Frequently Asked Questions – Trust Operations

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Trust Operations

Do I receive statements for my CDR trust sub-account?

Just like a bank, you receive monthly statements from CDR’s trust. Your statement will include a summary of all the activity in your sub-account for the month.These are printed on the same day of the month – the day your trust account was opened. So if your account was opened on February 14th, we would print your first statement on March 14th. Although we print statements every day, they only go out in the mail on weekdays.

You may need these statements for your annual recertification for Medicaid, please keep them in a safe place. You can direct us to send a copy to someone you designate who could hold them for you if you prefer. Upon request we will also send a summary of all deposits to your Medicaid worker at the time of your recertification.

Your statements give you more information than just your transactions. You can see the list of authorized vendors and the dates the authorization are good for. That way you can make sure to send in an updated Disbursement Request so we continue pay your bills without interruption. You also see the people who are authorized to access your account. That way you can make changes if you want.

I’m not sure if something was paid. Do I need to wait until I get my statement in the mail?

No. We have several options for you to manage your trust sub-account. First, we provide you with online access. Our website allows you to see all of the transactions on your account as well as see the authorizations, recurring payments and manage your account.

For people who want immediate information, you can also receive text alerts. We can send a text to a cellphone when your electronic deposits are scheduled, when deposits are posted, when your payment is entered in the system, when a payment that’s been held is released for payment, and when the payment has been posted –which means we printed the check.You can choose any or none of these, and you can manage on our website.

Some people want to talk to a person to get their question answered, so you can call our customer service team and ask questions about your account. If our lines are busy, you can choose to leave a message and we will call you right back, or you can wait on hold. Our Customer Service Representatives can answer most questions about your account. They can see your entire account, can check our email account and faxes to verify that we have receive a disbursement request or other form. They can change your address or phone number and start or stop text alerts. Sometimes a question will require research.

They will “ticket” that issue to our accounting team, address the issue and call you back, although for complex situations that may take a couple days.

Will they talk to anyone about my account?

We will talk to anyone we are authorized to discuss your account with. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a family member or trusted friend assist with your account. You can authorize us to talk with them or change that at any time. If someone is not listed as an authorized representative on the account, we won’t answer questions about the account. That means you control who has access to your information. So if we pay your rent and the landlord calls us, we won’t talk to them, although we will be polite about that.

Because the purpose of the Trust is to help you qualify for Medicaid, we will communicate with the Medicaid office about your benefits without a specific authorization.

What if I go into a nursing facility?

This trust is for people in the community. Once you enter a nursing facility, you must stop making deposits into the trust. You may continue to request withdrawals from the remaining money in the trust until the account is exhausted. Once the balance is spent, your trust account will be closed.

My family is worried about a “transfer penalty” if I go into a nursing facility. What do we need to know?

If you are over 65, receive community-based Medicaid and participate in this trust, New York State has confirmed there will be no transfer penalty if you later enter a nursing facility. Transfer penalties had been a concern for persons over the age of 65 who placed their excess income into a trust and later entered a nursing facility. This is described in General Information System 2008 MA/020: Transfers to Pooled Trusts by Disabled Individuals Age 65 and Over, but in a nutshell, all the monthly deposits made into the trust were combined into a big penalty amount, which would disqualify the person from having Medicaid pay for nursing facility placement for a period of time. The period of time was determined by the total of the deposits compared to the cost of nursing facility placement. This period of disqualification was called the penalty period. This meant that trust participants over age 65 who entered a nursing facility would have been responsible to pay for the cost of their nursing facility placement for the entire length of this penalty period. That has changed!

The State Medicaid Program has confirmed that the use of pooled trusts by people over 65 will not automatically trigger the transfer penalty if they later enter a nursing facility. Please remember that in order to avoid any other penalties you must ensure that the money you place in the trust is spent on your monthly expenses. We urge you not to save large amounts of money in the trust or these unused amounts will be subject to a penalty if you later enter a nursing facility.

For example: You place your $500 monthly spend-down into the trust for two years. Your deposits total $12,000 and your total withdrawals from the trust each month for rent and utilities equal $450 per month totaling $10,800. The difference between your deposits and the total withdrawals made on your behalf is $1200. If you entered a nursing home, this $1200 would be subject to the transfer penalty. To avoid the penalty, ensure that the money you deposit each month is spent on your behalf and do not allow it to accumulate.

Can I get my money back?

No. This is an irrevocable trust, so when you put your money in, it can’t go back to you. We can use it to pay bills, but not give you – or anyone else – cash.

What if I move out of state?

This is complicated because every state has different laws regarding administration of public benefits. If you move out of state, you won’t be able to make withdrawals from the trust until appropriate arrangements can be made. If you are planning to move, let us know so we can help you plan for these changes.

What happens if I decide to leave the trust?

You may stop contributing to the trust account at any time. If the beneficiary has a zero ($0) balance for sixty (60) or more consecutive days, we reserve the right to close the sub-account. We must immediately report to your Medicaid worker that you are no longer participating in the trust as this may affect your eligibility for some Medicaid programs. If you decide to re-open the account,you may be required to pay any outstanding administrative fees stemming from the prior sub-account and you may also be required to pay a new enrollment fee.

What happens to my trust funds when I die?

Any money left in the trust at the time of your death will be used to further the purposes of the trust as indicated in your Joinder agreement. This means that no more withdrawals can be made after your death for any reason. That means we won’t pay a bill after you died even if you incurred the expense before you died.

If you are concerned that there should be enough for your funeral, you can plan ahead for death and burial expenses. The pre-plan must be received by the trust before your death.

What kinds of things are those unused funds used for?

First, we use the funds to make your trust experience better. We have used these funds to custom code the software that has dramatically increased our speed and accuracy in processing transactions. (It used to take up to 10 days to pay a disbursement, and nowwe do that in less than three.) These enhancements included creating the options for online access to the trust, recurring payment processing, and text alerts.

Unlike other trusts, CDR is a disability rights organization, so we have used these funds toadvocate on behalf of trust participants. Because of advocacy funded by the trust, we eliminated the requirement that members would need to verify their deposits every month. Now this is only required in very limited circumstances. This has made the program easier for people to use.

We also developed a law to notify Medicaid recipients that they can use the Trust, so you may already have benefited from CDR’s Trust when you were first told about this option. We also support other advocacy efforts to ensure Disabled and elderly people can live in the community.

It doesn’t seem like CDR gets a lot of fees for doing this, so what does CDR get out of providing the trust?

CDR’s mission is to work for the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities. One of the most compelling reasons we decided to do this was some people have ended up in nursing facilities because they didn’t have enough money to keep their housing after they qualified for Medicaid. This was particularly true for older women who were becoming more disabled. By making the trust available, seniors and people with disabilities have Medicaid services and the monthly resources stay in their homes.

When we started, our goal was to help a small group of people with disabilities live in the community. Today, over 6,000 people are in CDR’s trust and CDR serves more than 10,000 people across the entire state.

What if I have more questions?

Call us at (585) 546-7560 and we will answer any questions you have about the pooled trust.