What is a Pooled Trust or (d)(4)(c) Trust?
While there are several types of Special Needs Trusts, a Pooled Trust is a self-settled trust that is funded with the assets of the Individual (Trust Beneficiary) who is of any age and is determined to be disabled.* see definition of disability.
A Pooled Trust is considered an exempt resource by means tested government programs and will not be subject to a transfer penalty if it meets these statutory requirements:
- The Trust is established and maintained by a non-profit association.
- The Trust is funded with assets and/ or income which belong to the Individual (Trust Beneficiary).
- The Trust account may be established by the Individual or a person legally qualified to act on behalf of that individual such as a power of attorney or legal guardian, a parent, grandparent, or a court.
- A separate account is maintained for each beneficiary of the Trust for prudent investment and management purposes. The Trust funds may be pooled into one account.
- To the extent that any funds remaining at death are not retained by the Trust, the state must be reimbursed for the amount of medical assistance paid by the state for the benefit of the individual.
- The Pooled Trust Agreement must be Irrevocable.
Who May Benefit From A Pooled Special Needs Trust?
The Person for who the money is being managed is called the Trust Beneficiary.
Examples of Trust Beneficiaries:
- Persons with disabilities under age 65 * see definition of disability below
- Elderly Persons over 65 (who are not on or applying for SSI)
- Persons living in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities or at Home with caregivers.
- Persons on Medicaid or Social Security Disability Programs or other Programs
- Persons who receive court settlements or inheritances that would otherwise disqualify them from public benefits.
How Does One Join the E.Q.O.L. Pooled Trust?
The E.Q.O.L. Pooled Special Needs Trust is the Master Trust which outlines the purpose and guidelines of the Trust. This Trust is not signed or altered by the Trust Beneficiary. It remains the same for every member.
Disabled individuals who wish to join the Trust will first complete and sign the Joinder Agreement. The Joinder Agreement is specific to each Individual and it is where intentions are written with regard to expenses, payments, Beneficiary Advocates, financial arrangements after death, etc.
Competent Individuals shall sign their own Joinder Agreements and deposit income and / or assets which are their own. Once an individual joins the pooled Trust they are referred to as the Trust Beneficiary. If the intended Trust Beneficiary is incompetent or unable to sign, someone with the legal authority to act on their behalf, as described in the federal statute, may complete and sign the Joinder Agreement.
The Trustee then opens an individual sub–account with the bank holding the Pooled Trust funds. The Trust Beneficiary or their legal representative may then deposit the Trust Beneficiary’s income and/ or assets into the Trust. Income can be directly deposited to the sub-account.
Once the account is established and funded, the Trustee will pay the Trust Beneficiary’s authorized monthly bills and other expenses as required from the Trust. The Trust Beneficiary or their Beneficiary Advocate may make written requests for allowable expenses to be paid, as needed. All payments made from the Trust must be for goods or services outlined in the Joinder agreement and /or for the betterment of the quality of life for the Trust Beneficiary.
Does E.Q.O.L. offer legal advice?
E.Q.O.L., Inc. is not a law rm or legal service and its Principals and employees may not interpret the Master Trust or Joinder agreement for anyone or determine if it will meet an individual’s government benefit needs. Since a trust is a legal instrument, we recommend seeking the advice of an attorney. For referrals to qualified attorneys, you may visit: www.AFELA.org. If you would like to consult an attorney, ask an E.Q.O.L. representative for a trusted referral.
What Laws and Regulations govern Special Needs Trusts?
- Federal Statute – 42 U.S.C 1396
- Federal Policy – POMS
- State Statute – F.S.736 Trust Code
- Administrative Regulations Administrative Regulations – FAC
- State Policy – Florida Medicaid Manual
How May The Trust Funds May Be Used?
- Private Home Health Care Services ** see exceptions
- Private Health Insurance PremiumsLegal fees
- Guardianship fees
- Care Management services
- Nursing Home or Assisted Living private room rate differential
- Long Term Care Insurance Premiums
- Rehabilitation Services and Equipment (not covered by other benefits)
- Out of Pocket medical and dental expenses not covered by govt. Benefits
- Transportation to / from appointments and events
- Vehicle Purchase and Maintenance expenses
- Dietary Supplements
- Food & Shelter (rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.)**
- Maintenance of items used to support the Beneficiary (house, vehicle, car)
- Events, Travel, Trips to see family or enhance the quality of life
- Purchase of goods and services that add pleasure to life (furniture, decorations , telephones and service, television, entertainment, memberships)
How Can the Trust Funds Not Be Used?
Pooled Trust funds are only for the Trust Beneficiary. Funds are not authorized for:
- Gifts to others
- Support of others
- Charitable Donations during the lifetime of the Trust Beneficiary
Who May Determine How the Money is Used?
In order to meet statutory requirements, the Trust must be managed by a bonafide non- profit organization. The Directors of E.Q.O.L., Inc. serve as the Trustee for their members.
The Individual and/ or their Beneficiary Advocate(s) designated on the Joinder Agreement may make requests for services and products to be paid from the Trust. The ultimate decision regarding payment rests solely with the Trustee. Payment is made directly to the vendor.
Self determination and quality of life is at the core of any successful program serving the elderly and disabled. The E.Q.O.L. Pooled Trust Joinder Agreement includes provisions for the Trust Beneficiary and their designated Beneficiary Advocate(s) to list the anticipated expenses and uses for the Trust funds. Any questions or concerns regarding uses for the funds may be addressed prior to the establishment of the Trust and the Joinder Agreement may be customized to meet the needs of the Trust Beneficiary within statutory guidelines.
Are Statements of SNT Account Available?E.Q.O.L. provides monthly statements to each Trust Beneficiary and their Beneficiary Advocates identified on the Joinder Agreement. While the funds are available to be “pooled “ together, E.Q.O.L. creates separate sub-accounts for each Trust Beneficiary.
What Happens if an Individual Beneficiary Utilizes All of the Money in their Pooled Trust Account?
Because E.Q.O.L. does not require a minimum deposit to join the Trust, it is very possible for Trust Beneficiaries to deposit a small amount of money and use it all within their lifetime. When the money is gone, the sub account will be closed. If a future deposit is anticipated, the account will be held open with a minimum balance.
What Happens to the Funds After the Death of the Trust Beneficiary?
A Pooled Trust, by law, is a Medicaid “pay back” trust. If the Trust Beneficiary received medical services paid for by Medicaid, the Trust must first “pay back” Medicaid for the medical portion of the services delivered. If there are funds left after Medicaid is reimbursed, designated heirs may receive the remaining funds. If the Trust Beneficiary never received medical services from Medicaid, no pay back to Medicaid is required.
Medicaid Payback requirements can be avoided if the following arrangements are entered into the Joinder Agreement when the trust is established:
- The funds may be retained in the Trust as a charitable contribution to help other Pooled Trust members.
- The funds may be deposited into an individual Pooled Trust account for a specific person who is also a member of the Pooled Trust.
- The funds may be donated to a registered charity.
What Does It Cost To Join The E.Q.O.L. Pooled Trust?
Pooled Trusts are a cost effective alternative to costly Individual Trust Services for which many banks require a minimum deposit of one million dollars. Our Pooled Trust has no minimum deposit and our low, one time administrative fee to open the account is currently starting at $1,250.00 and up, depending upon the amount of deposit.
Please read our Joinder Agreement for full disclosure of monthly service/ bill paying fees, tax preparation and account closure expenses.
** When a government program or insurance is already paying for medical, food or housing expenses, additional payments made by the Trust could disqualify the Trust Beneficiary for program benefits. There can be no duplication of services.