Medicaid is a government health insurance program for low-income people. It is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, including Michigan.

The Michigan Medicaid plan identifies who is eligible for coverage, what health services plan participants can receive, the state’s reimbursement policy, and other requirements.

Who Is Eligible for Medicaid in Michigan?

You qualify for Medicaid if your household income is below:

  • 195 percent of the federal poverty level for infants under 1-year-old and pregnant women;
  • 160 percent of the federal poverty level for children ages 1 to 18 years old; and
  • 133 percent of the federal poverty level for parents and other adults.

The blind, disabled and other groups may also qualify for Medicaid.

Note that children with household incomes that are 212 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (called MIChild in Michigan).

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services determines whether a family or individual is eligible for Medicaid.

What If My Medicaid Application Is Denied?


There are several reasons your Medicaid application might be denied. The most common reason is that you do not meet the income requirements. In other words, you make too much money. Here’s another example: If you claim eligibility based on disability and the Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t believe that you are disabled, then your application will be denied.

If the department denies your application you will receive a letter that explains why you were denied. The letter will also explain how you can appeal the denial of your Medicaid application. Here is what you need to know about the appeals process:

  1. You have 90 days after receiving the denial letter to request an administrative hearing.
  2. A hearing request form should be included with the letter. You don’t have to use this form to request the hearing, but your request must be in writing and signed by you or your legal guardian.
  3. A notice specifying the time, date and location of your hearing will be mailed to you. Note that most hearings are actually held over the phone.
  4. You may be represented by an attorney, but you must provide the department with the name of your representative, in writing. The department will not provide you with an attorney.
  5. An administrative law judge from the Michigan Administrative Hearing System for the department will hear your case.
  6. The hearing will be recorded, and both you and department officials may ask each other questions.
  7. The judge will not announce his or her decision during the hearing but will send it to you in the mail.

If the judge upholds the denial, you have 30 days to file an appeal with the Circuit Court, typically in the county in which you reside. You could also choose to file a motion for rehearing or reconsideration with the administrative law judge.

Contact Us Today

The appeals process can be complicated, and you shouldn’t have to navigate it alone. Contact our experienced Grand Rapids Medicaid lawyers today if your Medical application is denied. We will help you receive the health insurance coverage that you deserve.

This week The Law Offices of David L. Carrier announced its plan to donate $1,000.00 to Lisa Cober, a West Michigan woman who works to provide clothes and hygiene products to underprivileged children. Cober, a mother of three who was once homeless herself, understands the struggles of school-aged children faced with homelessness, and is working hard to end the cycle of poverty by providing these students with the basic needs necessary for their success. “I want to make sure these students are able to concentrate on school and not worry about being harassed by other students … how cold they are, how dirty they feel, or that they need something so minor such as socks, underwear, or soaps,” said Cober.

After hearing Cober speak at the Fox 17 Pay it Forward Gala, David Carrier decided to join her efforts. “It just fits with our values,” said Carrier, “We were so impressed by the impact that Cober has had on these families that we thought we could support her financially, as well as try to do the same thing in the Grand Rapids area.” To further Cober’s work, David reached out to Northview High School, and hopes to connect with several other area schools, to discuss starting a similar program. In order to get a jump on things, The Law Offices of David L. Carrier will be collecting personal hygiene products for children and teens at all upcoming workshops. David’s efforts to help Cober in her work are a part of a larger campaign to highlight small area nonprofits that do exceptional work in the West Michigan community.

Everyone has heard stories about angry relatives contesting a deceased loved one’s will. In reality, over 99 percent of wills are admitted to probate without incident. Michigan courts presume a will is valid unless there is evidence to the contrary. If you want to avoid a potential fight among your own family members, here are some things to keep in mind about making a last will and testament.

Legal Requirements for a Michigan Will


The law regarding wills is actually pretty straightforward. [Michigan requires a will be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will) and two witnesses. The witnesses must be adults. They do not need to read the will or understand its contents, but they must witness either the testator’s signature or his or her acknowledgment that the document is in fact their will.

Michigan also recognizes what are known as holographic wills. These are wills where all “material portions” of the document are in the testator’s handwriting. A holographic will is valid even if it is not witnessed.

While it may be legal, making a holographic will is usually asking for trouble. A disgruntled relative can easily argue the document was forged. And without any witnesses, a court may be inclined to agree, especially if there are any previous wills that were properly executed and witnessed.

Properly Destroying an Old Will

This leads to another important point. When you make a new will, make sure you destroy any prior wills. Although making a new will legally revokes any prior wills, if your relatives find more than one document after your death, there may be a contest over which one is the “real” will. The best way to avoid this is by making sure they only find one will.

Revoking a will is as simple as destroying the physical document. Michigan law suggests “burning, tearing, canceling or obliterating” the original will. We may live in an electronic age, but wills are one document that must still be printed on paper. A court will normally accept only an original signed will, not a photocopy or a computer image.

Incapacity and Undue Influence

When wills are successfully challenged, it is usually because the testator “lacked capacity.” Michigan law defines capacity as having “the ability to understand” that the document you are signing is a will intended to dispose of your property. Similarly, a will may also be contested if it was the product of “undue influence” on the testator.

To preempt such challenges, the best thing you can do is work with an experienced Grand Rapids probate lawyer who can guide you through the process of making a will and ensure the final document accurately reflects your wishes. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C., to speak with an estate planning professional today.

David Carrier Exchange Segment 2-13-16 from David L. Carrier, P.C. on Vimeo.

David L Carrier Valentines Day Morning Mix from David L. Carrier, P.C. on Vimeo.

Thanks to staff at The Law Offices of David L. Carrier and student volunteers from Rockford High School’s Renaissance Program, Valentine’s Day will be a lot brighter for many elderly residents living in area nursing homes. In what has become an annual tradition, staff and volunteers delivered colorful bouquets of flowers and sweet treats as part of the Valentine Visitors Program to more than 46 nursing homes around the Grand Rapids.

Find out more information on Rockford High School’s Valentine Sale

David Carrier staff and Rockford High students deliver Valentine's flowers

David Carrier staff and Rockford High students deliver Valentine's flowers

Heidi and Hannah deliver Valentine's flowers

David Carrier staff and Rockford High students deliver Valentine's flowers

Hannah passes out Valentine's flowers to nursing home residents

Most Michigan residents have some form of retirement savings. The most common types of retirement accounts are IRAs, 401(k) plans, and Roth IRA plans. Each has specific rules governing how and when withdrawals are made. In addition, there are significant estate planning implications for handling retirement accounts.

Is an IRA a Probate Asset?


Unlike most personal property that passes under a person’s will or living trust, retirement accounts usually have designated beneficiaries. If you have an IRA, for example, you can name a primary and contingent beneficiary. Upon your death, the account passes automatically to the primary beneficiary if he or she survives you; otherwise it goes to the contingent beneficiary.

Any such beneficiary designation overrides any contrary provision in your will or trust. This is because a retirement account is not considered an asset of your probate estate or trust unless you specifically name it as the beneficiary. If you fail to name a beneficiary, or all of the designated beneficiaries die before you, the retirement account will then be considered a probate asset. It is a bad idea to name your own estate as beneficiary, however, for tax reasons.

The Tax Implications of Inheriting a Retirement Account

So what are those tax reasons? As you probably know already, with a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan the account owner makes tax-free contributions while they are working. Upon reaching retirement age (usually 70 years and 6 months), the owner must make annual withdrawals, which are taxed at that time. A Roth IRA works in reverse: contributions are taxed when made, not upon withdrawal.

Now, normally when someone inherits property it is not subject to income tax. But if a person inherits a 401(k) or traditional IRA–say a father names his daughter as beneficiary–then income tax is due when the beneficiary makes withdrawals from the account. There is no income tax on an inherited Roth IRA, since tax was already paid when the original owner made contributions.

In many cases, a person will name their spouse as beneficiary of their retirement accounts. This allows the surviving spouse to “roll over” their deceased partner’s IRA or 401(k) into their own retirement account. This preserves the tax benefits until the surviving spouse must begin making withdrawals.

Do I Have to Leave My Retirement Account to My Spouse?

But what if you do not wish to name your spouse as beneficiary? In some cases that may not be possible. Federal law, which governs 401(k) plans and other employee-based retirement systems, automatically designates a surviving spouse as beneficiary. This can only be altered if the affected spouse signs a written waiver during the marriage.

In contrast, you are generally free to name anyone you choose as the beneficiary of an IRA. While the surviving spouse may benefit from the ability to roll over the account, there are many situations where it makes more sense to name another family member as beneficiary. An experienced Holland estate planning lawyer can answer any questions you may have about coordinating your retirement planning. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C., if you would like to schedule an appointment today.

Sadly, nursing home abuse is an everyday occurrence in Michigan. In some cases the abuse takes the form of neglect. But sometimes the abuse escalates to physical or even sexual assault.

Family members often suspect nursing home abuse but fail to report it, either because they do not know the proper procedures or they simply fear nobody will believe them. Without direct evidence, abuse allegations often lead to a “he said/she said” standoff. As a result, many family members decide it is not worth making trouble, lest the nursing home take it out on their already vulnerable relative.

What Are the Signs of Abuse?


Doing nothing and hoping the problem goes away is never a solution. There are steps you can take to help identify and stop nursing home abuse.

First, you should visit your relative frequently but not on a regular schedule. In other words, if you visit your grandmother every Wednesday at noon, nursing home staff will know to expect you and may cover up any evidence of neglect or abuse. But if you come on a different day each week–say Tuesday morning one week and Thursday afternoon the next–you are more likely to catch the abuse.

Second, ask plenty of questions about your relative’s care. Keep written notes of any questions and answers. Additionally, take note of the cleanliness and overall condition of the nursing home. Use your phone’s camera to take pictures if necessary.

Third, pay special attention to any suspicious or unexplained injuries. Bedsores are a common sign of neglect. Sudden weight loss may be a sign of dehydration or starvation. And if there are any unusual marks on your relative, it may indicate assault or battery.

Where Do I Report Abuse?

If you have any reason to suspect abuse or neglect, you should immediately inform the nursing home’s administrator or other designated official, such as the head nurse or patient advocate. And if you have any reason to believe there has been criminal abuse, such as sexual assault, you should contact the Michigan State Police or local law enforcement. Do not attempt to deal with criminal matters by yourself.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office and the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services also have oversight responsibility for nursing homes. The Attorney General maintains a special hotline (800-24-ABUSE) to report nursing homes.

Contact a Qualified Michigan Elder Law Attorney

You should also seek independent legal advice from a qualified Michigan elder law attorney who can help you take a proactive stance to address and stop any nursing home abuse before the situation deteriorates further. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Carrier, P.C., if you require immediate legal assistance.