When Can You Expect to Hear Back About Your Medicaid Application?

Arkansas residents applying for Medicaid do so for one reason: they need help. Either they’ve fallen on hard times financially, or they’re contending with a disability, or they’re a single parent raising a family, the government’s Medicaid program offers assistance for medical needs and other long-term expenses. For those needing benefits now and not later, the question naturally arises, ‘how long until I’m determined to be eligible for Medicaid?’

Because both the federal and state government funds Medicaid, this answer changes from state to state. In Arkansas, an Arkansas Medicaid application may take three to six months for a final determination. This wait time may be longer or shorter depending on whether the application mentions any disabilities. The waiting period may also be extended if the applicant fails to provide proper documentation in their initial application.

Who Determines Your Eligibility for Medicaid in Arkansas?

The Department of Human Services (DHS) administers Arkansas’ Medicaid program. Once you have completed and signed your application, you will send your application and all accompanying documents to your local county’s DHS office.

The employees of this office will likely determine the applicant’s eligibility. However, special cases or heavy workloads may force the application to be sent elsewhere for determination.

What Are the Income and Asset Limits for Eligibility?

Arkansas Medicaid application has three different programs, each with its own eligibility criteria. Please note that if you are over age 65 or you have long-term disabilities, you may qualify for Medicare instead of Medicaid.

Medicaid eligibility for children is based on the size of the household. A one-person home has an income limit of $1,664 a month, a two-person household has a limit of $2,242, and so on.

The income limit is 147% of the federal poverty level. All income is typically counted towards this cap, from work wages to money from family and friends.

Medicaid income limits for adults aged 19-64 are also based on household size. A single-person’s household has an income limit of $1,562 a month, a two-person household is $2,105 a month, etc.

Certain assets may also count against eligibility if an excess of assets is available to a household or estate. Non-exempt assets include bank accounts, bonds, certain real estate, COVID-19 stimulus checks, investments, pensions, stocks, etc.

What Additional Factors May Influence Your Medicaid Eligibility?

Special considerations are given to parents, pregnant women, and those with disabilities like blindness. To learn more, contact an experienced lawyer to discuss Medicaid planning.

Those whose income is above the limit but who spend most of their income on medical expenses may qualify for the Medically Needy pathway to Medicaid eligibility. To qualify for short-term Medicaid assistance, they would use what’s called the Medicaid Spend-Down program, which requires re-enrollment every three months. The Medically Needy pathway to Medicaid eligibility is available for minors, adults over age 65, pregnant women, parents with children under age 18, and people with qualifying disabilities.

What Important Information is Required for a Successful Application?

In addition to filling out all the necessary forms, you should bring other documents to the DHS office during your Medicaid application in Arkansas.

Suggested documents and forms to include with your application include:

  • Birth certificate. It’s important to prove where you were born, your age, and your nationality.
  • Driver’s license. Much of the information provided by a birth certificate or a driver’s license might be the same, but having both on hand can only help your case.
  • Pay stubs. Bring all recent pay stubs for anyone currently employed and living in your household.
  • Proof of other income. If you have other sources of income, do not attempt to hide them. Include all proof of income on your application.
  • Proof of property ownership. Don’t hide property on your application. List everything that applies.
  • Social Security card. You may remember your number just fine, but you should include your card to prove your identity when you arrive at the DHS office.

If you are married, you may choose to file individually or as a couple. If you file jointly, we recommend you speak with an estate planning attorney first.

How Does Medicaid for ‘Long-Term Care’ Work?

Medicaid for Long-Term Care provides extra health care assistance to those with long-term disabilities or ailments. This may include in-home care, nursing home care, and other benefits not typically covered by regular Medicaid.

Long-Term Care is more difficult to qualify for, and it would be wise to consult with an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer before filing.

What’s Next for Medicaid in Arkansas?

As pandemic protections begin to expire, the Arkansas government is more focused on removing residents from the rolls than it is on adding new recipients. These redetermination letters are the first in three years and could lead to countless recipients losing their Medicaid coverage. Ultimately, however, while Arkansas is among the states leading the charge in this endeavor, the rest of the nation will soon follow suit and do much the same.

Approximately a third of Arkansas’ residents rely upon Medicaid for their healthcare. Under Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the state introduced new work requirements to the Medicaid program in an effort to limit ‘government dependency’ among its populace. With new requirements and a rush for redetermination, it may become more difficult to qualify or re-enroll in the Arkansas Medicaid program very soon..