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In The Legal Know

Vincent Russo on CFN Live – Medicaid Home Care: Protecting Your Income

Watch Vincent J. Russo Legal Correspondent on Catholic Faith Network’s CFN Live!

Vincent appeared on CFN Live on March 1st to discuss
“Medicaid Home Care: Protecting Your Income”


Colleen: Today, we will be addressing Part Two in our Series on “Trusts and Medicaid” with Vincent J. Russo “In the Legal Know”.

 Vincent: Colleen, great to be here, last week we addressed how critical it is for seniors to plan for Medicaid long term care services.

Trusts can play an important role in protecting one’s assets while accessing Medicaid.

Last week, I addressed how to protect one’s residence by utilizing the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust while accessing Medicaid home care or nursing home care services.

Today, we will address how to protect one’s income while on Medicaid home care.

Colleen: Vincent, can you first explain again why Medicaid home care is so vital?

 Vincent:  Medicaid home care is so vital because Medicaid does not cover home care services. 

Colleen: Now, I understand that once you are eligible for Medicaid home care, there is a Medicaid income budget rule, how does that work.

 Vincent: Once you meet the criteria for assistance with activities of daily living and the asset test, you are approved for Medicaid home care.

But there is one more step, Medicaid will take a look at your monthly income.  If you have more than $954, then Medicaid (which is a payer of last resort) says you have to spend down that excess income before they will pay for the services.

For example, if the senior has $1,954 of monthly income and the income allowance is $954, the senior is allowed to keep $954 and the balance ($1,000) would have to spent down.  Of course, we know that seniors cannot live on $954 per month.

Colleen: what if you are married, then how does it work?

Vincent: Then, we have another set of rules that will allow the married couple up to $3,425 each month to live on. If the income is higher, then a Pooled Trust or spousal refusal (which we can discuss another day) can help protect the excess income.

Now for the solution: The excess monthly income can go into a Pooled Income Trust in NY and then that income can be spent on the living expenses of the senior without having to be spent down each month.

This will allow the senior to be able to remain at home and receive the care he or she needs covered by Medicaid.

Colleen: How does it work?

Vincent: Each month, the senior would contribute his or her excess income to the Pooled Trust (a separate sub-account would be set up), then the senior would submit bills for his or her living expenses and the Pooled Trust would pay the bills.

If there are any funds remaining in the account, those funds would pass to the Charity which created the Trust.

There are over 22 Pooled Trusts in New York and one of them is the Theresa Pooled Trust.

The Theresa Foundation was established by my family in memory of my daughter, Theresa and the Foundation supports music, dance, art, and recreation for children with special needs.

Colleen: This is an awfully complicated way to provide long-term care for our seniors. What should seniors do about this?

Vincent: Planning in advance and getting the right advice is the key. No one should lose their life savings because they have long-term care needs.

Colleen: Vincent, what comes next?

Vincent: Next week, we will discuss the use of trusts for people under 65 who need Medicaid and SSI- Supplemental Security Income.

For more information on these topics and more, you can download for free our Planning Guides from our law firm website at

Vincent can be found on past CFN Live episodes by clicking here.

We hope you tune in to CFN Live. It is a dynamic show with current news and fascinating contributors who have inspiring stories to tell. The new show CFN Live airs Monday through Fridaylogo at 9 am & 7:00 pm. You will be able to watch the show anytime, at your convenience, on the CFN YouTube Channel.

You can learn more about the Catholic Faith Network and CFN Live by visiting

Vincent J. RussoRusso Law Group’s Managing Partner, Vincent J. Russo, is a featured contributor on the Catholic Faith Network’s new show CFN Live. Vincent is the show’s Legal Correspondent. In his segment, entitled “In the Legal Know,” Vincent will keep you abreast of the latest legal developments including elder law, special needs and estate planning — all to help you make informed planning decisions to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets.

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