When can I start requesting payments from the trust?
You can request payments from the trust as soon as the funds have been deposited in your account.
What is the process to get my bills paid?
You must submit each request in writing using our Disbursement/Withdrawal Form. You have to send complete bills with the disbursement form. You can send bills to us by email, fax, regular mail, or if it is more convenient and you live nearby, you can drop them off at our reception desk.
In order to pay a disbursement,the request must be approved by CDR’s Pooled Trust Sub-Committee. Theyreview and approve all your requests for payment. Once the committee has approved a payment to a vendor, that authorization is good for one year so we don’t need to get repeated approvals and potentially slow down your payments.
Will you accurately pay my bills?
Everyone makes mistakes, but we have taken steps to ensure the highest level of accuracy. Most people don’t realize it, but big companies –like your cable service –have a lot of different payment addresses for their customers. To ensure your bill goes to the correct address, we can only select vendors from your specific list. After your bill is input, just like we do with deposits, we have a second person verify the transaction information. The people who mail the checks (we still do that), also review the information, so your disbursement is reviewed by three different people.
How long does it take to process my disbursement request and pay my bill?
Our custom software is an extremely efficient system. Even with the verification of each transaction by a second person, disbursement requests are paid in about 2 days, assuming there are sufficient funds in your sub-account.
What happens if there isn’t enough money in my account to pay a bill?
We input every disbursement request –even if there are not funds in the sub-account to pay the bill. If there are enough funds, the bill is immediately available to be paid. When there aren’t enough funds, the bill is held in the system until you have the funds to pay it. These are “pending transactions”. As an example, if we get the bill and input it when there aren’t enough funds on Monday, the system holds it. At 1:00 AM on Wednesday if your electronic deposit is processed and credited to the account and it now has enough funds to pay the bill, your disbursement is released for payment and processed in the next check run.
What days do you send out checks?
Checks are processed every weekday, except for major holidays, and they are stuffed into envelopes and mailed so the bills go out into the mail as quickly as they can.
If you hold bills, can you hold a bill to pay it on a specific day?
No. We input disbursement requests as soon as we get them. If they are approved and there are enough funds, they get paid. We pay any bill that is in the system if there are enough funds and then in the order we received them. That means if we can pay a smaller bill –even if it came in later –we will pay it. You control the process by only sending in the bills you want paid.
I am concerned about the delay to mail the bill to CDR. Is there a way to make that happen faster?
You can fax or email your disbursements to us. You can also change your billing address with your creditors and have the bills come directly to CDR. If you have your creditors to send the bill directly to our office, the trust member’s name must be on the bill.
If the trust can pay bills at different places, will CDR set up accounts for me?
We do not set up accounts for you because weare not authorized to make transactions on your behalf. A guardian or Representative Payee might do this, but they are legally empowered to do this. CDR is not.
It is also very important to us that we support your right to control your life. Our trust has been designed to give you maximum control over the funds within the law. You determine where the funds should go using a Disbursement Form. You can request that CDR’s Pooled Trust pay specific bills, but CDR does not set up either corporate or personal accounts on your behalf. For example, the Pooled Trust may be used to pay your RG&E bill. The RG&E account is not set up by CDR for you. Instead, you set up your own account and forward the bills to CDR for payment.
Finally, CDR does not set up corporate accounts because we cannot assume liability for your transactions. CDR can make payments for you based on the funds you have available in the account, but we cannot be legally responsible for any debts you may incur. You can access the funds from the CDR Pooled Trust, however just like with a bank account you always need to set up your own arrangements with individual vendors.
I don’t have a bill for my rent. Can you pay that?
Yes. You submit your Disbursement/Withdrawal Form and a copy of your signed lease agreement which indicates that you (the beneficiary)is the tenant. We can set that up as a recurring bill which gets loaded into the system on the same day of every month for up to a year. If you have the funds, the bill gets paid.
What do I do if my rent or mortgage is due on the first of the month but I don’t get my money until later in the month?
The majority of members in the trust have us pay their rent or mortgage because it is a big recurring expense. Most agencies have no problem with receiving the rent a few days past the 1st because most social security checks arrive after the 1st of the month.
That said, we do not pay a bill when there are insufficient funds, so budgeting for the payment is still your responsibility. You probably do this already if you get your money later in the month. You just make sure to save enough money in your bank account to pay for the next month’s rent.
Some people are concerned that this is a hardship, but other trusts require the individual toleave a full month of deposits in the account all of the time. CDR allows you to have full access to your funds.
Can the trust pay a higher amount than what the bill is for?
No.The Trust can only pay up to the amount that the bill says you owe. We do this to ensure that there is not a possibility that for someone to go to the company and ask for a refund. This would result in having a higher allowable income for Medicaid than stated and could result in having to repay medical expenses covered by Medicaid that month.It could also endanger the trust and the other people who depend on it. We wouldn’t do that.
Will the trust pay any bill?
Almost. The trust can be used for almost anything that enhances your quality of life without impacting Medicaid orpublic benefits. You can pay your rent or mortgage, utilities such as electric, gas, heating oil, telephone, and cable or satellite service. The trust can be used for clothing, food, or obtaining additional personal care or services not covered by Medicaid provided there is a bill or invoice.
CDR’s Pooled Trust Sub-Committee will review and approve each withdrawal request on an individual basis. This Sub-Committee has absolute discretion to approve or deny withdrawal requests. Those are the government’s rules. Your Master Trust Agreement details the responsibilities and authority of the Trustee. We can work with you to figure out how you can avoid denials and best get your needs met while still working within the rules of the trust.
My mortgage is paid. Can I pay my property taxes with the trust?
Yes. The trust can be used to pay property taxes.
Can I use the trust account to go on vacation?
Yes. You can use the trust to pay for vacation expenses for the beneficiary, including hotel, food, transportation, airfare, admission to events, parks, etc. If it is medically necessary, you can even use the trust to pay for personal assistance services while on vacation if Medicaid will not pay for them. Our CEO loves to tell the story about signing a check to send an elderly disabled woman and her attendant to Las Vegas for the disabled woman’s vacation.
What can’t the trust pay for?
Your trust is designed to enhance the quality of your life and allows you to pay for things that Medicaid does not cover.Purchases for things that are not considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle, are illegal or don’t personally benefit the member cannot be paid for with funds from the trust. Expenses which cannot be approved from the trust include payment for the purchase of firearms, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. The trust also cannot pay legal fees related to illegal activities, restitution or bail. The trust also cannot pay for pre-existing credit card debt, fees associated with overdrawn bank accounts, debit card charges, or cash advances taken on credit cards.
Can I withdraw money from my account to use as cash?
No. Payments cannot be issued directly to you as the beneficiary. If we gave you cash that money would be counted as income for the purposes of qualifying for Medicaid and you would have to give it back to the Department of Social Services.
All payments must be made to third parties or vendors such as department stores, grocery stores or pharmacies. For example, if you wish topurchase a reclining lift chair for your home from a medical supply shop, we could pay the medical supply shop for you through your sub-account, using the invoice you provide with our Disbursement/Withdrawal Form.
Can I buy holiday gifts for my children or grandchildren or give a check to a family member as a gift from my trust account?
No. The trust can only be used for the benefit of the beneficiary. However, you can do whatever you want with the money that you keep to live on each month. Instead of using the trust to purchase holiday gifts, we would encourage you to pay allowable large monthly bills, like utilities, with the money available in the trust. Then you could use your own money to buy gifts. If you are concerned about having enough money during the holidays you could open a “Holiday Club” account with your bank or set aside money in your savings account to use for gifts for your family and friends.
Can the trust be used to buy gift cards for stores or restaurants?
No. Gift cards cannot bepurchased with trust funds. The trust can be used to pay for lay- away orders at department and grocery stores or pharmacies as long as the purchase is for the beneficiary’s use and it is not payable by Medicaid. Just keep in mind that although we will pay anything that’s allowable under the law, the trust most efficient when you use it to pay larger monthly expenses, due to the administrative costs associated with making more than four withdrawals in a single month.
Feel free to call us with questions when you are not sure if an expense would be payable.