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Westchester Elder Law Attorney Anthony J. Enea Sheds Light on Pooled Community Trusts for Medicaid Home Care

Westchester County, N.Y. (July 29, 2019) – For many disabled seniors in New York, a pooled community trust is critical in allowing them to continue to retain their monthly income while residing at home and receiving Medicaid home care. Westchester County elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea, member at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP in White Plains and Somers, N.Y., urges those aging in place with a disability to consider a pooled trust, which is often utilized to prevent the spend down of income by Medicaid home care recipients.

“A special needs trust (SNT) allows a person with a disability to continue receiving government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, irrespective of the dollar value of assets and income held by the SNT,” said Anthony Enea, who has spent 35 years protecting the rights of seniors, the disabled and their families. “Its purpose is to supplement the benefits paid by the government to help improve the quality of the life of the person with the disability.”

Unlike other forms of special needs trusts, the pooled community trust has no age limitation or payback requirement to the government (such as a self-settled SNT). However, any funds held in the pooled trust at the time of the beneficiary’s passing remain in the pooled trust and may not be paid to the beneficiary’s estate or family. As such, Enea recommends using the funds deposited to the pooled trust on a monthly basis.

“A pooled community trust is established and managed by a not-for-profit association that acts as the trustee of the trust; a trust company must also act as a co-trustee,” explained Enea. “Since a pooled trust can have numerous beneficiaries, a separate sub-account is created and maintained for the sole benefit of each disabled beneficiary.”

Any person with a disability, regardless of age, can establish and fund a pooled community trust. The most frequent utilization of a pooled trust occurs when an applicant for Medicaid home care has income in excess of the amount permitted by Medicaid.

“In 2019, a Medicaid applicant is permitted a monthly income of $879,” noted Enea. “If he or she has income of $2,000 per month, for example, the excess of $1,121 is paid to Medicaid assuming the applicant does not enroll in a pooled community trust or has monthly medical expenses in the amount of the surplus.”

Once enrolled in a pooled community trust, the surplus income (less the monthly administrative fee paid to the not-for-profit) can be used to pay for the disabled person’s living expenses.

Enea continued, “There are currently over 20 not-for-profit organizations in New York that offer pooled trusts. The assistance of an experienced elder law attorney in selecting a suitable pooled trust not-for-profit and enrolling in a pooled trust can be invaluable.”

A strong leader in Westchester’s legal community, Anthony J. Enea is chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Section and president of the Westchester County Bar Foundation. He was named Westchester County’s Leading Elder Care Attorney at the Above the Bar Awards and Best Lawyers’ 2019 Trusts & Estates “Lawyer of the Year” in White Plains. A past chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section, Enea’s practice areas include elder law; Medicaid asset protection trusts; Medicaid applications (home care and nursing home); special needs planning; guardianships (Article 81 and 17-A); and wills, trusts and estates.

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is located at 245 Main Street in White Plains, N.Y. with additional offices in Somers, N.Y. Elder law attorney Anthony J. Enea can be reached at 914-948-1500 or [email protected]. For the latest news, visit Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano online at www.esslawfirm.com.

About Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP is an AV preeminent rated elder law firm with offices in White Plains and Somers, N.Y. The practice concentrates on Elder Law; Medicaid Planning; Nursing Home and Home Care Applications; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Guardianships; Estate Litigation; Supplemental Needs Trusts; and Special Needs Planning. Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP serves Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Queens and is committed to providing the highest quality legal services to seniors, the disabled and their families. Visit the firm online at www.esslawfirm.com.