Maryland Supplemental Needs Trusts for Disabled Persons

Qualify for Medicaid without Losing Your Assets

In Montgomery County, Maryland the average cost of nursing home care is about $11,000 per month. Medical Assistance (Medicaid) is the government health insurance program that helps pay that cost. About two-thirds of all long-term nursing home residents are on Medicaid.

Medical Assistance is means tested. To qualify for benefits Maryland nursing home residents must “spend down” all countable assets above $2,500.

One way a nursing home resident can spend down to qualify for Medicaid long-term nursing home care insurance coverage is to put his or her funds into a supplemental needs trust (also known as a special needs trust or SNT). Maryland law encourages the use of special needs trusts for the benefit of disabled persons. Maryland does not limit the amount of funds one can place in a SNT, and does not impose a transfer penalty for funding a SNT.

What Does a Supplemental Needs Trust Pay For?

A supplemental needs trust does what the term indicates: it supplements public benefits; it pays for services that Medicaid does not, or does not pay for very well. For example, a supplemental needs trust might pay for additional health care services, including:

  1. A private room in a nursing home / the additional cost of a private room (Medicaid pays only for semi-private rooms);
  2. Holding a nursing home bed in the event of hospitalization (as of 2012, Maryland Medical Assistance no longer pays to reserve a nursing home resident’s bed when the nursing home resident enters a hospital);
  3. Physicians who do not have a Medicaid contract, including many specialists;
  4. Dental care;
  5. Hearing aids;
  6. Eye glasses;
  7. Elective surgery (like corrective eye surgery);
  8. Massage therapy (for, say a bedridden patient); and
  9. Privately hired nurses and personal aids

So funding a special needs trust is a way to spend down to qualify for Medicaid long-term nursing home care insurance coverage. Supplemental needs trusts are an important financial planning tool that can significantly enhance quality of life for disabled persons.

The person who knows about supplemental needs trusts is an elder law and disability law attorney. The Law Office of Henry Nash practices in these areas, including in estate planning and Medicaid law. Our office is conveniently located in Rockville, and we work with individuals and families throughout Montgomery County and elsewhere in Maryland. If you have any questions or concerns about special needs trusts and/or paying for long-term nursing home care, generally, and want to discuss with an experienced elder law and disability law attorney, please feel free to contact us.

Learn More About Trusts and Medicaid Planning

See our articles about elder law and disability law.