Medicaid Applicants' Children Do Not Have Standing to Appeal Medicaid Denial

Posted on: September 4th, 2017

A Connecticut appeals court rules that the children of Medicaid applicants did not have standing to appeal Medicaid denials in their individual capacity, but that they should have been given the opportunity to substitute themselves as administrator of their respective parent’s estate. Freese v. Department of Social Services (Ct. Ct. App., Nos. AC 38045, AC 38083, Aug. 29, 2017).

Kathleen Freese and Gustav Cariglio applied for Medicaid on behalf on their mothers. The mothers died while the applications were pending. The state eventually denied both applications due to excess assets. Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio each appealed the denials. They were both eventually named as administrators of their mothers' estates.

The state filed motions to dismiss both appeals, arguing that Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio did not have standing because they were not personally aggrieved by the denials and did not institute the appeals as representatives of their mothers' estates. Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio filed motions to substitute the estate. The court granted the motion to dismiss and refused the motion to substitute because Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio had not sued as representatives of their mothers' estates. Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio appealed, arguing that they had standing as their mothers' representatives.

The Connecticut Appellate Court reverses in part, holding that while Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio do not have standing, the trial court should review whether substitution is appropriate. The court rules that Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio do not have standing to sue based solely on the fact that they applied for Medicaid on their mothers' behalf and they did not prove they were personally aggrieved. The court also holds that the trial court improperly refused to consider substituting Ms. Freese and Mr. Cariglio and remands the case to the trial court to consider "whether (1) the plaintiff’s failure to name the estate fiduciaries as plaintiffs was the result of a mistake . . . and (2) whether substitution is necessary to determine the real matter in dispute."

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