Brittney is a St. Louis resident and single mother of three children. Brittney has relied on Medicaid since 2017 to provide health care services for her children. She recently found out she was cut from services when she attempted to enroll her children in daycare. She was told her Medicaid coverage had lapsed and that she needed to reapply for services. Brittney was confused by this as she knew she has submitted all the paperwork received by Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
One of her children, Karis, is one-year-old and has disabilities which require an oxygen tank. Brittney was scared and frustrated when she was told she had to reapply for coverage for her daughters. As she states, “I would never forget to do paperwork, these are my babies. I would never forget”. Brittney shares that she could not get through to anyone with SSI on the phone and ended up having to take all three of her young children to the SSI office to find out the status of her Medicaid coverage. She was told she made too much money and her Medicaid and Food Stamps have been taken from her. Brittney works part time as a home health nurse and her income has not changed since she originally applied and received Medicaid. The response from SSI left her confused on how to remedy this situation.
Brittney states that she had to make several trips to the SSI office in the winter months with her children, a task that caused severe stress for her and her children. She goes on to say, “me having to take my kids in and out of the cold gave my kid pneumonia. People in the waiting room are judging me for bringing my kids to the office, no one is helping me. Everything is falling apart in front of my eyes”. Karis continues to struggle with pneumonia and had a surgery scheduled to test her lungs and make a plan for her improved breathing. Because her Medicaid was cancelled, the hospital canceled this surgery and gave Brittney no other suggestion for how to care for her daughter.
As it stands, Brittney struggles to pay her bills and fears her utilities will be shut off soon. If this happens, her daughter’s oxygen tank will not be functional and Brittney does not know what she will do. Securing Medicaid for her three daughters would eliminate one financial burden for Brittney’s family. For Brittney, securing Medicaid for her daughters, especially for her youngest, is a matter of life and death.