Proof of Citizenship Needed for Medicaid Applications or Renewals

Beginning July 1, 2006, Medicaid applicants in most states will have to show proof of citizenship or nationality in order to be eligible for the program. The new requirement is part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which Congress passed in February 2006. It also applies to Medicaid recipients who are renewing their Medicaid eligibility. Applicants have 45 days to supply the documentation. Applicants with disabilities have 90 days. Some states, including California and Ohio, are delaying implementation of the citizenship requirement.

You can prove citizenship by providing one of the following documents:

  • U.S. passport (it does not have to be currently valid as long as it was issued without limitation)
  • Certificate of nationality
  • Certificate of citizenship

If you do not have one of those documents, you can provide one of the following documents with proof of identification (see below):

  • State or local birth certificate
  • Letter from the State Department issued to children born abroad (Certification of Report of Birth, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United
  • States of America, or Certification of Birth Abroad)
  • U.S. citizen identification card issued by the I.N.S.
  • American Indian card
  • Northern Mariana card
  • Final adoption decree
  • Evidence of civil service employment by the United States
  • Official military record of service.

If none of these documents are available, other documentation may be used, including medical records from hospitals, records from life and health insurance companies, and census records. For a complete list of possible documents, click here. (If you do not have the free PDF reader installed on your computer, download it here.)

You will need one following documents to supply proof of identification:

  • Driver's license with photograph
  • Passport issued with limitations
  • School identification card with photograph
  • U.S. military card or draft record
  • Military dependent's identification card
  • Federal, state, or local identification card with same information as driver's license
  • Native American Tribal document
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card

NEWS UPDATE: Medicaid beneficiaries have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the new law requiring proof of citizenship violates the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution regarding due process of law.