We at ProbateSharks continue to have concerns about OBRA Special Needs Pooled Trusts. OBRA Trusts were created to allow people who have special needs to qualify for Medicaid by depositing their money into these trusts. The intention of these trusts was to preserve estates of disabled people by allowing them to qualify for public aid nursing homes while preserving their estate for their special needs.
Unfortunately, these trusts are being abused by certain guardians in Cook County. Elderly disabled people with large estates are being targeted for guardianships through unscrupulous methods including: Illegal removal of Powers of Attorney, deceit of the elderly by owners of guardianship companies, and inaccurate medical reports being submitted into court records to make the elderly appear to be disabled with dementia. Once the rich elderly disabled person becomes a ward of the court, the unscrupulous guardians place the wards’ estates into OBRA trusts, place the ward into for-profit Medicaid-funded nursing homes, and then deplete the estate through guardian fees, care management fees, and attorneys fees.
In other words, OBRA Trusts are being used by some to financially exploit the elderly disabled while profits are obtained for the guardians, attorneys, case managers, and for-profit nursing home owners. This is being done at the expense of the wards, and the taxpayers in the state of Illinois.
In June of this year, Governor Quinn signed Senate bill 2840, which became Public Act 97-0689.It is called the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act. Its impact is anything but friendly to Illinois seniors, especiallly those who are wards of the 18th floor of the Daley Center.
Unlike the January 1st rules changes, which were driven by federal laws, these new rules changes are almost entirely due to the well-known Illinois budget problems. The new law cuts $1.6 billion from the Medicaid budget, primarily by modifying eligibility requirements and benefits.
The biggest change made by SMART is the elimination of Pooled Payback trusts (also called OBRA d(4)(c) special needs trusts) in Medicaid planning for those over the age of 65, UNLESS THEY ARE WARDS OF THE STATE OR PUBLIC GUARDIAN!!!
Full Article and Source:
OBRA SPECIAL NEEDS POOLED TRUSTS and IL State Senate Bill 2840