PA 09-73—sSB 957

Human Services Committee

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ELIGIBILITY OF PERSONS LIVING IN RESIDENTIAL CARE HOMES FOR STATE SUPPLEMENT ASSISTANCE

SUMMARY: In general, individuals who transfer assets within 24 months before applying for State Supplement Program assistance are presumed to have done so to qualify for the program. Such transferors are generally ineligible for State Supplement for a period of time based on the value of the asset. But eligibility is not affected if the applicant can provide convincing evidence that the transfer was made for another reason.

This act adds a second exception by allowing transfers to “special needs trusts” by individuals who (1) are living in residential care homes (RCH) or New Horizons, Inc. (a facility for people with severe physical disabilities, located in Farmington) and (2) have available income that is above 300% of the maximum federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program benefit for an individual ($2,022 per month in 2009) and below the private rate that the RCH or New Horizons charges. By law, an individual whose gross income exceeds 300% of the SSI benefit (“excess income”) cannot qualify for State Supplement benefits. The act requires the social services commissioner to disregard excess income deposited into such trusts for purposes of State Supplement eligibility.

The act requires the trust to be funded solely with the individual's excess income. The trust must provide that, once the individual dies, the state will receive all amounts remaining in it after the Medicaid program is reimbursed for Medicaid-funded services the individual received, up to the amount of State Supplement provided. The type of trust someone may establish is the same that federal law allows for purposes of Medicaid eligibility (42 USC 1396p(d)(4)).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009

BACKGROUND

State Supplement

The State Supplement Program (SSP) provides cash assistance to aged, blind, and disabled individuals eligible for federal SSI benefits or who would be, but for excess income. To qualify, income cannot exceed 300% of the maximum SSI benefit, and assets are limited to $1,600 for a single person and $2,400 for a married couple.

The amount of the SSP benefit depends on the person's income and needs. Needs are based on the individual's living arrangement, with higher needs allowed for people residing in boarding homes (e. g. , residential care homes) than for those living alone in the community. The amount of benefits paid is the difference between need and net income (income after certain deductions are taken).

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