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What to know about pooled trusts

There seem to be bits of information out in the community about pooled trusts. So, we thought we would take this opportunity to share information that we give people who call NY Connects to find out what a pooled trust is. A pooled trust is a financial pathway to access Medicaid. People that have extensive home care needs may look to a pooled trust to financially manage all the costs of living in the community rather than having to move into institutional care settings like an assisted living or nursing facility. Community-based care and nursing facility care can both provide long-term services. The choice is with you. Using a pooled trust may be the best option for you.

A pooled trust is a financial plan and process in which you deposit excess income, known as a spend-down or excess resource assets, into a pooled income trust fund. Depositing excess income or assets into a pooled trust allows the remaining monthly income/assets you have to make you eligible financially for a state Medicaid healthcare insurance plan.

To qualify for Medicaid, you must complete an application to NY State and your income and assets are reviewed. If your monthly income is higher than the yearly Medicaid income level, this extra income or surplus income is referred to as a spend-down. You may be only eligible for Medicaid if you pay this spend-down into the Medicaid system every month. Sometimes, your monthly income meets the Medicaid criteria but your assets are too high and you are required to spend down those assets until you reach that year’s asset level. The NY State Department of Health website, https://www.health.ny.gov/health–care/medicaid/how–do–i–apply.htm is a great place to start to see how you can apply for Medicaid. There are enrollment assistors that can offer help and community partners that can assist with benefit advisement and work as Medicaid facilitated enrollers if one meets the criteria for the elderly, blind and disabled program. You can also apply for Medicaid on the My Benefits NY website at https://mybenefits.ny.gov/mybenefits/begin

There are many options for pooled trust companies in New York State. They are usually administered by not-for-profit organizations. You can search for pooled trust information on the NY Connects resource database at www.nyconnects.ny.gov. Pooled trusts allow people with disabilities that require long-term care services and supports to spend down excess income funds to get into Medicaid. People Inc. and the Center for Elder Law and justice collaborate to provide WNY Coalition Pooled Trusts. This is a good place to start learning more about pooled trusts. A pooled trust option can an individual maintain a quality of life while remaining in their homes and communities. There are income and asset guidelines that will be changing in 2023- so keep an eye and an ear out for more information.

NY Connects is the place to call to be connected to the help you need. It is the aging and disability resource center. NY Connects assists people of all ages. NY Connects offers information and assistance about local services that you may be eligible for to help you in the community. It is confidential and free and focused on the consumer’s needs and resources available to them. There are NY Connects programs located with the Office for Aging Services (OFAS) and the Southwestern Independent Living Center (SILC). You can reach NY Connects by phone: at 716-753-4582 or 800-342-9871 email: ccnyc@chqgov.com Southwestern Independent Living NY Connects at 716-661-3010 or 716-490-7561. There is an online resource tool called the NY Connects Resource directory as well at www.nyconnects.ny.gov.

NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services and the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

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