Justice Expedited: A quick restoration of benefits

Our 64-year old client is illiterate, has an anxiety disorder and is living with HIV.

His monthly Social Security disability check is his sole source of income. When it didn’t arrive, he took all his mail to his case manager, who quickly determined that his disability benefits and Medicaid were terminated because he failed to complete paperwork.

The client and case manager called us for help. The 10-day appeal deadline – which would have allowed the client to keep benefits while appealing the case – had already passed.

A hearing to restore his Medicaid would take approximately 6 weeks to 3 months to schedule, while a hearing to restore his Social Security disability benefits could take a year or longer.

To ensure that he has quick access to Medicaid, we immediately called the County Assistance Office explaining to the caseworker and everyone up the supervisory chain that the law required them to evaluate him for eligibility in other Medicaid categories before terminating his benefits. Within 24 hours, his Medicaid was restored.

We also filed a good cause appeal to have his Social Security benefits continued, which was granted a week later.