Miller Trusts in Texas: Why Timing Is Important
A misunderstood ideas is about the best time to set up a Miller Trusts to become eligibility for benefits. Anyone who applies for Medicaid and has a gross monthly income over the limit (for 2017, $2,205) won’t qualify without a properly funded Qualifying Income Trust (the formal name for a Miller Trust).
Once you’ve realized you need a Miller Trust to get help with those high nursing home bills, the next question is when to start the process.
Luckily, Texas Medicaid policy allows you to set up a Miller Trust as late as the last day of the month in which eligibility is sought. For example, if you need eligibility in October, you have until October 31 to get the Trust document written and signed and the bank account open. This rule is particularly helpful when a patient’s skilled benefits end after the first of the month. If you find yourself in that situation, you’ll face several weeks of paying nursing home costs out of your pocket.
That’s where this rule comes in handy.
The “end-of-the-month” Texas Miller Trust rule means the patient can start Medicaid benefits the day Medicare benefits end. While this rule can be helpful, the best timing is to have the trust executed the month before benefits are desired.
Monthly income deposited in the trust bank account needs to be coordinated with the creation of the trust. Coordinated poorly and you risk losing benefits and paying a nursing home bill that can be several thousand dollars. Setting up the trust early also avoids additional stress and worry. With the Trust properly in place, you have one less financial issue to deal with.
Another advantage? Having the Trust prepared the month before allows an experienced elder law attorney to relieve the burden of high care costs as soon as legally possible. The attorney can provide clear and timely instructions for qualifying for Medicaid benefits.
You may still get benefits if the trust is set up the month of the Medicaid application but you expose yourself to a potentially costly mistake. Receiving and paying for care outside the trust means you can permanently lose benefits for that month.