Charlean HannaAfter the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) successfully aided her through a divorce in 1986, Charlean knew exactly where to go when she was having trouble receiving her Medicaid. She was employed as a drug and alcohol technician, but the nature of her job meant that each year, Charlean was laid off for a period of a few months. Because the consistent layoffs reduced her annual income significantly, she was financially eligible to receive Medicaid, a subsidized medical insurance program. Charlean had been approved for Medicaid in 2014, so when she was denied after reapplying in 2015, she did not understand the basis for the denial. Knowing that LASC helped people who could not afford representation, she reached out in the hopes of alleviating the confusion, and once LASC attorney Kristy Michel took on Charlean’s case, her life turned a corner.

“Having medical insurance is very important for me. I have extremely high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” she explains. “I need to be able to go to the doctor on a continual basis. But because I get laid off each year, I cannot pay for my own insurance and keep up those payments.”

In order to receive Medicaid, one of the requirements is that an individual’s income cannot exceed a certain amount each month. Although it appeared that Charlean’s monthly income did exceed that limit, she was actually only receiving income for 9 months of the year. The remainder of months she was laid off without any income. With such a drop in her income, expenses like medical prescriptions were incredibly difficult for her to make.

Once Kristy contacted the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services and submitted the necessary income information, a redetermination of Charlean’s Medicaid case was prompted. The County found that Charlean’s average monthly income did fall below the maximum amount allowed for Medicaid and Charlean’s coverage was reinstated, giving her the peace of mind of having adequate medical coverage in times of need.

“The difficulties that individuals face when trying to get public assistance for basic survival needs can be very overwhelming, particularly when a person is eligible, has complied with the requirements, and is still denied assistance,” explains Kristy. “Many individuals try to resolve the issues on their own, but may need LASC to step in when they are unable to fix the issues themselves. When Charlean asked for help to resolve her Medicaid concerns, LASC attorneys listened to her situation and knew that she was eligible for Medicaid under the law.  Charlean is an extremely polite person and always maintained contact with me as I worked on her Medicaid issue. I was delighted to let her know that she was eligible for Medicaid so that she could get the medical care she needed.”

“I feel great now,” Charlean beams. “I am going to pick up glasses this afternoon.”

Many people facing the loss or denial of public benefits do not realize they might be eligible for assistance from LASC. “Legal Aid is important to the community because they can help you in so many different ways,” she explains. “I loved my experience with LASC.”


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