law attorneys are experienced in this complex area of the law.