Public Benefits

Public Benefits

Some public benefits like Social Security Retirement Income and Medicare are simply automatic when you reach a certain age. Other public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are based on eligibility requirements such as financial need and disability. The eligibility requirements are quite complex as are the protections of community spouses, adult disabled children and caregiver children. Sometimes legal documents are needed to ensure an applicant’s eligibility. With valuable benefits and your peace of mind at stake, it’s best to trust experienced attorneys to determine your eligibility.

Medicaid Eligibility

Medicaid Application Completion

Dutton & Casey, P.C. has over 60 years of combined experience in filing Medicaid applications for its clients. We tailor our asset protection strategies to your specific situation, keeping in mind the preservation of your family’s assets, the prevention of spousal impoverishment, and how to best approach each of these circumstances in order to complete a Medicaid application that has the best chance of success. Our Medicaid application services include:

  • advice regarding the components of a successful application
  • assistance in gathering materials and preparing them for filing
  • interaction and advocacy with the Department of Human Services (the agency that administers the Medicaid program in Illinois)

We will prepare and file the application materials and forms, monitor the application’s progress through the system, and will work with the assigned caseworkers in any capacity necessary – such as responding to questions, faxing materials and regularly checking on the application status, as well as advocating the most advantageous position and policy interpretations for our clients.

Medicaid Appeals

Dutton & Casey, P.C. has handled many appeals and has extensive experience in this process . We are often retained by client’s whose applications have been denied to file an appeal and follow through until the application is approved. Often, there is misunderstanding between the caseworker and the applicant as to issues, deadlines, and what information is required, which can result in application denials. Caseworkers often make mistakes and misinterpret policy, which can also result in denials of applications.

Dutton & Casey Appeal Services include:

  • filing the appeal
  • working with the client to prepare a defense or advise as to the missing materials that caused the denial;
  • pre-appeal meetings with appeals caseworkers
  • representation at a hearing if one is required.

When interpretation of policy is at issue, we work directly with the Springfield Policy Office of IDHS to obtain policy clarifications for caseworkers.

Supplemental Security Income

Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security was enacted in 1935 to provide some relief to America’s destitute older citizens during the economic cataclysm known as the Great Depression. A direct descendant of that more limited effort, today’s Social Security program is in fact a group of related programs, each with its own eligibility and payment rules: retirement, disability, survivors and dependents benefits.

The best known of these programs is retirement, known formally as Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). Under this program, Social Security provides income to retirees, as well as benefits to a worker’s surviving spouse and to a retired worker’s children under age 18. As of September 2000, the program was issuing benefits to some 32 million retired workers and their dependents, as well as to nearly 7 million survivors of deceased workers.

Social Security benefits are financed primarily through dedicated payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. Employees and employers split the 15.30 percent payroll tax equally, with employers paying 7.65 percent of an employee’s income, and the employee kicking in the same. Self-employed individuals pay the entire 15.30 percent payroll tax.

For most retired workers and their dependents, however, Social Security retirement benefits alone are not enough for them to maintain the standard of living they had before retirement.

Veteran’s Benefits

Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition, their dependents and survivors may also be eligible for benefits. For more information about all the benefits available from the VA, see the VA booklet Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors.

Medical Care
The VA provides health care benefits to veterans. The plan covers a number of health care services, including preventative services, diagnostic and treatment services, and hospitalization. It may also cover nursing home and other long-term care options.

Who is Eligible?
To receive care, most veterans must be enrolled in the VA health system. Eligibility for the health system depends on a number of factors, including the nature of your discharge from military service, your length of service, whether you have service-connected disabilities, your income level, and available VA resources, among others. To be eligible, you must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military. Your length of service may also be important. Former enlisted persons who started active duty before September 8, 1980, and former officers who first entered active duty before October 17, 1981, do not have a length-of-service requirement. Otherwise you must have 24 months of continuous active duty military service, though there are several exceptions for reservists, national guard members, service-connected disabilities, and hardship discharges, among others.

  • Certain veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health system to receive benefits if: you are 50 percent or more disabled from a service-connected disability, you are seeking care for a VA rated service-connected disability, or it has been less than one year since you were discharged for a disability that the military determined was caused or aggravated by your service, but the VA has not yet rated the disability.
  • The VA has limited resources, so if you are eligible for services, you will be assigned to a priority group. The priority groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. To see the priority list, click here. Previously, veterans assigned to priority 8 were not eligible for enrollment or care for non-service connected conditions. New regulations went into effect on June 15, 2009 that enable the VA to relax income restrictions on enrollment for health benefits. For more information, click here.

Schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.