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Issue Alert - 03-03-01

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Date:

Apr 01, 2003

Issue Summary:

Caretaker Relative Medicaid stays in place while lawsuits are pending

Persons Affected:

Parents or other caretakers who are receiving or applying for Medicaid


Background

Medicaid

What's Happening?

Effective April 2003, Family Independence Agency (FIA) policy tells caseworkers the following: "Do not consider Group 2 (spenddown)Caretaker Relative eligibility if the month being tested is after February 2003." This policy has been rescinded due to the lawsuits described below. The Center for Civil Justice filed two lawsuits to stop the elimination of Caretaker Relative Medicaid. The first, Markva v. Bowler, is in federal court. The Court there has told the state agencies that they need to figure out whether the caretaker relatives who received Group 2 Medicaid qualify for any other Medicaid category before these persons are cut off of Medicaid. The second case, McKuen v. Bowler, is in Gladwin Circuit Court. CCJ is arguing that the state's decision to eliminate Caretaker Relative Medicaid violates the state's welfare laws. CCJ believes that the state is allowed to cut certain types of services, but cannot totally eliminate the Caretaker Relative category of Medicaid. The Court there has told the state agencies that they cannot go forward with elimination of the category while the lawsuit is pending. This means that caseworkers should still be processing Caretaker Relative Medicaid applications after February 2003 despite what the manual says, unless the Court changes its order.

What Should Advocates Do?

The policy in PEM 135 has been rescinded while the court injunctions are pending. Caseworkers should have been notified through a "VDT" message. If you hear of a parent or caretaker who is not considered for Caretaker Relative Medicaid after March 1st, you should contact Jim Nye, Deputy Director for Services Delivery, at the Family Independence Agency at 517-373-3570. Clients should not be referred directly to this office. Jackie Doig at CCJ is lead counsel on the litigation and would like to hear from advocates if their clients are having problems with their Medicaid cases or applications. Please call or send her an email at jdoig@ccj-mi.org so she knows if you have brought a problem to Mr. Nye's attention.

What Should Clients Do?

Parents or caretakers who are not considered for Caretaker Relative Medicaid after March 1st should contact Jim Nye, Deputy Director for Services Delivery, at the Family Independence Agency at 517-373-3570.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan Legal Assistance Network website (http://www.mlan.net/locate.html) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738

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