Amendment allows military families to keep their place in line for the services they deserve even while they are deployed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2014
JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska state House of Representatives accepted an amendment from House Democratic Leader Chris Tuck to help Alaska’s military families save time, money, and aggravation upon returning from a deployment. The amendment to SB 145 allows military families with special needs children who qualify for Home and Community Based Services under Medicaid to continue to receive those services when they return from a deployment without having to go through a lengthy re-application process.
“Military families shouldn’t have to bear any extra, unnecessary burdens on top of what they already sacrifice for our country,” said Tuck (D-Anchorage). “This amendment helps them keep their place in line for the services they need and deserve even while they are deployed. We need to take care of those who take care of us.”
The application process for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services is extensive, and the average time to determine eligibility is 45 months. The proposed amendment would let military families who have already gone through the eligibility process maintain that status when they return to Alaska.
“Our current system essentially punishes military families for serving their country,” said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), who offered the amendment when the bill was in the Senate. “It potentially denies them assistance upon their return that they were receiving before they left. There’s no reason for this since there’s no additional cost to the state.”
“Requiring military families to go through the process repeatedly makes them feel like they continually have to ‘prove’ themselves,” Wielechowski added.
This policy change is a top priority of the Department of Defense.
The bill with the attached amendment now goes to the Alaska state Senate for concurrence.