Articles Posted in Public Benefits

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In 2013, Emma Reiger entered the Good Samaritan Society's basic care facility. She executed a general durable power of attorney appointing two women "to be my attorneys-in-fact and co-agents in my name and for my benefit." Rieger signed a "Designation of Authorized Representative" authorizing the Society to "(i) initiate an application for Medicaid benefits on my behalf, (ii) participate in all reviews of my eligibility for Medicaid benefits and (iii) take such action as may be necessary to establish my eligibility for Medicaid." On the same date, Rieger signed a separate document titled, "Assignment of Medicaid Benefits," which assigned to the Society her right to obtain Medicaid benefits for services provided to her by the Society, and an "Authorization for Release of Health Information." These documents were provided to the Department of Human Services. The Department oappealed a judgment reversing the Department's dismissal of Rieger's appeal challenging its denial of her Medicaid application and remanding for a fair hearing on the application. Because the law allowed The Evangelical Good Samaritan Society, doing business as the Good Samaritan Society - Mott ("Society"), to act as Rieger's authorized representative for purposes of appealing the Department's denial of her Medicaid application, the Court affirmed the judgment. View "Evangelical Good Samaritan Society v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Shirley Bleick appealed a district court order affirming a Department of Human Services' decision denying her application for Medicaid benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding a preponderance of the evidence supported the Department's finding that the income stream from Shirley Bleick's life estate exceeded asset limits for Medicaid eligibility. View "Bleick v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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A Job Service claims deputy issued an initial determination that Kenneth Risovi misrepresented facts in order to obtain unemployment benefits, which he was not eligible to receive. Job Service disqualified Risovi from receiving unemployment benefits from November 4, 2012, to October 26, 2013. Risovi appealed the determination. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Risovi v. Job Service" on Justia Law

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Kathy Inwards was injured while employed as an assembler by Bobcat. WSI accepted liability for her claim and awarded Inwards vocational rehabilitation benefits to assist her in returning to work. In early June 2011, WSI issued a notice of intention to discontinue benefits ("NOID") stating her disability benefits would end then convert to retraining benefits. She had 30 days to request reconsideration of the decision. WSI issued a formal order requiring Inwards to "enter into training at Hutchinson Community College, Hutchinson, Kansas, in the Business Management & Entrepreneurship AAS program." Inwards requested reconsideration of the vocational rehabilitation plan, but attended two college courses during the summer of 2011 in accordance with the plan. Inwards complained to her physician that she was having increased pain as a result of her course work. Although Inwards registered for fall courses at the college, she withdrew from them. In October 2011, WSI issued a NOID to Inwards stating "[t]here is no medical evidence that supports your professed inability to attend the classes as outlined in the administrative order dated June 27, 2011. You are now considered to be in non-compliance with vocational rehab." Inwards timely requested reconsideration of this NOID, and on January 13, 2012, WSI issued a formal order suspending Inwards' rehabilitation benefits based on her noncompliance with the rehabilitation plan. Inwards timely requested a hearing to challenge WSI's finding of noncompliance and suspension of benefits. The ALJ reversed WSI's January 13, 2012 order suspending benefits for noncompliance with the vocational rehabilitation plan. WSI appealed to district court and Inwards moved to dismiss the appeal, claiming the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because WSI failed to serve the notice of appeal and specification of errors on Inwards and her employer. The court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding Inwards had no standing to object to defective service on her employer and there was good cause to excuse WSI's mistake about recently mandated court electronic filing requirements. The court reversed the ALJ's decision, concluding the finding of good cause was "not supported by law," and reinstated WSI's January 13, 2012 order of noncompliance. The Supreme Court concluded the ALJ erred as a matter of law in ruling Inwards had good cause for failing to comply with a retraining program because WSI's previous order requiring Inwards to participate in the retraining program had been appealed and had not been finally resolved at the time she withdrew from the retraining program. The Court affirmed the district court judgment reversing the ALJ's decision and reinstating WSI's order of noncompliance. View "Inwards v. WSI" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Ounjaniese Brown appealed a district court judgment that denied her request for review of Burleigh County Housing Authority's ("BCHA") decision to terminate her housing assistance benefits. Brown was a recipient of benefits under a federal housing assistance program. In 2012, BCHA terminated Brown's housing assistance benefits. Brown filed a notice of appeal and specification of error in district court, stating she was appealing BCHA's decision to terminate her housing assistance. Brown alleged BCHA's decision violated her constitutional rights, she did not receive a fair hearing, and BCHA failed to consider evidence she presented. BCHA filed a motion to dismiss, arguing it was not an agency for purposes of the Administrative Agencies Practices Act ("AAPA") and therefore the district court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the district court lacked jurisdiction over the matter, and vacated the judgment and orders. View "Brown v. Burleigh County Housing Authority" on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services appealed a district court order reversing and remanding the Department's order decreasing Plaintiff-Appellee Penne Nienow's monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP") benefits. The County determined Nienow received income from a prior mineral rights lease and, therefore, the 2011 payment was a recurring lump-sum payment. The County reduced Nienow's SNAP benefits to $16 per month. Nienow filed a request for hearing to the Department, and an evidentiary hearing was held. The County's representative testified Nienow stated that she leased the mineral rights and received income from the lease every five years and that she had leased the rights at least once before. After the hearing, the administrative law judge ("ALJ") concluded the County correctly determined Nienow's income and properly reduced her SNAP benefits. The Department adopted the ALJ's findings and conclusions. Nienow appealed the Department's order to the district court. The district court reversed and remanded, concluding Nienow's payment was a mineral leasing bonus, a nonrecurring lump-sum payment, and should not have been considered as income in determining Nienow's eligibility. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court reversed the district court order and reinstated the Department's final order reducing Nienow's SNAP benefits. View "Nienow v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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Claimants appealed a district court judgment that affirmed Job Service of North Dakota's decision to deny them unemployment benefits. Upon review of the administrative record and the plain language of N.D.C.C. 52-06-02(4), the Supreme Court concluded that claimants were only disqualified from unemployment compensation for employee-initiated work stoppages due to labor disputes, not to locked out Claimants as in this case. Accordingly, the Court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded the case back to Job Service for further proceedings. View "Olson v. Job Service" on Justia Law

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Appellant Collette Bishop appealed a district court judgment that affirmed an administrative law judge's order ("ALJ") which affirmed an order of Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") denying further vocational rehabilitation benefits and temporary total disability benefits to Bishop. Upon review, the Supreme Court also affirmed, concluding the ALJ's finding that Bishop was capable of performing the return-to-work options identified in her vocational rehabilitation plan was supported by a preponderance of the evidence. View "Bishop v. No. Dakota Workforce Safety & Ins." on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services ("the Department") appealed a district court judgment reversing the Department's order determining Edward Ennis was ineligible for continued Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP") benefits. Ennis cross-appealed, challenging the district court's denial of his motion for costs. Ennis, self-employed, purchased a truck for $5,238 for use in his business. He paid for the truck in full and thus did not make ongoing payments. In March 2011, the County conducted a periodic recertification review to determine Ennis's continued eligibility for SNAP benefits. The County calculated his anticipated 2011 self-employment income based upon his actual 2010 self-employment income, without deducting the $5,238 expense for the truck. Based on this calculation, the County determined Ennis's anticipated 2011 income exceeded the income limit for SNAP benefits and issued a denial of benefits. Ennis appealed to the Department and requested a hearing. An administrative law judge ("ALJ") issued recommended findings of fact, conclusions of law and order determining that the purchase price of the truck should have been deducted from Ennis's anticipated 2011 self-employment income and recommending that the County's denial of further benefits be reversed. The executive director of the Department disagreed with the ALJ's recommendation and issued amended findings, conclusions and final order affirming the County's determination that Ennis was not entitled to further SNAP benefits. Ennis appealed to the district court, which reversed the Department's final order and reinstated the recommended findings of the ALJ. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment and reinstated the Department's final order denying further benefits. View "Ennis v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Wilfred Dahly appealed a district court judgment which affirmed a final order of the North Dakota Department of Human Services ("Department") which determined he was ineligible for Medicaid benefits. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding the Department erred when it concluded the proceeds of the sale of Wilfred Dahly's home were an available asset which exceeded the asset limit for Medicaid eligibility. View "Dahly v. Anderson" on Justia Law