Update on the PETI Diverted to Pooled SNT’s (AI in CHCPE)
February 1, 2017
Dear CT NAELA Members:
It is with great enthusiasm that I report to you that DSS has agreed to place a moratorium on the calculation and collection of Applied Income for Waiver recipients contributing to Pooled Special Needs Trusts. Although it remains unknown how long this will last, (in part) due to our efforts, DSS has waived further collections for the immediate time and will reverse the changes made thus far.
As you are aware, with the new ImpaCT computer system roll-out, DSS had begun calculating Applied Income (AI) contribution requirements for all CHCPE recipients whose income exceeded $1,980/month (MNIL for family size/200% FPL), with minor deductions allowed for health insurance premiums and medical expenses not covered by Medicaid. New applicants were required to meet the requirements and it was expected that those already receiving services would have been required to implement the changes upon their recertification.
I contacted Dan Butler and others from DSS and expressed grave concern about DSS’ impending collection efforts. The Public Policy Committee of CT NAELA and I had been discussing alternatives to this “new” implementation by DSS. Some suggested alternatives included allowing for additional deductions, such as Home Maintenance Needs Allowances and Pooled Trust expenses; and approving the full cost of Assisted Living Facilities as medical deductions for AI calculations. Furthermore, through data supplied from PLAN of CT and other sources, our group was able to illustrate data projections indicating the money the State assumed they might save would be significantly less than the ultimate human and financial cost should they implement what was initially planned.
DSS agreed to meet to discuss these suggestions. I brought in a workgroup of staff representing various elder law populations throughout the state and invited them to join the meeting. The workgroup became Kerry Tedford-Coles from PLAN of CT, Kevin Brophy of CT Legal Services, Lisa Davis, Rebecca Hajosy, Matt Stillman and Steve Keogh of CT NAELA, Paula Boa-Sousa of the Elder Law Section, and myself. The workgroup members met with seven (7) members of DSS this past Friday, January 27, 2017 and came away feeling positive that our concerns had been heard.
On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, I received a telephone call and email from Marc Shok, lead counsel at DSS indicating, in pertinent part, the following:
“…I wanted to advise you that DSS will immediately implement a moratorium on the applied income change affecting waiver clients contributing income to pd4 trusts. We will also reverse any changes that we’ve already made to clients’ applied incomes. During this moratorium, DSS will review and assess budgetary implications and policy options…”.
We are pleased with this development, but know that our discussions and advocacy are not over. The current moratorium will allow further data collection, subsequent evaluations and additional reviews before any changes to the existing programs are implemented. Furthermore, we acknowledge DSS’ willingness to (1) meet with us, (2) delay their former plan modifications, and (3) consider our suggestions towards further changes.
Congratulations to the AI workgroup for their efforts. To date, our work has prevented what many predicted would cause forced institutionalization of many homecare clients. However, more work must be completed before we can claim overall “success”.
The workgroup, CT NAELA, and the Elder Law section of the CT Bar will continue to apprise you any new developments as they occur. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Law Offices of Amy E. Orlando, Esq.
515 Highland Avenue
Cheshire, CT 06410