A new case came out a couple of days ago – E.B. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services. The case was brought by some residents of a long-term care facility, and the facility itself, because the local Board of Social Services refused to process applications or Fair Hearing (first-level appeal) requests for those that had not filled out their MDAR (Medicaid Designation of Authorized Representative) forms. The Court ultimately decided that it was not improper to use the forms, although for these particular clients they were given another chance to get their paperwork in order to process their Medicaid applications. It’s a strange case with strange facts.
Of course, a lot of Appellate Division cases are. But what does this mean to you or someone else applying for Medicaid benefits? If you are not the applicant him or herself, you need to fill out one of these forms or have it filled out for your signature. I have personally known Boards of Social Services to not return my phone calls or letters until the form was sent in. It is extremely important that you have one of these forms filled out for whatever county your Medicaid application is pending, and that your lawyer make sure you do one for him/her as well.
To emphasize, this is not something I noticed just in Mercer or Burlington County. Applications I’ve processed in Mercer, Atlantic, and Bergen Counties have met with some resistance without this form. It has been in use since 2011, and so some attorneys who don’t do a lot of applications might get tripped up. I say it a lot, but this is all I do and I’m proud of that, so if you have a question I’m going to know the answer (or at least where to look).
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You point out some of the reasons its so imprntaot for seniors to talk with a qualified elder law attorney when the begin to plan for their long term care needs. I was meeting with a client today who had worked with a general practice attorney and an annuity salesman on transferring some of mom’s assets. We should be able to undo the damage, but the family would have been much better off working with a NAELA attorney from the start.