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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Medicaid / Lawsuit Alleges Florida Wrongly Denied Medicaid benefits to VA Pension Recipients

Lawsuit Alleges Florida Wrongly Denied Medicaid benefits to VA Pension Recipients

According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, thousands of VA pension recipients may have been wrongly removed from receiving Medicaid benefits in violation of a 1987 injunction. Attorneys have filed a class action suit seeking reinstatement of Medicaid benefits for those who have been wrongfully denied benefits, as well as damages for the state’s failure to provide Medicaid benefits in the past.

In 1987, Judge Sidney Aronovitz ordered the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) not to consider VA pension benefits as “countable income” for Medicaid eligibility purposes. When Florida’s appeal of this decision was denied, the injunction became settled law. However, according to lawyers now involved in the case, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), which now determines Medicaid eligibility, has violated the ruling by continuing to consider VA benefits for Medicaid eligibility purposes.

Because so much time has elapsed since the injunction was issued, the suit is a unique one. None of the suit’s primary parties are still living, and neither is the judge who issued the injunction. The state agency that was originally sued, HRS, no longer exists, but was broken into two different departments in 1996. The original plaintiff, Marilyn Jones, filed the suit in 1987 on behalf of a friend, Rebecca Mitson. Neither woman is still living. The named defendant, Gregory Coler, then the secretary of HRS, is also deceased.

As this case demonstrates, the laws behind Medicaid and VA benefits can be complicated and confusing. Lawsuits regarding these benefits can drag on for years, causing seniors to lose out on benefits that are vital for their care and financial well-being. It is important to educate yourself on these topics so that you will be aware if you are not receiving the benefits you deserve. Consulting with an experienced elder law attorney can allow you to determine which benefits you are eligible for and which benefits best fit your financial and long-term care needs.

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