In light of the COVID-19 closing of non-essential workplaces and the reduction of staff members in essential ones, the New York State Department of Health has adjusted the requirements for Medicaid applications and assessments during this time.
For those applying for Medicaid for the first time, the major difference to note is that you will not be required to prove all eligibility requirements in writing, you will be able to self-attest. Note that documentation of citizenship and immigrant status will still be required as usual, although additional time will be provided to do so. If the caseworker reviewing an application has a question about a requirement of eligibility, they have been directed to contact the applicant, or their representative, three times by phone to verify the missing information. If they do not reach anyone through these attempts, they will send a letter with a reply date of no less than 10 days.
An important note of caution, applicants and their representatives should take care to accurately attest to eligibility requirements as the Department of Social Services always has the right to recover against those that received services from the Medicaid program during a period in which they were not eligible.
Beyond the financial requirements, new procedures are being used during this time regarding the assessment of those seeking home care through the community Medicaid program. Nursing assessments usually conducted in-person by a Registered Nurse from the Managed Long Term Care Plan are now being done over the phone. Certain information required from the applicant’s physician is being accepted by phone as well.
Provisions have also been made for current Medicaid recipients. For example, the strict requirements for an annual recertification have been lifted during this pandemic. However, it is important that you consider whether processing a recertification application makes sense in your personal circumstance, as there are situations in which you could benefit from a re-budgeting of your case for income purposes.
Our firm is staying on top of the changes to Medicaid eligibility requirements and procedures being made by the State and Counties. We will continue to provide updates in that regard.
- Britt Burner, Esq. and Nancy Burner, Esq.