Understanding Medicaid Home and Community Services: A Primer, 2010 Edition. Zebley Kids

10/29/2010

The welfare reform legislation of 1996 made it more difficult for children to qualify as disabled SSI beneficiaries by changing the definition of disability for children. The major impact of this change was on children with mental disorders. In 1997, a new Federal requirement was enacted protecting Medicaid eligibility for former child beneficiaries of SSI who lost it due to this definitional change. This protection is retroactive to the original SSI change in 1996. However, it cannot produce actual eligibility changes unless both state and family follow through and take all necessary administrative steps to get the child enrolled specifically in the state’s Medicaid program. It is important to note that children who apply for SSI for the first time and are found ineligible might still qualify for Medicaid or for their state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, based on the family’s income.

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