By, Jody Hudspeth, Paralegal for The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC
As an elder law paralegal, the most labor-intensive task I perform is preparing a Medicaid application. It’s a lot of work. When I get word that one of our clients has been approved for Medicaid, I do a happy dance around the office. However, not everyone has the money to hire an elder law attorney to file a Medicaid application. If your loved one meets the criteria for Medicaid eligibility, you may be able to prepare and submit the application without the help of an elder law attorney.
Here are some smart steps to take when preparing a Medicaid application:
If your loved one has mental capacity, make sure there is a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney in place. This document is vital for you to gain access to their financial records when you are filling out the Medicaid application and providing the supporting documentation required.
Make sure your loved one qualifies both medically and financially before you apply. You don’t want to go through all the work of compiling and submitting a Medicaid application if your loved one doesn’t qualify. Here’s a good article that outlines the eligibility requirements for Long-term Care Medicaid in Texas.
Get some guidance. You don’t have to go it alone. Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) has benefit counselors who can help you with your Medicaid application. This service is free of charge. Additionally, Sarah Roberts French Home has a free community outreach program on the fourth Thursday of every month. This workshop assists families with the Medicaid application process. Another free alternative is to ask the long-term care facility business office to help you fill out the Medicaid application.
Get organized—this is my biggest word to the wise. Along with the Medicaid Application, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) also requires that you submit supporting documentation. One of the most common reasons for Medicaid denial is failure to provide information. Don’t piecemeal the supporting documentation—submit all of the requested documentation with the application. Failure to provide complete supporting documentation most certainly guarantees a denial. If you don’t know where your loved one’s bank statements are, you’ll need to track them down.
Keep copies of everything you submit to Medicaid. I can’t stress this enough. HHSC processes a ton of Medicaid applications. Sometimes they lose stuff. Make a table of contents for your Medicaid application and supporting documentation and keep copies of everything you submit. You will be thankful you kept a copy when Medicaid comes back to you asking for information that you’ve already submitted. Yes, this frequently happens!
If you feel overwhelmed with the application process, or if you have experienced denial after denial to a submitted application, we can help. Give us a call at (210) 892-4555.