What is a pooled trust?
The LIFE, Inc. “pooled trust” is a type of special needs trust that is designed to shelter surplus income or resources from Medicaid. By depositing your spend down into the trust, you remain/obtain Medicaid eligibility, and then you can use the money in your trust to pay your bills and living expenses.
How do I sign up?
It is very simple to set up a LIFE, Inc. Pooled Trust. You simply fill out the “Joinder Agreement Application”, sign it and have it notarized, and mail it to our office with the enrollment fee. You can send it in with a check for the amount of your surplus, and we can take the fee out of your surplus.
- You must mail us the original joinder agreement, not a copy.
- The enrollment fee can be paid by personal check, money order or ACH.
- The fee can be paid by anyone, but the “spend-down” or “surplus” must come from the Medicaid recipient’s funds.
*NEW! We now provide home visits. If you need someone to come to your home and assist you with signing up, please call our customer service phone number at 516-374-4564 ext.3 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a visit. We will send a licensed notary to your home to help you fill out the application and answer any questions that you have about managing your trust account.
What happens after I set up the trust?
After we get the joinder application, we will process and establish your trust in 2 business days or less. Then, you will get a call from your specific trust counselor and they will walk you through the rest of the process. They will help you set up an ACH(electronic transfer) so your “spend down” will be met consistently month after month. This is optional, you can choose to write a check every month. They will help you set up any recurring bill payments. They will explain to you how to request other bills to be paid when that is needed.
How do I fund my account?
You fund your trust on a monthly basis. You can do this in 2 different ways. You can write a check every month for the surplus amount.
Or you can use our ACH option to enable to us automatically pull the amount directly our of your bank account every month. You can find our ACH form on the Income Trust page.
What is a “recurring bill”?
A recurring bill is a bill that we will pay month after month on the date in which you specify. You only need to tell us what the bill is once, and we will pay it every month automatically after that. This can be done with any bill that is the same amount every month. So for example, but not limited to, rent, utilities on “balanced billing”, cell phone, or any other bill that is the same every month.
How do I pay my other bills that are non-recurring?
Your trust counselor will walk you through this process when you set up your trust, and again anytime you need. You simply send us your bill, and the request form filled out and signed, and we will pay the bill. We guarantee to process all bill requests in 3 business days or less. Bills and request forms can be sent in by mail, email, or fax. Or if you live in the area, feel free to stop by and talk with your counselor.
What kind of bills am I allowed to request?
All pooled income trusts are guided by the same Medicaid laws. However, different cases call for different rules. Because of this, much of this section is not written in stone. You can call us to ask about specific bills you are going to want to pay. There are some things that we can never pay for such as alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gambling, life insurance, health insurance, gifts or donations. We can pay for most other expenses for our clients. Things we can always pay for are rent or mortgage, taxes, utilities, cable, phone bill, groceries, restaurants, clothes, credit card bills, and many other common charges. Pre-paid funeral expenses are also allowable.
What is LIFE’s policy on reimbursements?
Update to Reimbursement Policy:
LIFE, Inc. Pooled Trust offers third parties the ability to make a payment on behalf of a trust client/beneficiary and request trust funds for reimbursement, in limited circumstances.
Reimbursements to third parties may only be made for purchases paid for by the third party’s credit card or check linked to their bank account. Reimbursements will not be issued for items purchased using cash.
The trust will require the following documents to be submitted when a reimbursement is requested:
- The request must be authorized by the client, or another party that has disbursement authority.
- The reimbursement must be for an expense that is “allowable” by Medicaid regulation and by the Trust.
- The original invoice or receipt for the expense must be provided.
- Proof of payment will be accepted in the form of:
- Credit card statement from the party requesting reimbursement. The line item must clearly show the reimbursable expense, and the third party’s name must be on the card.
- Image of a cancelled check or bank statement showing payment of the expense.
- LIFE Trust reserves the right to request additional documentation before approval of any reimbursement request.
Please also note that reimbursements may not be made:
- Directly to a beneficiary
- To a beneficiary’s spouse
- When the payment was made out of a bank account with the beneficiary’s name on it, even if it is a joint bank account
ALL requested documents must be provided before the trust will issue a reimbursement.
How much does it cost?
We charge a signup fee of $300.00 ($450.00 for joint spousal trusts), an annual fee of $200.00 ($300.00 for joint spousal trusts), and a monthly fee which is dependent on your spend down amount. See the fee schedule in the income or asset trust tab
We do not require any minimum balance and the funds in your account can be accessed immediately after funding your account.
What happens when the trust client passes away? Where does the money go?
When a client passes away and there are funds remaining in their trust account, Medicaid requires that the money be spent for charitable purposes. LIFE Trust is part of a larger 501(c)(3) not-for-profit social-services agency that provides educational and other important services to underserved communities across New York. The funds in the account will be used to support our programs. For more information about our agency, please visit www.lifetech.org.
Per Medicaid regulations, the pooled trust may not pay any bills or return funds to the family after the client passes away, regardless of when those expenses were incurred. However, because the trust has a quick turnaround time for bill paying, and does not require any security deposit, a client can insure that only a small amount of money, if any, will be left in the account at the time of death. Our trust counselors are always available to assist if a client needs assistance with timing bill payments or ideas for allowable uses of funds for clients with high spend-downs or low expenses.
Can someone help me apply for Medicaid?
LIFE, Inc. does not provide assistance with Medicaid applications or any other related legal work. We do work with many professionals all over New York State that do. If you would like a recommendation on how to get assistance, please call our customer service team at (516) 374-4564 ext.3.
What if I already signed up with another trust, can I switch to LIFE?
You can! And it is very simple. Plus we waive all signup fees for trust “switchovers” (with proof of previous trust). You simply fill out our joinder agreement, and then cease funding your previous trust, and that same month you begin funding your life trust. There will be no gap in your Medicaid benefits.