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HRA DSS Rules: Is my Children’s Father/My Husband Part of the Household?

As a lawyer who deals with people accused of HRA DSS Medicaid and SNAP fraud, I frequently hear people claim that a man is not a part of the household. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and the relevant HRA DSS Medicaid and SNAP rules.

Q: My husband does not live in the house. He lives in his own house, or with his girlfriend, or by his father, mother, parents or aunt or uncle. Is he a part of the household?

A: As long as you are married, he is a part of the household even if he lives somewhere else. Some people who claim that they live apart are actually not being truthful. Some people are telling the truth. To the investigators, it does not matter. Besides, in a typical Medicaid or Food Stamp fraud investigation, the HRA DSS investigators already have records of the husband living in the house – video footage of the husband entering and exiting the house, perhaps his GPS location, interviews with the neighbors etc. Sometimes, even interviews with the husband himself where he admits he lives in the house! But that is not even the point. As long as you are married, he is a part of the household no matter where he lives.

Q: My husband only lives in the house part-time. He’s there sometimes, and he even sleeps over sometimes, but a lot of the time (most of the time) he is not in the house. Does that mean that his income does not count for our Medicaid or SNAP (Food Stamp) eligibility?

A: As long as you are married, he is part of the household no matter where he lives.

Q: My husband and I are separated. And I listed on the application that we are separated. How is that fraud?

A: There is a lot of confusion about what being separated means. Legally, you are not separated until you get a judgment of separation, which is a legal document similar to a divorce. Nothing else is legally separation. So, not living together – living together but not talking – being married but having an open marriage – all of those things are not legal separation. As far as DSS HRA representatives and the bureau of fraud investigation are concerned, no legal separation means no separation at all.

Q: Me and my husband are legally separated. Does that mean that he is not a part of the household?

A: Real legal separations are rare, because people can usually get a divorce for the same money. I for one have not seen one. But if one does happen, then yes, the two parties would be in a separate household. Unless they have children together.

Q: The father of my children and I are not married. Is he a part of the household?

A: DSS HRA rules about children’s fathers who are not married to the children’s mothers are complicated. In many cases, an unmarried domestic partner is a part of the household when you have children together. Things such as living together, claiming children as dependents on an income tax and contributing to the family’s budget can easily tip the scale towards being considered a part of the household.

Exception: If you are a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence, under certain circumstances your husband or partner is not a part of your household.

The examples here apply to Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus investigations as well.

If you are being investigated for New York City HRA DSS Medicaid or SNAP (foodstamp) fraud, do not delay, contact an attorney immediately. My name is Albert Goodwin and I can be reached at (212) 233-1233 or by email here.

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