Personal tools

Issue Alert - 06-04-11

Document Actions

Apr 27, 2006

Program Area:


Issue Summary:

All native born and naturalized US Citizens who apply or are recertified for Medicaid must provide documentation of their citizenship

Persons Affected:

All Native born and naturalized U.S. citizens applying or recertifying for Medicaid.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice
320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor
Saginaw, MI 48607
(989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558


Currently all Medicaid applicants who are U.S. Citizens only have to self-report their citizenship to be considered for Medicaid.


In February 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act, which contains new requirements for US Citizens applying for Medicaid.



What's Happening?

Beginning July 1st, 2006, all native born and naturalized U.S. citizens must provide proof of citizenship in order to be considered for Medicaid.  This applies to both new and recertifying Medicaid cases.  Non-residents already have to provide proof of eligible non-citizenship.  The only documents that will be considered are birth certificates, passports, and other documents determined by the Secretary of HHS which shows proof of citizenship.


Types of documents that will NOT be accepted as a verification of citizenship include: Driver’s license, Social Security cards, and school records.


Currently there are no exceptions written in the law for mental illness, victims of natural disasters (such as hurricane Katrina), or for those who did not have a birth certificate filed – mostly African-Americans born before 1940 and individuals in rural areas.  The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS), which administers the Medicaid program, still has to issue guidance regarding this new provision.  Check back to this website for updates regarding this issue as HHS and Michigan's Department of Community Health issue policy and guidance regarding this new requirment.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should urge any client that has a birth certificate, but doesn’t have a copy of it to get a copy of it as soon as possible before the July 1, 2006 provision goes into effect. In many states, obtaining a birth certificate can take several months. The wait is expected to get longer, the implemenation date gets closer.

Once guidelines are issued from HHS, there will be another Issue Alert informing advocates on how to advise the clients that do not have a birth certificate of what to do.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients that have a birth certificate, but just don’t have a copy of it should get a copy of it as soon as possible before the July 1, 2006 provision goes into effect. Clients who do not have a birth certificate should monitor the MPLP website or keep checking with other Advocates for further updates. If you have further questions, seek legal advice.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee.

You can locate various sources of legal and related services, including the free legal aid office that serves your county, at

You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.