When an application for Medicaid benefits is filed with a County Board of Social Services in New Jersey, it may be many months before the applicant hears back from the caseworker who is processing the application. If the applicant is in a nursing home or is suffering with Alzheimers Disease or other dementias it is crucial that they have a representative such as a family member, agent under power of attorney, or lawyer, who can keep in touch with the agency, provide an accessible mailing address, and send the updated financial records while the eligibility determination is in process and the application is pending. Should there come a time that the agency denies eligibility, it is required to serve the applicant with Notice of a Denial of Benefits. Notice is required in order to preserve the applicant’s constitutional Due Process Rights to appeal a deprivation of Medicaid benefits. The first appeal is called a Request for Fair Hearing, which takes place at the NJ Office of Administrative Law before an Administrative Law Judge.
Once the Notice has been served, the applicant has just twenty (20) days to request their Fair Hearing. N.J.A.C. 10:40-3(a). If there are “extraordinary and extenuating circumstances,” the applicant can request an extension. One of those circumstances could be that the applicant simply never received any Notice of the Denial. In a recent unpublished (non-precedential) decision of the NJ Superior Court Appellate Division called Reuter v Burlington County Board of Social Services and DMAHS, docket no. A-0514-13T2, that is what occurred. The applicant filed a late request for hearing on the 147th day and the request for extension was denied. Since the Agency had no proof that it had actually served Notice of Denial, the refusal of an extension was reversed and the case was remanded for further fact-finding.
A-0514-13T2 GRETA REUTER VS. BURLINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF SOCIAL SERVICES, ET AL. (DIVISION OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AND HEALTH SERVICES, FAIR HEARING UNIT)
For representation on Medicaid application denials and fair hearings, call 732-382-6070