Restrictive Medicaid Requirements Revoked

March 2, 2020

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently announced they will no longer recommend that local districts impose restrictions that force seniors into nursing homes. Prior to the new rule, Medicaid agents were directed to reject pooled income trusts signed by an agent under a power of attorney without a Statutory Gifts Rider (SGR). Now, that will no longer happen in New York State. Seniors who choose not to include a SGR in the power of attorney can no longer be penalized for that choice. That means seniors can protect the funds for living expenses while still being eligible to receive Medicaid.

What is Pooled Income Trust?

A pooled trust is a specific type of Supplemental Needs Trust that allows individuals to hold on to some of their funds while remaining eligible to obtain benefits like Medicaid. These supplemental funds are used to pay for their living expenses. In an ordinary trust, these funds are counted as income and once they reach asset and income limits, can potentially disqualify the person from receiving Medicaid. Funds protected by pooled income trusts are used to pay for:

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Utilities
  • Real estate taxes
  • Medical services not covered by federal assistance
  • Entertainment and travel expenses
  • Attorney and guardian fees

What is a Statutory Gifts Rider?

A financial power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You can designate a power of attorney for medical decisions and one for legal and financial matters. An SGR supplements a power of attorney and must be signed at the same time to be valid. It gives your agent authority to make gifts on your behalf over the amount of $500. This is important for individuals who want to qualify for Medicaid or nursing home costs while still preserving assets to live on or pass on to beneficiaries. Without an SGR, your agent can only make gifts on your behalf up to $500.

While an SGR has obvious benefits, some seniors opt to forego this option for fear of elder financial abuse. An SGR can potentially open the door for unethical power of attorney agents to makes gifts to themselves.

Making Decisions for a Secure Future

With the new rule altering the approval process for Medicaid income pooled trusts in New York state, you may have questions about how the change will impact you. Because every person’s needs and goals are different, it is always best to schedule an estate planning consultation with a trusted Brooklyn elder law lawyer in your area.

Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Seniors with Smart Estate Planning

It goes without saying that you want to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build throughout your life. Our Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP take the time and care to explain all your options and empower you to make thoughtful decisions should you become incapacitated. To learn more about our services, call 212-495-8133 or use the online contact form to schedule an initial consultation today. With offices in Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York, as well as Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Long Island and Westchester, New York.