Pooled special needs trusts examined

By December 3, 2010Uncategorized

The New York Times recently ran an article titled What’s a Pooled Trust? A Way to Avoid the Nursing Home, which did an excellent job of describing the benefits that people may receive from establishing a pooled special needs trust.  As can be inferred from the title of the article itself, the story illustrated how people may use a pooled special needs trust to keep them out of a nursing home, and in the comfort and care of their own residence.  And, many times, remaining in the home makes all the difference to a person’s wellbeing and happiness.

As a refresher, Medicaid enrollees may place money in a pooled special needs trust, and that money will not be counted for purposes of Medicaid eligibility.  The trust is managed by a non-profit organization, and whatever is left in the trust upon the trustor’s death is typically used to repay Medicaid and/or go to the charitable organization charged with managing the trust.  Funds placed in a pooled special needs trust may only be used for select purposes, lest the Medicaid enrollee could be disqualified from benefits.

Now, back to how a pooled special needs trust may be used to help eligible seniors avoid moving into a nursing home.  There are many Arizona seniors who have too many assets to qualify for Arizona’s Medicaid program, ALTCS, but with not enough funds to cover the costs of in-home care.  Those who belong to this group, and who are also eligible to join a pooled special needs trust may be able to qualify for ALTCS once their funds are safely inside the trust.  And, because ALTCS pays for not only skilled nursing care, but also for care in the home, ALTCS enrollees may be able to remain in their home longer once approved for the benefit.

Of course, just like there are strict requirements for ALTCS eligibility, there are also strict requirements for joining a pooled special needs trust.  A special needs trust attorney, however, can help you determine whether establishing such a trust may be beneficial to your situation.  It may just be that joining a pooled special needs trust is precisely the planning strategy that will help you or somebody close to you procure much needed public benefits.