Canton Repository

June 28, 2006

How to prove you’re eligible

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - A new law requiring applicants for Medicaid to prove their U.S. citizenship and identity allows several different types of documentation to be presented.

Individuals seeking benefits from the government health-care program can present primary documentation showing both citizenship and identity, such as a U.S. passport or certificate of naturalization, federal guidelines state.

As an alternative, they can present a combination of documents, such as a birth certificate and verification of identity.

In the absence of these, the guidelines allow a dozen other forms of documentation, such as life or health insurance records or military records showing place of birth.

Critics of the program point out that jobless individuals applying for Medicaid are unlikely to have a passport and also may lack a birth certificate and similar documents.

The guidelines say that in rare circumstances, when state officials are unable to verify citizenship, applicants may submit at least two written affidavits from individuals attesting the applicant is a citizen.

Persons signing the affidavits are subject to prosecution for perjury if they lie.

The guidelines say states must give applicants “reasonable opportunity” to obtain verification.

Current Medicaid recipients “will remain eligible if he/she continuously shows a good faith effort to present satisfactory evidence of citizenship and identity,” the guidelines state.