IM-058 HOUSE BILL 2171 CHANGES TO BLIND PENSION

2018 Memorandums

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION
PO BOX 2320
JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI

IM-#058, 09/28/2018

TO:  ALL FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION OFFICES
FROM:  PATRICK LUEBBERING, DIRECTOR
SUBJECT:  HOUSE BILL 2171 CHANGES TO BLIND PENSION

DISCUSSION:

House Bill 2171 made several changes to the Blind Pension (BP) program. Below is a list of changes with explanation of how this will impact current and future Blind Pension participants. These changes are effective August 28, 2018.

  • The resource limit has increased from $20,000 to $30,000. BP participants may now own resources up to $29,999.99 and remain eligible.
  • $100,000 contributed to an ABLE account belonging to a blind individual is excluded from the BP resource calculation. All contributions made to an ABLE account belonging to a sighted spouse are excluded from the BP resource calculations. Depositing funds into an ABLE account is not a transfer without fair and valuable consideration, and is not subject to transfer penalties.
  • A person who obtains, maintains, or renews a driver license in any state or territory is not eligible for BP.
    • A BP participant whose case is active August 28, 2018 will be given 60 days to surrender their license, if they possess one. If s/he fails to surrender their driver license, on the 45th day, action will be started to close the BP.
    • Applicants must surrender their driver license within 60 days of approval for BP to continue to be eligible.
      • If s/he fails to surrender the driver license, on the 45th day, action will be started by FAMIS to close the BP.
      • An applicant who refuses to surrender his/her license will be rejected and not eligible to receive BP.
    • See the attached FAMIS User Guide for instructions for the DRIVINFO/FMNE screen.

    NOTE: A BP applicant is given 60 days to surrender his/her license after approval. This is a one-time allowance and once used, it cannot be given again.

  • A BP recipient who operates a motor vehicle, with or without a valid driver license is not eligible for BP. Action will be started immediately upon entry on the DRIVINFO screen indication the recipient has operated a motor vehicle. Detailed instructions for how and when to enter this will be provided in a future memorandum. OMV (operating a motor vehicle) must not be entered until further clarification is issued.
  • Sighted spouse income of 500% of the federal poverty level or greater will cause ineligibility. FAMIS has been updated to use income information entered to determine if the sighted spouse has income in excess of the newly established limit of 500%. The current limit is $6858.
    • See the attached FAMIS User Guide for instructions to access the Adult MO HealthNet BP Spousal Budget Summary.

    NOTE: Continue to answer the questions on the Sighted Spouse/Parent Support Information (SIGHTSUP/FMJA) screen. When both spouses apply for BP, enter that neither has a sighted spouse on the SIGHTSUP/FMJA screen. If either is determined to not be blind, update the response for the blind spouse to indicate s/he has a sighted spouse.

  • Participants must report changes in circumstances within 10 days of the change.
  • Family Support Division (FSD) notices sent to BP applicants and recipients will be sent by certified mail. All notices sent by FAMIS concerning the BP program will be certified, when all FAMIS updates are completed. Effective August 28, 2018 the following forms will be certified to the participant and the Authorized Representative.
    • AR100 Authorized Representative Cover Letter
    • FA420 Adult MO HealthNet Adverse Action Notice
    • FA460 Adult MO HealthNet Benefit Notice

      Remaining FAMIS notices will be updated to be automatically sent by certified mail in the near future. Until that update is completed in FAMIS, staff must manually send all BP notices by certified mail. Processes have been set up in the SAB/BP Processing Center, the Hearings Unit, and MRT to allow for certified mail.

      The Document Queue (DOCQUE/FMVM) and the Document History (DOCHST/FMVR) screens have been updated to include a field for the certified mail tracking number.

      • Notices sent certified mail by FAMIS will display the tracking number assigned to each document.
      • Notices printed from DOCQUE/FMVM or DOCHST/FMVR and mailed manually will have an open line available for the entry of the tracking number. Only specified staff will be able to enter a tracking number, and once entered, it may not be updated
      • See the attached FAMIS User Guide for instructions.
  • Visual eligibility must be established in both eyes, the better eye must meet current eligibility requirements of 5/200 or visual field of 5 degrees tested on 5 millimeter target on perimeter, and must have lasted 12 months or be expected to last at least 12 months.
  • The examining ophthalmologist, physician, or optometrist may indicate that a reexamination should be performed in less than 5 years, if the individual’s vision may reasonably be expected to improve within 5 years.
  • FSD may require a visual reexamination before the date indicated by the examining ophthalmologist, physician, or optometrist, if there is reason to believe the BP participant is not eligible.

MANUAL NOTICE REQUIRED

There are situations that will require a manual notice to BP applicants and recipients. The FA420 and/or FA460 will not provide the reason for the closing/rejection of the BP case. Staff must manually create the notice with the correct reason and send it by certified mail.

  • BP participant is losing BP eligibility, but remains eligible for another type of MHABD coverage.
  • BP applicant is determined ineligible for BP, but is eligible for another type of MHABD coverage.

NECESSARY ACTION:

  • Review this memorandum with appriopriate staff.

ATTACHMENTS:

  • FAMIS User Guides
  • Certified Mail Guide
  • Driver Information Guide
  • Spousal Support Guide

PL/vb/jk