The case of “The Countable Chickens.”
An Alabama attorney recently filed an application in a
spousal case, in which the
husband, community spouse, has been farming for more than 20 years to
supplement his income. Therefore, they claimed his tractor and pickup truck as
excluded because they were necessary in his farming operation. He has
been filing a Schedule F.
Well, it turns out that because his wife at home Alzheimer's dementia
took so much of his time, he had sold off all his cattle in 2010 and
only had 29 chickens in his inventory. Since he had no income reported in
2011 from sales, his Schedule F only reported depreciation on his
So the Medicaid district office decided he was not
a serious enough
farmer to really be a farmer and counted the tractor and pickup truck (a
second vehicle). And they counted the 29 chickens as a resource.
The attorney argued, to no avail, that there are only two
kinds of chickens,
inventory (if owned in a trade or business) or pets (if not owned in a
trade or business). Since Medicaid had already decided this man was not
in business, they must be pet chickens.
After the applicant told Medicaid they were worth $6 to $10
each (a lot less than a pet dog, but more than a cat) they counted these pet
chickens at $10 each.
Now, he has sold 15 of the chickens for $90 and Medicaid has
we give them a statement from an expert about the value of these
chickens, to see if there is a penalty opportunity. They have tried,
without success to find and talk to poultry experts. They thought about maybe
an economics professor at the local university might prepare some sort of
analysis of how an egg laying chicken is priced in the market, but that would
cost too much.
So they reported the lack of success to Medicaid on a Form
234 and asked was there not a Chicken Value Table in the Alabama Medicaid
So now they have been chastised by the regional supervisor for putting
condescending and flippant comments in a government form. And
suggesting they are all working for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant.
You just can't make this stuff up. They are seen by the
Agency as the bad
guys, when they are making them spend hours of time (not to mention
theirs) on the value of 15 chickens.
Don't be surprised to find a question on the application, in the near
future, did you give away any cats, dogs, rabbits, goldfish, or chickens
when you went to the nursing home and what were they worth?