On Friday, 12/9/2022, Legal Aid of Arkansas's clients won a major case to hold Arkansas state Medicaid officials responsible for cutting home-care benefits of three elderly, disabled Arkansans. Our three clients have been on the ARChoices Medicaid program for several years.
ARChoices provides in-home care to help with their daily care tasks so that our clients can live independently in their homes instead of going to a nursing home. They each were receiving between 30 and 33 hours per week of care when Arkansas switched to a new system to decide their eligibility and how many hours of care to give. DHS entirely terminated one of our clients and significantly cut the hours of the other two. They appealed DHS's decision right away. Although the U.S. Constitution allows our clients to keep receiving benefits until their appeals are decided, DHS cut their benefits immediately. Our clients suffered for months without needed care, baths, food, and medical treatments.
As a result, our three clients sued to change DHS's broken appeals system and to hold the DHS officials who run it personally liable. After we won the initial stages of the case at the trial court, DHS appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In their ruling, all three Eighth Circuit judges agreed with the trial court that DHS officials can be personally liable for violating the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit will now move forward.