Attorney Jamie M. Verdi, Founder of Michigan Patient Advocacy Liaison, P.L.L.C., Obtains Victory for a Veteran's Widow Who Was Wrongfully Denied Food Stamps

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Michigan's food stamp program is administered through the Michigan Dept.of Human Services ("DHS"). Income is the primary eligibility criteria. Jamie M. Verdi's client was a veteran's widow who was denied food stamps when the DHS counted her Dept. of Veterans Affairs benefits as income. An administrative law judge ruled that the DHS committed clear error because its own regulations prohibit the inclusion of certain V.A. benefits in its income determination.

Attorney Jamie M. Verdi, founder of Michigan Patient Advocacy Liaison, PLLC (“MI-PAL”) recently obtained a judicial ruling before the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, Case No. 113622227, that may help give veterans and their widows greater access to food stamps.

The Michigan Dept. of Human Services (“DHS”) determines food stamp eligibility through its Bridge Eligibility Manual (“BEM”). The BEM states that applicants who receive aid and attendance benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shall not have those benefits counted as income for purposes of determining food stamp eligibility. V.A. aid and attendance benefits are available to veterans and their widows who are housebound and in need of care.

MI-PAL’s client, who received V.A. aid and attendance benefits, was denied food stamps when the DHS counted her V.A. benefits as income. MI-PAL appealed and an administrative law judge ruled that the DHS committed clear error by including V.A. aid and attendance benefits as household income. Notably, the DHS staff stated that this was the first case they had seen where this issue was raised on appeal.

Attorney Jamie M. Verdi said, “this ruling should help veterans and their widows obtain benefits they deserve. There may have been many other cases where veterans were wrongfully denied food stamps. Hopefully, the DHS will increase its staff training and alert its case managers to this important issue.”

Jamie M. Verdi is an accredited attorney through the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and represents individuals in the healthcare system and in probate court. For more information or a copy of the decision, In the matter of F. Thompson, Case No. 113622227 before the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, please contact attorney Jamie M. Verdi at (248) 410-4945 or jamieverdi(at)mipalhealth(dot)com.

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