Last month my family (hubby and two boys) took in a young woman (18 yrs) who is pregnant and due in December. She has no job, and for whatever reason her parents, who live in our subdivision, kicked her out when she was 16 and she has been staying in various places since.
We only know her through our neighbors--she is a friend of our neighbor's son and she stayed with them for a while, but they really don't have the room for a pregnant teen as she and another teen needing a home were sleeping on their couches, so we offered her a safe place to stay until she can get on her feet so to speak. She is a very sweet and respectful person, and really she just needs security and guidance, and basically our thoughts and goals in providing her with a room is to teach her how to make it in the world on her own so she never has to worry about a roof over her head again.
That being said, she has applied for Medicaid to help with medical expenses surrounding the pregnancy, and she was told that we needed to provide our income information since we are now her "responsible party," and therefore are responsible for helping with medical bills, hence why with our income she would not qualify for Medicaid. As much as we love and want to help this girl, our intent was never to be responsible for baby items, diapers, formula, medical bills, etc., but simply to make sure that she had a safe place to stay, and a place in which she could have nutritionally sound, hot meals. We have way too much income for her to qualify for Medicaid, but we certainly can not afford to provide everything for, and raise a young mother and a newborn.
So, long story short, my question is.... Does her residing in our home truly disqualify her from Medicaid assistance considering we are not relatives, and by no means did we intend to become her "responsible party?" And, if the government considers us the responsible party for the simple fact that she resides in our home, does that mean that the hospital can come after us for her medical bills? We were just trying to do the right thing and help out someone in need, and it would be quite the kick in the pants to find out that one can no longer, in good faith, extend a hand to someone in need without being able to set ones own limits and boundaries as to what exactly that entails.
Any input or information anyone can give would be quite appreciated!
All you will need to do is draw up a lease. If she is living there as a member of the family, your income applies, but she is living there as an "apartment". A lease will define the line for Medicaid in most states. Google search will get you a general form, but typically you need to definite time frame(i.e. month to month), and amount paid(either in trade or dollars) etc.
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Medicaid rules vary from state to state. In my state, if she is considered to be part of your household, then they count everything, that is, your TOTAL household income. But if she is NOT part of your household, she can still live with you, just on her application forms she always needs to put that she is buying her food/supplies separately from your family. Also when they ask who is maintaining her, she needs to say she is basically homeless, that she is staying temporarily with your family, but that she is still a separate household from you. She can make a note on her application stating this. If she is not willing to do this for you, then you had better reconsider taking her in. Medicaid just wants to know this so they can decide whether to give her food stamps or not. In my state there is a separate application for pregnancy medical only, that does not ask in depth questions of your income. If she is applying for food stamps or money, then it is a more comprehensive application and there are some strict rules to comply with. But this applies in MY state, you need to call your local Medicaid/DSHS office and find out the specific regulations. Then follow the advice of getting her a little apartment or space in your house and keep your household separate from hers. I know this sounds stupid, but if she applied when she was a minor, then that may affect this also, so make sure they know she is an adult.
This is really simple actually, the person above who mentioned drawing up a lease is on e right track. She needs to indicate to Medicaid that you and her are not of the same "household". One way of doing this would be to indicate you guys as the landlord and her as a tenant in your home, even if they rent is $0 you can still draw up a lease agreement for her room which stipulates how long you are willing to let her stay there and what is expected of her. Medicaid will ask questions such as "Do you buy and share food for each other?" The occasional meal is fine, but your answer should be no, meaning the food you buy is not purchased together with her in mind with the intent of everything in the house being shared, if they answer was yes then they can declare you a household and require information from you for her to apply. As you will be considered a household. So what you really need to determine is, are you just letting her stay in a room out of the kindness of your heart or has she become part of the household?