In the previous section of our 10 part series, we talked about preparing and filing the Medicaid application. Once that application is filed, a new challenge will present itself.
One or two months after the submission of the application to the Department of Human Services, the approved representative for the Medicaid applicant will receive a call from either the DHS caseworker or the caseworker for the Office of the Inspector General, depending on where the application is being audited. The approved representative will then be asked to submit additional documentation that the caseworker feels is necessary to complete the application.
Oftentimes the data requested is in the initial submissions in the application, but quite often the caseworker will ask for something new in the way of an explanation regarding something related to receipts, expenditures, asset liquidation, or other unexplained transactions.
It is extremely important that you comply with the requests made by the caseworker. The caseworker is allowed to give extensions of time of a limited amount in order to allow the approved representative to satisfy the request for additional documentation.
If you do not submit the requested documentation in the appropriate time allowed by the caseworker, it is very likely that the caseworker will deny the application, and then your only alternative is to appeal the application and try to win on appeal. Appeal is very costly and unnecessary when all the documentation is readily available to be submitted.
If the requested documentation is unavailable and is in the possession of a third party, there is an administrative law that indicates that the state has the ability to request the information from the third party, if the Medicaid applicant or their approved representative is unsuccessful in requesting this information from the third party. Nevertheless, with the substantial caseloads that the caseworkers have, it is not very often that they will make the request of the third party, rather they will continue to rely on the Medicaid applicant or their approved representative to obtain that documentation.
Like every other step we discussed in this 10-part series, Medicaid applications for long-term care are the most important governmental benefit that many seniors will rely on. Notwithstanding the importance of this benefit, the process of planning for the benefit and the preparation of the application itself requires a special skill that some Elder Law attorneys have. To think that individuals themselves or representatives of hospitals or nursing facilities can handle complex Medicaid applications is a misjudgment.
Start preparing for your long-term care at about age 55. Hopefully no application will be necessary at that time, but at least you can start the process of planning for the day when you may need to rely on the Medicaid benefit for long-term care services. The earlier you start, the more you are prepared and the more successful you will be in obtaining this very valuable benefit that saves many families the monthly nursing home cost of $7,000 to $10,000 per month.
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