In late 2015, MEJI advocates worked with Medicaid staff to update Medicaid policy relating to veterans pensions. In the old policy, some portions of the VA pension, such as Aid & Attendance, were not considered income and were excluded when calculating Medicaid eligibility. However, neither the VA nor Social Security categorizes payments that result from unusual/unreimbursed medical expenses (UMEs) as “income” for the calculation of benefits. Because SSI statues regarding income also govern Medicaid, and because state Medicaid provisions can be “no more restrictive” than the method to determine SSI income and eligibility, Medicaid policy was updated. BEM 503 has been updated to include a section that states that an increase in pension due to UMEs should be excluded as income and as an asset.
MDHHS has been requesting the original VA pension award letter to establish that an individual has UMEs that can be excluded as income. If an individual has UMEs, the award letter will mention that the VA is allowing a certain amount of medical expenses as a continuing deduction. MDHHS has also been requesting a VA pension breakdown if the pensioner is receiving Aid & Attendance. This breakdown can be issued upon request to the VA.