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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 256B

Section 256B.056

Recent History

256B.056 Eligibility; residency; resources; income.

Subdivision 1. Residency. To be eligible for medical assistance, a person must reside in Minnesota, or, if absent from the state, be deemed to be a resident of Minnesota in accordance with the rules of the state agency.

Subd. 1a. Income and assets generally. Unless specifically required by state law or rule or federal law or regulation, the methodologies used in counting income and assets to determine eligibility for medical assistance for persons whose eligibility category is based on blindness, disability, or age of 65 or more years, the methodologies for the supplemental security income program shall be used. Increases in benefits under title II of the Social Security Act shall not be counted as income for purposes of this subdivision until July 1 of each year. Effective upon federal approval, for children eligible under section 256B.055, subdivision 12, or for home and community-based waiver services whose eligibility for medical assistance is determined without regard to parental income, child support payments, including any payments made by an obligor in satisfaction of or in addition to a temporary or permanent order for child support, and social security payments are not counted as income. For families and children, which includes all other eligibility categories, the methodologies under the state's AFDC plan in effect as of July 16, 1996, as required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), Public Law 104-193, shall be used, except that effective October 1, 2003, the earned income disregards and deductions are limited to those in subdivision 1c. For these purposes, a "methodology" does not include an asset or income standard, or accounting method, or method of determining effective dates.

Subd. 1b. Aged, blind, and disabled income methodology. The $20 general income disregard allowed under the supplemental security income program is included in the standard and shall not be allowed as a deduction from income for a person eligible under section 256B.055, subdivisions 7, 7a, and 12.

Subd. 1c. Families with children income methodology. (a)(1) Expired.

(2) For applications processed within one calendar month prior to July 1, 2003, eligibility shall be determined by applying the income standards and methodologies in effect prior to July 1, 2003, for any months in the six-month budget period before July 1, 2003, and the income standards and methodologies in effect on July 1, 2003, for any months in the six-month budget period on or after that date. The income standards for each month shall be added together and compared to the applicant's total countable income for the six-month budget period to determine eligibility.

(3) For children ages one through 18 whose eligibility is determined under section 256B.057, subdivision 2, the following deductions shall be applied to income counted toward the child's eligibility as allowed under the state's AFDC plan in effect as of July 16, 1996: $90 work expense, dependent care, and child support paid under court order. This clause is effective October 1, 2003.

(b) For families with children whose eligibility is determined using the standard specified in section 256B.056, subdivision 4, paragraph (c), 17 percent of countable earned income shall be disregarded for up to four months and the following deductions shall be applied to each individual's income counted toward eligibility as allowed under the state's AFDC plan in effect as of July 16, 1996: dependent care and child support paid under court order.

(c) If the four-month disregard in paragraph (b) has been applied to the wage earner's income for four months, the disregard shall not be applied again until the wage earner's income has not been considered in determining medical assistance eligibility for 12 consecutive months.

Subd. 2. Homestead; exclusion for institutionalized persons. The homestead shall be excluded for the first six calendar months of a person's stay in a long-term care facility and shall continue to be excluded for as long as the recipient can be reasonably expected to return to the homestead. For purposes of this subdivision, "reasonably expected to return to the homestead" means the recipient's attending physician has certified that the expectation is reasonable, and the recipient can show that the cost of care upon returning home will be met through medical assistance or other sources. The homestead shall continue to be excluded for persons residing in a long-term care facility if it is used as a primary residence by one of the following individuals:

(a) the spouse;

(b) a child under age 21;

(c) a child of any age who is blind or permanently and totally disabled as defined in the supplemental security income program;

(d) a sibling who has equity interest in the home and who resided in the home for at least one year immediately before the date of the person's admission to the facility; or

(e) a child of any age, or, subject to federal approval, a grandchild of any age, who resided in the home for at least two years immediately before the date of the person's admission to the facility, and who provided care to the person that permitted the person to reside at home rather than in an institution.

Subd. 3. Asset limitations for elderly and disabled individuals. To be eligible for medical assistance, a person must not individually own more than $3,000 in assets, or if a member of a household with two family members, husband and wife, or parent and child, the household must not own more than $6,000 in assets, plus $200 for each additional legal dependent. In addition to these maximum amounts, an eligible individual or family may accrue interest on these amounts, but they must be reduced to the maximum at the time of an eligibility redetermination. The accumulation of the clothing and personal needs allowance according to section 256B.35 must also be reduced to the maximum at the time of the eligibility redetermination. The value of assets that are not considered in determining eligibility for medical assistance is the value of those assets excluded under the supplemental security income program for aged, blind, and disabled persons, with the following exceptions:

(a) Household goods and personal effects are not considered.

(b) Capital and operating assets of a trade or business that the local agency determines are necessary to the person's ability to earn an income are not considered.

(c) Motor vehicles are excluded to the same extent excluded by the supplemental security income program.

(d) Assets designated as burial expenses are excluded to the same extent excluded by the supplemental security income program. Burial expenses funded by annuity contracts or life insurance policies must irrevocably designate the individual's estate as contingent beneficiary to the extent proceeds are not used for payment of selected burial expenses.

(e) Effective upon federal approval, for a person who no longer qualifies as an employed person with a disability due to loss of earnings, assets allowed while eligible for medical assistance under section 256B.057, subdivision 9, are not considered for 12 months, beginning with the first month of ineligibility as an employed person with a disability, to the extent that the person's total assets remain within the allowed limits of section 256B.057, subdivision 9, paragraph (b).

Subd. 3a. Repealed, 1992 c 513 art 7 s 135

Subd. 3b. Treatment of trusts. (a) A "medical assistance qualifying trust" is a revocable or irrevocable trust, or similar legal device, established on or before August 10, 1993, by a person or the person's spouse under the terms of which the person receives or could receive payments from the trust principal or income and the trustee has discretion in making payments to the person from the trust principal or income. Notwithstanding that definition, a medical assistance qualifying trust does not include: (1) a trust set up by will; (2) a trust set up before April 7, 1986, solely to benefit a person with mental retardation living in an intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation; or (3) a trust set up by a person with payments made by the Social Security Administration pursuant to the United States Supreme Court decision in Sullivan v. Zebley, 110 S. Ct. 885 (1990). The maximum amount of payments that a trustee of a medical assistance qualifying trust may make to a person under the terms of the trust is considered to be available assets to the person, without regard to whether the trustee actually makes the maximum payments to the person and without regard to the purpose for which the medical assistance qualifying trust was established.

(b) Trusts established after August 10, 1993, are treated according to section 13611(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA), Public Law 103-66.

Subd. 3c. Asset limitations for families and children. A household of two or more persons must not own more than $20,000 in total net assets, and a household of one person must not own more than $10,000 in total net assets. In addition to these maximum amounts, an eligible individual or family may accrue interest on these amounts, but they must be reduced to the maximum at the time of an eligibility redetermination. The value of assets that are not considered in determining eligibility for medical assistance for families and children is the value of those assets excluded under the AFDC state plan as of July 16, 1996, as required by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), Public Law 104-193, with the following exceptions:

(1) household goods and personal effects are not considered;

(2) capital and operating assets of a trade or business up to $200,000 are not considered;

(3) one motor vehicle is excluded for each person of legal driving age who is employed or seeking employment;

(4) one burial plot and all other burial expenses equal to the supplemental security income program asset limit are not considered for each individual;

(5) court-ordered settlements up to $10,000 are not considered;

(6) individual retirement accounts and funds are not considered; and

(7) assets owned by children are not considered.

Subd. 4. Income. (a) To be eligible for medical assistance, a person eligible under section 256B.055, subdivisions 7, 7a, and 12, may have income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Effective January 1, 2000, and each successive January, recipients of supplemental security income may have an income up to the supplemental security income standard in effect on that date.

(b) To be eligible for medical assistance, families and children may have an income up to 133-1/3 percent of the AFDC income standard in effect under the July 16, 1996, AFDC state plan. Effective July 1, 2000, the base AFDC standard in effect on July 16, 1996, shall be increased by three percent.

(c) Effective July 1, 2002, to be eligible for medical assistance, families and children may have an income up to 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for the family size.

(d) In computing income to determine eligibility of persons under paragraphs (a) to (c) who are not residents of long-term care facilities, the commissioner shall disregard increases in income as required by Public Law Numbers 94-566, section 503; 99-272; and 99-509. Veterans aid and attendance benefits and Veterans Administration unusual medical expense payments are considered income to the recipient.

Subd. 4a. Asset verification. For purposes of verification, the value of a life estate shall be considered not salable unless the owner of the remainder interest intends to purchase the life estate, or the owner of the life estate and the owner of the remainder sell the entire property.

Subd. 4b. Income verification. The local agency shall not require a monthly income verification form for a recipient who is a resident of a long-term care facility and who has monthly earned income of $80 or less. The commissioner or county agency shall use electronic verification as the primary method of income verification. If there is a discrepancy between reported income and electronically verified income, an individual may be required to submit additional verification.

Subd. 5. Excess income. A person who has excess income is eligible for medical assistance if the person has expenses for medical care that are more than the amount of the person's excess income, computed by deducting incurred medical expenses from the excess income to reduce the excess to the income standard specified in subdivision 5c. The person shall elect to have the medical expenses deducted at the beginning of a one-month budget period or at the beginning of a six-month budget period. The commissioner shall allow persons eligible for assistance on a one-month spenddown basis under this subdivision to elect to pay the monthly spenddown amount in advance of the month of eligibility to the state agency in order to maintain eligibility on a continuous basis. If the recipient does not pay the spenddown amount on or before the 20th of the month, the recipient is ineligible for this option for the following month. The local agency shall code the Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) to indicate that the recipient has elected this option. The state agency shall convey recipient eligibility information relative to the collection of the spenddown to providers through the Electronic Verification System (EVS). A recipient electing advance payment must pay the state agency the monthly spenddown amount on or before the 20th of the month in order to be eligible for this option in the following month.

Subd. 5a. Individuals on fixed or excluded income. Recipients of medical assistance who receive only fixed unearned or excluded income, when that income is excluded from consideration as income or unvarying in amount and timing of receipt throughout the year, shall report and verify their income annually.

Subd. 5b. Individuals with low income. Recipients of medical assistance not residing in a long-term care facility who have slightly fluctuating income which is below the medical assistance income limit shall report and verify their income on a semiannual basis.

Subd. 5c. Excess income standard. (a) The excess income standard for families with children is the standard specified in subdivision 4.

(b) The excess income standard for a person whose eligibility is based on blindness, disability, or age of 65 or more years is 70 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for the family size. Effective July 1, 2002, the excess income standard for this paragraph shall equal 75 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Subd. 6. Assignment of benefits. To be eligible for medical assistance a person must have applied or must agree to apply all proceeds received or receivable by the person or the person's legal representative from any third party liable for the costs of medical care. By accepting or receiving assistance, the person is deemed to have assigned the person's rights to medical support and third party payments as required by title 19 of the Social Security Act. Persons must cooperate with the state in establishing paternity and obtaining third party payments. By accepting medical assistance, a person assigns to the Department of Human Services all rights the person may have to medical support or payments for medical expenses from any other person or entity on their own or their dependent's behalf and agrees to cooperate with the state in establishing paternity and obtaining third party payments. Any rights or amounts so assigned shall be applied against the cost of medical care paid for under this chapter. Any assignment takes effect upon the determination that the applicant is eligible for medical assistance and up to three months prior to the date of application if the applicant is determined eligible for and receives medical assistance benefits. The application must contain a statement explaining this assignment. For the purposes of this section, "the Department of Human Services or the state" includes prepaid health plans under contract with the commissioner according to sections 256B.031, 256B.69, 256D.03, subdivision 4, paragraph (d), and 256L.12; children's mental health collaboratives under section 245.493; demonstration projects for persons with disabilities under section 256B.77; nursing facilities under the alternative payment demonstration project under section 256B.434; and the county-based purchasing entities under section 256B.692.

Subd. 7. Period of eligibility. Eligibility is available for the month of application and for three months prior to application if the person was eligible in those prior months. A redetermination of eligibility must occur every 12 months.

Subd. 8. Cooperation. To be eligible for medical assistance, applicants and recipients must cooperate with the state and local agency to identify potentially liable third-party payers and assist the state in obtaining third party payments, unless good cause for noncooperation is determined according to Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, part 433.147. "Cooperation" includes identifying any third party who may be liable for care and services provided under this chapter to the applicant, recipient, or any other family member for whom application is made and providing relevant information to assist the state in pursuing a potentially liable third party. Cooperation also includes providing information about a group health plan for which the person may be eligible and if the plan is determined cost-effective by the state agency and premiums are paid by the local agency or there is no cost to the recipient, they must enroll or remain enrolled with the group. For purposes of this subdivision, coverage provided by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association under chapter 62E shall not be considered group health plan coverage or cost-effective by the state and local agency. Cost-effective insurance premiums approved for payment by the state agency and paid by the local agency are eligible for reimbursement according to section 256B.19.

HIST: Ex1967 c 16 s 6; 1969 c 841 s 1; 1973 c 717 s 18; 1974 c 525 s 1,2; 1975 c 247 s 10; 1976 c 236 s 3; 1977 c 448 s 6; 1978 c 760 s 1; 1979 c 309 s 4; 1980 c 509 s 106; 1980 c 527 s 1; 1981 c 360 art 2 s 28; 1Sp1981 c 2 s 14; 3Sp1981 c 2 art 1 s 32; 3Sp1981 c 3 s 17; 1982 c 553 s 6; 1982 c 640 s 5; 1983 c 312 art 5 s 15; 1984 c 422 s 1; 1984 c 534 s 22; 1984 c 654 art 5 s 58; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1985 c 252 s 21; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 1 art 8 s 5; 1987 c 403 art 2 s 79,80; 1988 c 689 art 2 s 144,145,268; 1989 c 282 art 3 s 45-47; 1989 c 332 s 1; 1990 c 568 art 3 s 28-32; 1992 c 513 art 7 s 34-38; 1993 c 339 s 13; 1Sp1993 c 1 art 5 s 31; art 6 s 25; 1995 c 207 art 6 s 28,29; 1995 c 248 art 17 s 1-4; 1996 c 451 art 2 s 8,9; 1997 c 85 art 3 s 13-15; 1997 c 203 art 4 s 20,21; 1997 c 225 art 6 s 4; 1998 c 407 art 4 s 15,16; 1999 c 245 art 4 s 32; art 10 s 10; 2001 c 203 s 5,6; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 2 s 16-24; 2002 c 220 art 15 s 6; 2002 c 379 art 1 s 113; 1Sp2003 c 14 art 2 s 16; art 12 s 16-18