Medicaid Appeal Not Timely Filed

A Georgia appeals court holds that a woman filing an appeal of a Medicaid decision has 30 days from when the ALJ's decision was mailed to her, not from when she received it. Gladowski v. Department of Family and Children Services(Ga. Ct. App., No. A06A1706, August 25, 2006).

Sylvia Gladowski applied for Medicaid benefits. She qualified for Medicaid, but the state delayed her benefits, claiming she improperly transferred assets. She appealed the decision to an administrative law judge who ruled against her. The final decision was mailed to her on December 14, 2004.

On January 18, 2004, Ms. Gladowski filed a petition for judicial review of the decision with the trial court. The court affirmed the administrative decision, finding that Ms. Gladowski had not timely filed her appeal. Under state law, parties must file a petition for judicial review within 30 days after the "service" of the final decision. Ms. Gladowski appealed, arguing she had 30 days from when she received the letter. She also argued that the state's Civil Practice Act allowed an additional three days to respond if service was by mail.

The Court of Appeals of Georgia affirms, holding that Ms. Gladowski was required to file her appeal within 30 days of when the decision was mailed to her. The court notes that other sections of the statute refer to "receipt" whereas this section refers to "service" therefore "service" means the date on which the final decision is mailed, not the date it is received. According to the court, the three-day rule does not apply to administrative decisions.

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