How about Nebraska? My husband and I are disabled and on Medicare. We applied for Medicaid once, and the letter we got in response was 10 kinds of strange. They had calculated every cent of the money coming in each month (Social Security & Disability) and said that we had to put it toward our medical debts before Medicaid would help. Every cent. What about groceries, heat and light, etc.? We were stunned. It made no sense. Who could afford to accept that?

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JD - it sounds like the letter you received is one sent as a blanket response to those applying for Medicaid long term care skilled nursing services. And for that Medicaid program (LTC SNF aka a nursing home) the requirements for eligibility are very VERY narrow, with basically all income going for the required co-pay or SOC (share of cost in Medicaid speak) and non-exempt assets within Medicaid limits (usually 3k for couples).

But that's not the type of program you & hubs are looking for....right?

You need to be applying for a "community" based program. "Community" in Medicaid speak means living or staying in the community. So like for those who have 1 spouse going into a NH but the other staying at home, the at home one is called the "community spouse". If you enroll into a PACE or other day program, it's more than likely to get paid from a "community" based waiver program.

I'd guess there was a snafu in application or application review.

For the states - who each administer Medicaid uniquely but under overall federal guidelines - Medicaid is a huge program. Often # 2 or #3 for state budgets. Medicaid is everything from grannie in a NH to SNAP (food stamps) to CHIP (kids health) to TANF (emergency assistance) to all sorts of local or regional day or weekly programs (like senior day centers or summer feeding sites for school kids).

I'd suggest you try a new application. BUT before go and meet/email with someone at your Area on Aging to get an idea of what's out there for your community so that you are applying for the right type of program. This site has a drop down on AOA. Or you can google AOA and your city or county. Every state has AOA, some states have 1 janourmous AOA, but most have your state into regional hubs. All AOA are within your Area Council of Governments, which are regional planning & pass-through bodies for $, grants, etc. it's your tax $ at work, so use them.
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Yes, each state has its own guidelines.

Even government bureaucracies do realize that people have living expenses in addition to medical needs. Does the letter you received say that your combined incomes exceed their guidelines?

Rather than your income, could it be that your assets exceed guideline for that? This would be things like life insurance, pension funds, IRAs, stocks, bonds, savings, property (other than your home and one car). If that exceeds their guidelines, then the "excess" must be spent on you before you will be eligible. You could go on a trip. You could put a new roof on your house. You could buy a wheelchair or a new wardrobe. And when your assets are spent down so the are under the guideline limit, then you could qualify for Medicaid. The money cannot be given away. It must be used for yourselves but it does not have to me used for medical needs.

Do you have a disability caseworker? If so, that person could perhaps help you understand the letter and refer you to someone who can help you become eligible.
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