The system puts a heavy burden on applicant to prove Medicaid eligibility

In A.T. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (unpublished non-precedential decision, Appellate Division of Superior Court, 2015, WL 7421647), a Medicaid application was denied for failure to provide requested verifications of assets. The applicant’s grandson (DT) was her Agent under Power of Attorney (“POA”), and his father ST was the alternate Agent. The application was initiated by one of them. Both ST and DT received a Verification Form from the County Board of Social Services on three separate occasions that asked fort a litany of additional information. The court sustained the denial, holding that failure to provide the documentation impeded the Board’s ability to determine whether certain assets were available to A.T. or not.

An application for Medicaid requires 5 years’ of financial records, including deeds, copies of cancelled checks, and sometimes even old receipts or credit card statements. Generally, an Agent under a Durable General Power of Attorney should have the authority to request and obtain all of the needed records from third parties even if those records are considered confidential under other laws. It’s a huge job and its a real pity when a qualified applicant gets turned down because some of the papers haven’t been produced. Although it can take 6 months or more before a complete application is actually reviewed in some counties, the minute the applicant or their agent receives the letter asking for better proofs, they need to jump on it because the agency typically provides a very short window of opportunity, like 10 days.  Then what happens is that the applications get denied if this deadline passes.

What if the applicant is incapacitated and has no agent under power of attorney and no legal guardian? Sometimes the party presenting the application is the nursing home, or is the next of kin who is authorized to file a Medicaid application under Medicaid law, but lacks legal authority under other law to actually demand copies of confidential records from banks etc. Not only are the assets inaccessible, but there may be no authority to get access to the historical records for purposes of the 5-year look-back. In a situation like that, the applicant’s representative needs to remind the agency that there is nothing accessible so the person is eligible for conditional benefits because the law requires that benefits be provided. The representative can then ask an attorney to file an appropriate type of legal suit to get authority for production of necessary records.

Call us for advice on Medicaid applications, appeals, guardianship and protective arrangements … 732-382-6070

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One thought on “The system puts a heavy burden on applicant to prove Medicaid eligibility

  1. Thank you for your informative blog. Perhaps you can answer a question.

    What are the maximum number of hours/week of Medicaid home carer can a person receive in New Jersey? Someone told me it is 20hours but I cannot find any documentation of this fact. Can you verify?

    Thanks

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