FYI…jumping through government hoops
For those who have been reading this blog, you know that we had to put my Mom in a nursing home and that we ran into problems with Mom’s ability to pay for it. Turns out that her social security income and her small pension payment put her income above the maximum allowable for her to qualify for Medicaid assistance but it wasn’t enough to be a private pay resident. We couldn’t afford the additional $1000 to $1500/mo that was needed to supplement her income and pay for her care without assistance. So, what to do?
We were told about a special trust that could possibly assist us in qualifying her for Medicaid. Evidently Medicaid (the government) can’t legally take more than the maximum stated income, in Texas that is $2094/mo but if you have income that exceeds that you must retain an attorney who specializes in Elder Law to set up a Miller Qualified Income Trust, our attorney’s fee was $1000. For that fee we got the Trust document and instructions to be followed to the letter for setting up the Trust account with Mom’s bank. In order for this to work the bank has to agree to charge NO FEES for administering the account. Thankfully Mom’s bank agreed and yesterday the account was set up.
In our case, Mom’s SS check must immediately be transferred into the Trust account as soon as it is automatically deposited monthly into her personal checking account. Then I, as Trustee, must immediately write a check from the Trust account for $60 (the amount she is allowed to keep for personal needs) and deposit it back into her personal checking account. Then I must immediately write a check from the Trust account to the nursing home for the full amount of her SS check, less the $60. Then I must immediately write another check to the nursing home from her personal checking account for the full amount of her monthly pension check, which brings the total going to the nursing home all of her monthly income less the $60/mo she gets to keep to pay for all her personal needs including clothing, toiletries, getting her hair done, etc., and if I make a mistake and do anything out of sequence Medicaid can disqualify her and we would be responsible for paying the nursing home for at least 30 days or longer depending on how quickly we could correct the error and how quickly the Medicaid case worker approved it. No pressure here?
All of this just so the government can legally take the extra $300/mo that Mom’s income exceeded the legal maximum. Now why this qualifies her, I have no idea. We just jumped through the hoops, not to mention paying the attorney fee for Mom because she didn’t have enough to cover it and wallah the government says OK. No allowances were made to cover her outstanding bills including those for her cancer treatments, along with her pharmacy bill for meds while she was on those treatments and we are left to deal with all of that.
This is just another example of how government help ends up being a nightmare because government rules are of the ‘one size fits all’ variety and no consideration was given to people like my Mom who fell through the cracks. I don’t know what would happen to someone who had no means or the mental capacity to hire the attorney and no one to physically go to a bank and set up the trust and then to serve as the Trustee and administer it. I posted this information because it might help someone else dealing with this sort of problem.
That old saying, “I’m from the government and I am here to help you”, has new meaning for us!
Grace and Mercy to deal with all of life’s challenges!