Robyn Crittenden, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services v. Lissia White

FIFTH DIVISION MCFADDEN, P. J., RAY and RICKMAN, JJ. NOTICE: Motions for reconsideration must be physically received in our clerk’s office within ten days of the date of decision to be deemed timely filed. June 8, 2018 In the Court of Appeals of Georgia A18A0457. CRITTENDEN et al. v. WHITE. MCFADDEN, Presiding Judge. This case involves a legal permanent resident’s application for Medicaid benefits. The commissioners of the Georgia Department of Human Services and the Georgia Department of Community Health appeal a superior court decision that Lissia White is entitled to the benefits. The agencies argue that the superior court erred by reversing the final agency decision that White, a British citizen, had to be a legal permanent resident for five years before she applied for Medicaid in order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits. White counters that federal law imposing a waiting period does not apply to her because she entered the United States before August 22, 1996 (the effective date of the legislation establishing the waiting period) has been continuously present in the United States since that time, and has obtained qualified alien status. We agree with White that the five-year waiting period does not apply to her. So we affirm the superior court. 1. Facts and procedural posture. The federal Medicaid program provides subsidies to the states to furnish medical assistance to “families with dependent children and of aged, blind, or disabled individuals, whose income and resources are insufficient to meet the costs of necessary medical services.” 42 USC § 1396-1. Although a state’s participation in the Medicaid program is voluntary, a state that elects to join must administer a state Medicaid plan that meets federal requirements. Ga. Dept. of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities v. United Cerebral Palsy of Ga., 298 Ga. 779, 779-80 (1) (a) (784 SE2d 781) (2016) (citations omitted). Appellant Georgia Department of Community Health is the state agency responsible for administering Georgia’s Medicaid program. See 42 CFR § 431.10; see also OCGA § 49-4-142. The Division of Family and Children Services of appellant Georgia Department of Human Services makes Medicaid eligibility determinations. See OCGA § 49-4-3 (b). See generally Cook v. Glover, 295 Ga. 495, 497 (761 SE2d 267) (2014). 2 White is a British citizen and a legal permanent resident of the United States. She entered the United States in 1991. Her immigration status at that time is not clear. In 1994, White was issued a conditional green card that expired in 1996. In 2014, White was issued another green card that expires March 27, 2024. In 2016, White applied for Medicaid benefits. A caseworker with the Division of Family and Children Services denied White’s application for benefits on the ground that she had not been a legal permanent resident of the United States for five years. In making this determination, the caseworker examined White’s British passport, which bore a stamp reading “Process for I-551 temporary evidence of lawful permanent residence,” as well as a stamp reading “NYC 12-13-94”; White’s ...

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