Articles Posted in Public Benefits

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Plaintiff was a registered sex offender when he was admitted to the state rental assistance program. Thereafter, the legislature promulgated section 17b-812-13(9) of the Regulations of Connecticut States Agencies, which makes sex offender registration a ground for termination or denial of rental program assistance. The Commissioner of Housing (Commissioner) subsequently terminated Plaintiff’s rental program benefits. Plaintiff took an administrative appeal of the Commissioner’s decision to the trial court, which concluded that the Commissioner’s application of section 17b-812-13(9) was not retroactive and therefore did not exceed the authority granted to the Commissioner by the legislature. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Commissioner applied section 17b-812-13(9) of the regulations retroactively in this case by imposing a new obligation on Plaintiff’s sex offender status that terminated his rental program assistance; and (2) such retroactive application of the regulation was not statutorily authorized, and therefore, the trial court erred in dismissing Plaintiff’s administrative appeal. View "Shannon v. Comm’r of Housing" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the beneficiary of a testamentary trust, entered a long-term care facility in 2012, at which time she applied for financial and medical assistance under Medicaid. The Department of Social Services denied the application for Medical benefits, finding that Plaintiff’s assets, including the trust, exceeded the relevant asset limits. A hearing officer upheld the department’s denial. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trust was not an asset available to her as defined by relevant Medicaid regulations. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s appeal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the testator intended to create a discretionary, supplemental needs trust and, therefore, the trust corpus and income may not be considered to be available to Plaintiff for the purpose of determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits. View "Pikula v. Dep’t of Social Servs." on Justia Law

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The named plaintiff in this putative class action and her daughter (together, Plaintiffs) were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Defendant, which administered the Medicaid program for the state and was the designated assignee of the Department of Social Services under Conn. Gen. Stat. 17b-265, paid for the medical care that Plaintiffs received as a result of their injuries. After Plaintiffs brought civil actions against the tortfeasors, Defendant, acting through its agent, sought to recover from Plaintiffs the amounts they recovered from the tortfeasors as reimbursement for the payments made by Defendant for Plaintiffs’ medical care. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment that section 17b-265 did not authorize Defendant to seek reimbursement from them but required Defendant to seek recovery directly from the liable third parties. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court did not err in concluding that section 17b-265 permitted Defendant to seek reimbursement from Plaintiffs and other similarly situated persons for amounts that they recover from liable third parities for medical costs. View "Rathbun v. Health Net of the Northeast, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s spouse (Spouse) applied to the Commissioner of Social Services (Department) for Medicaid benefits. After a review of the combined assets of both Spouse and Plaintiff, the Department concluded that Spouse was not eligible to receive Medicaid benefits. A hearing officer denied Plaintiff’s appeal, as did the superior court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly concluded that the Department did not act arbitrarily or abuse its discretion in finding that the Department applied the correct eligibility and availability of assets criteria when evaluating the application for Medicaid benefits submitted by Spouse. View "Palomba-Bourke v. Comm’r of Soc. Servs." on Justia Law