V.S. was a legal resident of the U.S. and held a “green card” (Permanent Residence Card). Prior to V.S.’s admission to a skilled nursing facility, he had traveled outside of the U.S. and when he returned, Homeland Security confiscated his green card due to post-9/11 heightened security. The administrative proceeding to get his green card back was still pending when V.S. applied for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid benefits were therefore denied based on V.S.’s failure to provide verification of his legal status in the U.S.
Cona Elder Law challenged this decision and demonstrated that V.S.’s legal status as a permanent resident was unchanged despite his inability to produce a green card. The green card was eventually returned to the resident and a copy was provided to the Medicaid agency. However, the agency then argued that the applicant’s eligibility must coincide with the reinstatement date on his green card, thus denying him Medicaid benefits for over six months. Cona Elder Law successfully argued that, since his green card was never revoked and his legal status in the U.S. never changed, he was entitled to Medicaid benefits for the full length of his stay at the nursing facility. Cona Elder Law was able to prevail without the need to attend a Fair Hearing and the facility was reimbursed in full.