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What is a qualified income trust?

Many Georgia residents require medical care that they cannot fully pay for. Medicaid was created to help low income people obtain proper medical care, but if a person's income is above the Medicaid limit, they are not eligible for the federal benefits. Georgia has created a legal device called a Qualified Income Trust that helps these individuals become eligible for Nursing Facility, Hospice and Home and Community Based Services and Medicaid.

Georgia establishes an income limit for Medicaid eligibility. Anyone whose income exceeds the income limit is not eligible for Medicaid. A QIT can make a person eligible for Medicaid by serving as a repository for income that would otherwise disqualify the recipient as eligible for Medicaid. In its simplest terms, a QIT serves as a depository for all income in excess of the Medicaid cap. The trust is irrevocable, that is, once established, it cannot be abolished. A QIT is executing a proper trust agreement and opening a QIT account at a bank. The trust instrument contains a worksheet on which the maker of the trust lists income. All income that exceeds the state income limit is deposited in the trust.

The state will not include funds in the trust when it calculates a person's eligibility for Medicaid. The trust instrument specifies how much money can be paid out every month for medical expenses and personal needs. A minimum deposit must be made every month in order to preserve Medicaid eligibility. The statute that permits establishment of QITs specifies that all funds in the QIT as of the date of the beneficiary's death revert to the state. Most individuals with QITs provide written notice to the agencies that pay their benefits of the trust's existence and the pertinent bank account number.

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