The effort to expand Medicaid to low-income individuals and families in Virginia is over. The battle to include Medicaid expansion in the 2014 budget was lost when the unexpected retirement of a member of the general assembly in June switched the balance of political power in the Virginia Senate. Although more “discussion” is promised by the legislators, talk seldom translates into action when partisan politics rule the day.

This means that, in order for impoverished adults without children to receive adequate basic health care in Virginia, they must still meet Social Security disability requirements by applying for and being approved for Social Security disability insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

To meet Social Security disability requirements, you must first be unable to work because of disability. Your disability must be proven by having evidence of medical treatment of a disabling condition that is clear and convincing. It generally helps if you have a treating physician to answer questions about whether you meet Social Security disability requirements. As we have argued before in this blog, charitable clinics and hospitals are no substitute for basic healthcare such as that made available through Medicaid.

We at The Law Offices of Goss and Fentress help disabled persons in both Virginia and Maryland prove that they meet Social Security disability requirements. Maryland has approved Medicaid expansion, while Virginia has not. As Dr. Darrell J. Gaskin recently explained in the Baltimore Sun, the starkly contrasting experience in the two states makes us wonder whether Virginia should not change its mind on this issue.

Unless that happens, the key to healthcare in Virginia for the poor and unemployed will continue to be their ability to meet Social Security disability requirements by applying for and being approved for Social Security disability insurance and/or SSI.