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RULE §358.339Treatment of Trusts on and after August 11, 1993

(a) Introduction. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) follows §1917(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §1396p(d)) regarding the treatment of trusts established on or after August 11, 1993, using a person's assets. The trust provisions apply to a person receiving benefits under a Medicaid-funded program for the elderly and people with disabilities (MEPD), whether the person is in an institutional or a noninstitutional setting. However, transfer-of-assets provisions apply only to a person in an institutional setting.

(b) Limited partnerships.

  (1) A limited partnership is a "similar legal device" to a trust. In accordance with the definition of a trust in §1917(d)(6) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §1396p(d)(6)), HHSC treats a limited partnership as a trust and applies the provisions of this section to a limited partnership. The general partners of a limited partnership act as trustee, and the limited partners are the equivalent of beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust. To the extent that the general partners can make each limited partner's ownership interest available to him, that interest is a countable resource and not a transfer of assets. However, a transfer of assets has occurred to the extent that:

    (A) the value of the share of ownership purchased by the limited partner is less than the amount the limited partner invested; and

    (B) the general partners cannot make the limited partner's share available to the limited partner.

  (2) If transfer-of-assets provisions apply, a limited partnership is not considered a trust instrument when determining the look-back period.

(c) Qualified income trust (QIT).

  (1) A QIT is an irrevocable trust established for the benefit of a person or the person's spouse, or both, the corpus of which is composed only of the person's or the couple's income (including accumulated income). The trust must include a provision that the State is designated as the residuary beneficiary to receive, at the person's death, funds remaining in the trust equal to the total amount of Medicaid paid on the person's behalf.

  (2) Characteristics of a QIT are as follows:

    (A) The trust must be irrevocable.

    (B) The trust must contain only the person's income. If resources are placed in the trust, it is not a QIT. However, some banks may require nominal deposits to establish a financial account to fund the trust. Nominal amounts of the person's resources, or another party's funds, may be used to establish the account without invalidating the trust or being counted as gift income to the person. Once the trust account is established, however, only the person's income should be directed to the trust account.

    (C) The person's income does not have to be directly deposited into the trust. However, the income for which the trust is established must be deposited into the trust during the month it is received by the person.

    (D) A QIT may be established with any or all sources of a person's income, but the income source must be identified and the entire income source must be deposited. For example, the trust may be established for a person's private pension income, but not the person's Social Security income. If a trust is established with only half of the pension income, it is not a QIT.

  (3) A QIT is not counted as a resource.

  (4) Income directed to a QIT is not counted when testing eligibility for services in an institutional setting.

    (A) Income must be directed to the trust account during the calendar month in which it is received. Any source of nonexempt or nonexcludable income that is not directed to the QIT account during the calendar month of receipt is countable income for that month. If countable income exceeds the income limit, the person is income-ineligible for the month. An applicant may not be certified for any calendar month in which the applicant is income-ineligible. For a recipient, HHSC requests restitution in the amount of the provider payment for any calendar month in which the person is income-ineligible.

    (B) Income directed to the trust is counted in determining eligibility for a person in a noninstitutional setting and for a person applying for or receiving benefits from a Medicare Savings Program as described in Chapter 359 of this title (relating to Medicare Savings Program).

    (C) Income paid from the trust for an institutional setting co-payment or to purchase other medical services for the person is not countable income for eligibility purposes. Income paid from the trust directly to the person or otherwise spent for the person's benefit is countable income for eligibility purposes.

    (D) A person cannot use income from a QIT to purchase eligibility for a §1915(c) waiver program.

    (E) If the trustee directs to the trust account different sources of income than those identified in the QIT, but directs entire sources and countable income remains within the special income limit, eligibility is not affected.

  (5) If the trust instrument requires that the income placed in the trust must be paid out of the trust for the person's care in an institutional setting, transfer-of-assets provisions do not apply because the person receives fair market value for the income that was placed into the trust. However, if there is no such requirement or the income is not used for the person's care, transfer-of-assets provisions apply. The income must be paid out by the end of the month after the month funds were placed in the trust to avoid application of the transfer-of-assets provisions. Transfer-of-assets provisions do not apply when the QIT provisions allow payments to or for the benefit of the person's spouse.

  (6) The institutional setting co-payment amount is based on the person's total income (income directed to the trust as well as income not directed to the trust), minus the standard co-payment deductions. Costs of trust administration are not budgeted in the co-payment calculation. Transfer-of-assets provisions do not apply when legal and accounting fees necessary to maintain the trust are paid from the trust.

  (7) HHSC disregards the income placed in a QIT for eligibility purposes for the first month that the person has a valid signed trust and enough income is placed in the account to reduce the remaining income below the special income limit.

(d) Undue hardship.

  (1) As provided under §1917(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §1396p(d)(5)), this section does not apply if application of the trust provisions in this section would work an undue hardship on the person. Undue hardship exists if application of the trust provisions would:

    (A) deprive the person of medical care so that the person's health or his life would be endangered; or

    (B) deprive the person of food, shelter, or other necessities of life.

  (2) Undue hardship does not exist if a person is inconvenienced or must restrict his or her lifestyle but is not at risk of serious deprivation. Undue hardship relates to hardship to the person, not to relatives or authorized representatives of the person.

  (3) Before requesting a waiver of the trust provisions on the grounds of undue hardship, a person must make reasonable efforts to recover assets placed in a trust, such as petitioning the court to dissolve the trust. HHSC determines undue hardship after receiving a request for a waiver of the trust provisions on the grounds of undue hardship. The person has the right to appeal HHSC's determination on undue hardship.

Source Note: The provisions of this §358.339 adopted to be effective September 1, 2009, 34 TexReg 5497

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