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Brewer v. Schalansky

278 Kan. 734, 102 P.3d 1145 (2004)

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Brewer v. Schalansky

Kansas Supreme Court

278 Kan. 734, 102 P.3d 1145 (2004)

Facts

Regina Brewer (defendant) applied for Medicaid benefits in Kansas. Brewer owned approximately $33,000 worth of stock in a joint tenancy with her two nieces, Joan Wilson and Regina Hellebuyck. Wilson and Hellebuyck refused to consent to any liquidation of the stock. Wilson was Brewer’s agent pursuant to a power of attorney. Neither Wilson nor Brewer filed a partition action to divide the jointly owned stock into separate portions. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS) (plaintiff) denied Brewer’s Medicaid application because the jointly owned stock was an available resource valued in excess of $2,000. Brewer appealed the denial to the State Appeals Committee, which affirmed after an administrative hearing. Brewer did not present any evidence at the hearing to prove that a partition action would be unlikely to succeed or that the cost of a partition action would exceed the value of the stock. Brewer then sought judicial review. The district court reversed SRS’s denial of Brewer’s Medicaid eligibility, holding that the jointly held stock was not an available resource because (1) Wilson and Hellebuyck would not consent to liquidation; and (2) Brewer was not obligated to seek a partition of the jointly held account because the cost of a partition action would likely exceed the value of the stock. No evidence was presented at trial regarding the cost of a partition action. SRS appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Luckert, J.)

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