A Qualified Income Trust (QIT) is an instrument that’s designed to help aging adults in Florida qualify for benefits even though their income is greater than the limit for Medicaid approval. It exists to help seniors cover the costs of staying in nursing facilities. For these individuals, although their income is more than legally allowed for Medicaid benefit recipients, the costs of long-term living facilities are simply too high. This is known as being “in the gap.” When using a QIT for this purpose, applicants must make sure that it is both established and administered correctly.
An improperly established QIT can result in retroactive loss of benefits
Once approved, a QIT will pay for the additional expenses of a nursing care facility that the applicant’s income cannot cover. Multiple applicants have been denied benefits in state-administered Medicaid Fair Hearing rulings due to faulty QIT administration or faulty QIT language. Moreover, denial of Medicaid benefits in these instances is sometimes retroactive. Those who lose their Medicaid benefits retroactively ultimately become responsible for reimbursing the state.
Benefit recipients must be prepared for regular QIT audits
Beyond properly establishing and administering QITs, benefit recipients must be prepared to undergo rigorous audits. QIT audits are performed by the Medicaid Agency approximately once every three to six months. Proper maintenance includes keeping all related documents up to date and ready for presentation, managing the QIT account as required by the program, and informing the Medicaid Agency about any changes in personal income within the allotted time frame. Working with elder law advisors, counselors or other professionals within this niche is often recommended.
Generic QIT forms set the stage for problems
Many applicants receive generic QIT forms from Medicaid offices. These forms are a frequent source of problems. Given that a trust is a legal document, generic forms are inherently deficient or faulty in their language. They do not offer sufficient information on QIT maintenance, and they do not detail exactly how trust accounts should be set up or maintained. Using generic QIT forms to establish these trusts greatly increases the likelihood of both an investigation by the Medicaid Agency and retroactive benefits denial.
Preparing for long-term care is an important part of end-of-life planning. This is especially true for aging adults with income that exceeds the normal limits for Medicaid approval. Working with qualified legal professionals to correctly establish a QIT is always preferable to using basic, generic forms to start this process.