Justin, My mom isn’t far from needing to move to an assisted living facility or a nursing home. We’ve been told she needs a Miller Trust? How do we know if that’s true? – Shannon
Shannon, if your mother moves to an assisted living facility or a nursing home and hopes to qualify for Medicaid benefits to help with the costs, she might need a Miller Trust. In Arkansas, DHS has set an income limit for Medicaid recipients. In 2019, that limit is just over $2,300 per month. If your mother’s income exceeds the limit, she might still be able to qualify for Medicaid, but she would definitely need a Miller Trust. If her income is less than the current cap, she wouldn’t need a Miller Trust.
Make note that DHS uses your mother’s gross income figures, not the net amount that hits her bank account, when making this determination. Many people make the mistake of using a bank statement to count up all the dollars that actually hit the account each month and decide that the total is just under the income limit, so they file for Medicaid without using a Miller Trust. That can cause a major problem down the road.
Another mistake many people make is assuming the Miller Trust has something to do with protecting assets. Another name for a Miller Trust is an Irrevocable Income Trust – in a nutshell, only a person’s monthly income goes into this trust. It has nothing to do with assets and, in fact, if you put assets into a Miller Trust in addition to or instead of your monthly income, you’ll be denied Medicaid benefits. This trust only helps with the income cap, not the asset limit.
Check out our website – ElrodFirm.com – to read more about Medicaid rules and to order my book, You Need A Plan. And don’t forget, we’re always ready to provide a no charge strategy session to help with questions like this. Just give us a call.