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Contest Winnings, Self-Employment Income, and Illinois Medicaid

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Our least favorite clients were those who came in and simply claimed to have been living on absolutely NOTHING for the past 6 months or the previous year. We'd have to dig, dig, dig harder to obtain tax records, check stubs, rent and utilities records, bank statements, and eventually pry some source of support from them (undeclared illegal income was usually the answer) but we were not able to certify anyone as low income unless they had some believable legitimate source of income in a sufficient amount to reasonably have supported them to some extent.
Well, a person could have low income and could be living off a big savings account. A person can have $200000 in the bank (big assets), but can also have low income (due to low bank interest rates, little to no employment, etc.). For Illinois Medicaid, they take into account only income, NOT assets. I did not have to tell them how much money I have in the bank.
 


Well, I just got off the phone with Medicaid. I was told that only cash prizes should be reported to Medicaid. Gift cards, concert tickets, etc., should NOT be reported to Medicaid.

Last year, I won about $5 in cash. The other prizes were gift cards, concert tickets, etc.

This year, I have won only gift cards, except for the $1200 that I mentioned in my original post.

So, I will be reporting the $1200 to Medicaid.

I'm not going to bother reporting the $5 I won last year.
Actually, I want to follow up on what I said above.

I called Medicaid twice.

The first time I called, the worker told me that, for Medicaid, all contest winnings were considered assets, not income. However, I told her that Medicaid only takes *income* into account, not *assets*. If that's the case, and if contest winnings are assets, then contest winnings should NOT be reported to Medicaid. I asked her to elaborate on her answer, but we got cut off.

The second time I called, I was told that only cash prizes should be reported to Medicaid. Gift cards, concert tickets, etc., should NOT be reported to Medicaid.

Since I was getting conflicting answers, I decided to play it safe and to report the huge cash prize that I won.
 

Pinkie39

Member
Whole point is it doesn't matter whether it's "considered" income somewhere or not? When certifying for government sponsored income based programs, you must tell them to the best of your abilities about all your income, what you have lived on for the designated time period. I spent many years taking incomes for various income based programs. Our least favorite clients were those who came in and simply claimed to have been living on absolutely NOTHING for the past 6 months or the previous year. We'd have to dig, dig, dig harder to obtain tax records, check stubs, rent and utilities records, bank statements, and eventually pry some source of support from them (undeclared illegal income was usually the answer) but we were not able to certify anyone as low income unless they had some believable legitimate source of income in a sufficient amount to reasonably have supported them to some extent. Yes, this made it very tough for people who were extremely indigent and they didn't usually have good paperwork, either. And people who were living by stealing, prostitutes, moonshiners, drug dealers, etc. But we're not talking about whether or not it's considered income, the program, in order to appropriately and accurately certify him needs to know about everything he can think of and they'll decide what's includable.
Interesting! I'm a Medicaid caseworker in Ohio. We are instructed to allow clients to self attest that they have zero income. We check our various databases for income, and if nothing shows up, we're to assume they don't have any income.

No doubt some work under the table or are earn money with illegal activities. Or simply have their kids' other parent living with them, paying bills, and haven't reported it.

But we (regular caseworkers) don't have the time or resources to look into their means of support that deeply. The state says we only have to request bank statements for the specific programs that require verification of resources, like long term care Medicaid or Medicare premium assistance programs. Not expansion Medicaid or SNAP.

If we suspect fraud, we send an investigation referral to the investigations department to pursue.
 

commentator

Senior Member
I agree, things are certainly done and assessed differently in different places and with different programs. But the only point I am making is that a person who is applying for or being reviewed for income based assistance should not assume that since they've read or been told that something isn't includable income, they shouldn't mention it. And in the agencies where I worked, it was basic 101 training procedure that no one could be able to call up and get a snap judgment of whether or not something would or would not be includable over the phone. Like someone posting for a friend here on the boards, it was too general, the situation wasn't that easy to understand completely, and it was too easy for someone to come in later having really scammed the program and say, "Oh I was told by the office over the phone that I should do it this way...."
 

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