I frequently assist clients with setting up pooled trusts in connection with obtaining eligibility for Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing home care. The trust can either be created and funded by the client or by his or her attorney-in-fact under a properly drafted durable power of attorney.

Pooled Trusts can be created by a disabled individual or third party on the individual’s behalf in order to set aside funds for that individual that are not included for Medicaid and other public benefit eligibility purposes. The individual’s funds are transferred into the pooled trust, and managed by trustees approved by the State to provide this service. There are several approved pooled trusts in our state, with varying criteria, fees and services. The funds are available for the individual during his or her lifetime for certain supplemental needs or things to enhance the individual’s life, such as companion services, uncovered dental or other medical costs, cable television, haircuts, computer or travel. The permitted use of the funds will vary depending upon the specific benefits the individual is receiving.

The use of a pooled trust can allow a person in a nursing home to qualify for Medicaid benefits immediately upon transferring excess assets over $2,000 into a pooled trust. There are legal and trust fees which will be paid from the assets. Additionally, on the termination of the benefits or the death of the individual, the assets in the pooled trust must be used to repay the State for Medicaid benefits received.

The advantage is that repayment is at a much lower daily rate than if the funds had instead been used to pay for the nursing home at a private rate until the excess funds were spent down to $2,000. Thus, there are many variables which must be considered before making this choice.

for Medicaid benefits immediately