This week I’m sharing a blog on Medicaid from Dave Zumpano, who focuses in Medicaid planning. I’ll be sharing Medicaid blogs from Dave Zumpano monthly in this space.
Now, here’s Dave’s blog:
Blog Author: David J. Zumpano, Esq, CPA, Co-founder Lawyers With Purpose, Founder and Senior Partner of Estate Planning Law Center
Many practitioners inquire whether the Social Security actuarial tables or the IRS minimum distribution tables should be used when determining the required minimum distribution (RMD) of an IRA to ensure their client qualifies for Medicaid. So what is the proper tables to use?
In typical lawyer fashion, the answer is, it depends. 42 USC Section 1396(b)(c)(1)(G)(ii) provides for annuity to be actuarial sound, and not considered an uncompensated transfer, the annuity must pay out over the life expectancy of the annuitant “in accordance with the actuarial publications of the Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration.” The same is true when determining the proper payout on a promissory note or mortgage as outlined in 42 USD 1396p (c)(1)(I). How does this differ from the required minimum distribution tables published by the Internal revenue service and what is the relevance?
Sections 401, 403, and 408 of the Internal Revenue code outlines requirements regarding retirement accounts. Upon attaining age 70½ required minimum distributions are required under the tax laws is based on the RMD tables published. In comparison, the Social Security tables are very different, and in some circumstances the IRS tables require nearly half the RMD that the Social Security life expectancy tables require. So how do you be certain which one you use?
To keep it simple, to remain compliant with the tax laws, the IRS tables must be utilized in determining the required minimum distribution to avoid any adverse tax penalties for failing to withdraw the minimum amount required. Medicaid and benefits planning, however has a different standard is that the Medicaid law specifically refers to the Social Security Administration table in determining the actuarially sound calculation of any annuity owned by a Medicaid applicant.
So the proper table to use will depend not on the law, but on which table your Medicaid department uses. While the law is clear that it requires the Social Security tables, many states allow the IRS RMD tables and some states even exempt an annuity if the IRA is simply in a “payout status. Once you are clear on how your state identifies an “actuarially sound” annuity or promissory note, you will have your answer. So, one final responsibility is to ensure when the Social Security tables are used, the amount required to be withdrawn is equal to or more than the minimum amount required by the IRS RMD tables. That ensures a client’s benefits’ planning is also tax compliant. Conversely, if a client is not doing benefits planning, then relying on the IRS RMD tables may result in a lower minimum distribution requirement.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555