In order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant's income must fall below a certain level. Most states allow individuals to spend down any income above this level on their care until they reach the state's income standard. But in some states (called "income cap" states), Medicaid applicants who have excess income can qualify for Medicaid only if they put the excess in a special trust, called a "Miller" trust or a "Qualified Income Trust.
The Miller trust can pay the Medicaid recipient a small personal needs allowance, and the trust can also be used to pay the recipient's spouse a monthly allowance. Any additional money is used to pay the recipient's share of his or her cost of care. If there is any money left in the trust when the recipient dies, Medicaid has a right to the money to recover the cost of care.
To talk to an elder law attorney about setting up an income trust, click here.
To learn more about how Medicaid treats income, click here.