Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. represents individuals in legal matters relating to public benefits. CLASI advocates represent clients concerning the following types of public benefits:

  • Social Security/SSI;
  • Food Stamps;
  • Medicare/Medicaid;
  • TANF (formerly known as Welfare);
  • General Assistance.

In matters related to Food Stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, TANF and General Assistance CLASI represents clients that are denied these upon application for assistance as well as clients whose assistance has been terminated. In addition, we represent clients enrolled in TANF in instances where DSS has imposed sanctions upon the client.

In SSI cases, we represent clients whose benefits have been terminated. We do not represent people who are turned down after their initial application for SSI benefits. We ask that clients apply for “reconsideration” of the initial decision. If a client is turned down after the Reconsideration Stage, we may represent the client on an appeal to an Administrative Law Judge if the client’s case has merit.

We hope that the information provided below is useful to you. However, when confronted with a legal problem it is always wise to consult with an attorney. The information provided below is not intended nor should it be used as a substitute.

Disclaimer

Welfare Survival Guide

This information is being updated and will be available shortly.

Public Benefits Topics

Medicaid Eligibility for Long-Term Care (Assets)

(Note: The Elder Law Program does not do Medicaid planning. This bulletin is for informational purposes only.)

When you apply for Medicaid coverage for long-term care, the Medicaid office will take a “snapshot” of your assets. If you are married, the snapshot will include your spouse’s assets, even though your spouse plans to remain in the community.

The Medicaid office will generally split the couple’s assets in half and assign one-half to the institutionalized spouse, and the other half to the spouse remaining in the community. However, there is a minimum amount (currently $25,000) and a maximum amount (currently $80,760) that can be assigned to the community spouse. The best way to illustrate this is by example:

EXAMPLE #1: If the couple has combined assets of $100,000, then $50,000 will be assigned to the community spouse, and the other $50,000 will be assigned to the institutionalized spouse.

EXAMPLE #2: If the couple has combined assets of $30,000, then $25,000 (the minimum) will be assigned to the community spouse, and the remaining $5,000 will be assigned to the institutionalized spouse.

EXAMPLE #3: If the couple has combined assets of $180,760, then $80,760 (the maximum) will be assigned to the community spouse and the remaining $100,000 will be assigned to the institutionalized spouse.

Assets over $2,000 assigned to the institutionalized spouse must be “spent down” before the spouse will be Medicaid eligible.

Other rules pertaining to Medicaid eligibility for long-term care will be covered in future editions of the Help From ELP bulletin.

Medicaid Eligibility for Long-Term Care (Income)

(Note: The Elder Law Program does not do Medicaid planning. This bulletin is for informational purposes only.)

Previous editions of the Help From ELP bulletin addressed the way in which the Medicaid office evaluates a couple’s assets for purposes of a Medicaid application. There are also rules about income.

The Medicaid office looks at each spouse’s income. The community spouse is entitled to receive a minimum amount (currently $1,383), even if that means that some of the income from the institutionalized spouse must be assigned to the community spouse. This amount is called the “Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance” (“MMNA”). The community spouse may receive up to $2,019 for the MMNA, if she is continuing to live in the family home and her living expenses exceed 30% of the MMNA.

The income cut-off for Medicaid eligibility is currently $1,270. If the institutionalized spouse has income over this amount that is not assigned to the community spouse, he may not be eligible for Medicaid. However, he should speak with an attorney regarding the creation of a “Miller Trust.” A Miller Trust may allow a Medicaid applicant to reduce his income so as to meet the Medicaid income eligibility requirements. (Note: The Elder Law Program does not create Miller Trusts.)

Affordable Health Care

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), is intended to expand health care coverage to all Americans. Visit Delaware’s ACA website to learn more about the requirements of this law, and to help find an affordable health insurance plan.

Delaware Health and Social Services
The Delaware agency that administers the majority of the public benefits, health and social programs for the State.

Delaware Department of Labor
The Delaware Department of Labor connects people to jobs, resources, monetary benefits, workplace protections and labor market information.

Food Bank of Delaware
The Food Bank of Delaware is a non-profit agency distributing food to the hungry people in our community through almost 200 member agencies. It is the only facility in Delaware with the equipment, warehouse, and staff to collect donations from all sectors of the food industry and safely and efficiently redistribute it to those who need it most.

National Center for Law and Economic Justice
The Welfare Law Center works with and on behalf of low-income people to ensure that adequate income support — public funding provided on the basis of need — is available whenever and to the extent necessary to meet basic needs and foster healthy human and family development.

Child Welfare League of America
The Child Welfare League of America is the nation’s oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. It is committed to engaging people everywhere in promoting the well-being of children, youth, and their families, and protecting every child from harm. The CWLA envisions a future in which families, neighborhoods, communities, organizations, and governments ensure that all children and youth are provided with the resources they need to grow into healthy, contributing members of society.

Coalition on Human Needs
An alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies which address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations.

The Food Research and Action Center
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is a leading national organization working to improve public policies to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Founded in 1970 as a public interest law firm, FRAC is a nonprofit and nonpartisan research and public policy center that serves as the hub of an anti-hunger network of thousands of individuals and agencies across the country.

National Health Law Program
The National Health Law Program is a national public interest law firm that seeks to improve health care for America’s working and unemployed poor, minorities, the elderly and people with disabilities. NHeLP serves legal services programs, community-based organizations, the private bar, providers and individuals who work to preserve a health care safety net for the millions of uninsured or underinsured low-income people.

Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization which provides education, advocacy, and legal assistance to help elders and people with disabilities obtain necessary healthcare. It focuses on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in education, training and litigation activities of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.

National Women’s Health Information Center
A service of the Office on Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, the NWHIC provides a gateway to the vast array of Federal and other women’s health information resources.

Medicare
The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare information.

The Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

Healthfinder
A free guide to health information on the internet provided as a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.