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How to Apply for a Child’s Medicaid with Both Parents Absent

You can apply for a child’s Medicaid even if you are not that child’s parent or legal guardian.

Applying for a Medicaid card for a child is a relatively easy thing to do as a parent. All that is required is to sign the form, bring your documents, drop off or mail in the Medicaid booklet with photocopies of your documents and wait for your interview. But if you are applying for a child’s Medicaid and you are not the child’s parent or legal guardian, applying for Medicaid can become a hassle.

I recently tried to apply for my niece’s Medicaid after it was cancelled. I went to my local Medicaid branch, brought all my documents and correctly signed up the Medicaid booklet. After waiting in the Medicaid office for about five hours, I was finally called in for the interview. I walked in, greeted my interviewer and sat down only to find out that I could not apply for my niece’s Medicaid. Only a parent or legal guardian can apply for a child’s Medicaid, the interviewer said.

I explained to him that both my niece’s parents are Jamaicans, who will not qualify for leave from work until 2009, and so I am applying for the Medicaid on their behalf. The child is an American citizen. I was turned down. So, if this or something similar to this happens to you what are you to do? You have two options: (1) You can have a doctor send a request for the child’s Medicaid or (2) you can have your community Medicaid office help you apply for the child’s Medicaid.

Option (1) would require the child getting sick and your being unable to pay the medical expenses to let a doctor basically force the Medicaid office to issue the Medicaid. Option (2) would be the better way to apply for a child’s Medicaid when you are not the parent or legal guardian.

To apply for a child’s Medicaid when you are not the parent or legal guardian of a child, you need to visit your community Medicaid office. This is not to be confused with your local Medicaid branch where interviews are conducted and applications are processed. No, the Medicaid office in your community should deal with issuing Medicaid forms or booklets and should not conduct interviews. You can contact your local social services office to find where the nearest Medicaid office is in your community.

Explain to someone in the Medicaid office why you are applying for the child to whom you have no legal guardianship. They should be able to provide you with a form that allows you to apply for the child’s Medicaid stating that both parents are absent or otherwise unable to apply themselves.

Someone in the Medicaid office will help you to sign up the Medicaid booklet properly, attaching the parental absentee forms in the booklet. You will also need to write a statement of support for the child and in that letter you should establish your relationship to the child.

Documents that you need to have attached inside the Medicaid booklet.

To apply for a child’s Medicaid when you are not the parent or legal guardian of that child, you need to bring the same documents that you would if the child were yours. You should bring these documents and have someone in the Medicaid office photocopy what needs to be copied:

  • Proof of age, like a birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship or alien status
  • Recent paycheck stubs (if you are working)
  • Proof of your income from sources like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veteran’s Benefits (VA), retirement
  • Any bank books and insurance policies that you may have
  • Proof of where you live, like a rent receipt or landlord statement
  • Insurance benefit card or the policy (if you have any other health insurance)

Once you’ve signed everything, completing the application process in your community Medicaid office, you can have them mail off the package for you to your local Medicaid branch. When you are applying for a child’s Medicaid when both parents are absent and you are not the legal guardian, the processing of the application usually takes one month. So, just be patient and wait for the Medicaid card to arrive in the mail.

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