Justice Added-Up: Family of four counts on benefits

Our client is a 24 year-old mother, living with HIV. She has a 9 year-old child. When her mother died suddenly, she arranged for her two teen siblings to live with her. She reported her increased household size to the Department of Human Services (DHS) and applied for food stamps and Medicaid for her siblings.

Instead of everyone in the household becoming eligible, DHS terminated her and her child’s benefits.

She contacted us for help. We quickly determined that DHS had included her siblings’ Social Security survivor benefits in assessing the family income, but failed to count the increased number of household members. DHS was counting the income of four people, but applying the eligibility limit for two.

We filed an appeal and provided documentation that our client’s siblings were living with her. DHS redid their calculations and determined the whole family was eligible for benefits. With this support, our client is prepared to keep her family healthy, well-fed and together.