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Indigent Services FAQ - Ada County Clerk

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Indigent Services FAQ

General Application Questions

What is the Indigent Assistance Program?

The Indigent Assistance Program provides limited help to Ada County residents when no other options exist. In certain cases, the county can help residents pay their medical bills, rent, utilities, and cremation costs. The program is mandated by state law.

What requirements must be met in order to receive help from Ada County

In order to receive assistance from the county, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Proof no other options are available. You must show documentation that you have applied for and have been denied assistance from other public or private resources. Ada County Indigent Services should be used as a last resort.
  • You must be a resident of Idaho who has lived in Ada County for at least 30 consecutive days prior to filing an application.
  • You must be employed or be able to demonstrate they are actively searching for a job.
  • Complete and file an application with a notarized signature.
  • All applications should be typed or completed in blue or black ink.
  • All applicants, and if applicable their spouse, must be interviewed by the county and cooperate with the staff’s application investigation.

Are there limitations to Ada County's assistance?

There are different limitations depending on the type of assistance your seeking.

Housing Assistance

Ada County provides short-term assistance when other options are not available. We do not provide continuing or long-term assistance.

Assistance from the county is limited to one month’s service in a 12-month period.  If you have received help from another county in Idaho, it will be factored into our calculation. Assistance is not available if you voluntarily quit your job or were fired within 30 days prior to filing an application

Medical Assistance

If you are seeking help for medical assistance, please speak with a service worker because each case is unique.

What should you consider before applying for assistance?

You will be required to seek help from federal, state or other community programs prior to receiving help from the county. If you receive any assistance from Ada County, you may be required to reimburse the county. Please talk with your service worker about your specific situation. If the county helps pay your medical bills a lien will be placed on any property you own until you can repay Ada County.

If you are seeking rent or utility assistance, all adult members of a household, even if they did not file the application, may be required to submit to an interview. When the county reviews applications, they will investigate the ability of adult household members to work and their available resources.

What if I have questions when filling out an application?

If you have any questions, please contact Ada County Indigent Services at (208) 287-7960 before you submit your application. Submitting an incomplete application may result in denial of your application.

How long will it take to determine if I am eligible for assistance>

Once a completed application and required information is submitted, it will be reviewed by a deputy clerk and the information will be verified. Upon completion of the review, your request will be presented to the Board of Ada County Commissioners. This will occur within 15 to 45 days of the date your application is received by Ada County Indigent Services depending on the type of application submitted. Once the Board makes their decision a written copy of that decision will be mailed to you.

If my application is denied, can I appeal?

Yes, you may appeal a denial of your application with the Ada County Commissioners. Our office can help you file a formal appeal. If you are appealing a decision on a medical assistance application, you must file your appeal within 28 days of the date of your initial determination. If you are appealing a rent, utility or cremation assistance application, you must file your appeal within 30 days of receiving your initial determination.  If you need to file an appeal for a tax hardship, it must be done through District Court. If you do not file your appeal within the designated timeframe, the decision of the Board of Commissioners is final. There is no cost to file an appeal.

Once you file an appeal, a hearing will be scheduled before the Ada County Board of Commissioners. You will receive a notice with the location and time for your hearing. You have a right to attend the hearing and explain your appeal to the Board.

If your medical assistance application was denied, please know your healthcare provider may file an appeal even if you decide not to move forward.

Rent and Utility Questions

When can rent and utility applications be filed?

At the earliest, you can file rent and utility assistance applications two weeks prior to your bill being due.

What information is needed for a rent assistance application?

You must submit an application and provide:

  • Bank statements for the 30-day period preceding the submission of their application
  • A copy of a valid typed lease. Handwritten leases will not be considered
  • Additional information may be required. Your service worker will speak with you about any additional documentation you may need and give you additional time to submit the information

In what circumstances will Ada County deny rent assistance?

Ada County will not make a rent payment if:

  • Rent is being paid to a relative of any degree or relation, including in-laws
  • You are subject to court eviction proceedings
  • A Co-signer is listed on the lease
  • Rent is past due – unless a landlord verifies in writing that they will not institute eviction proceedings after payment.

The county will not pay the first month of rent, security deposits, late fees, more for rent than what is set forth in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department guidelines, interest penalties, mortgages, hotel or motel charges or parking rent for RV’s. Ada County will also not make rent payments to:

  • Transitional homes
  • Recovery housing
  • Boarding houses specifically provided for former felons
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Rest homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation facilities

What utility fees will Ada County not pay for?

Ada County is unable to pay for:

  • Initial connection or reconnection fees
  • Late Fees
  • Penalties or interest
  • Irrigation fees
  • Internet, satellite TV or cable TV
  • Any type of phone service
  • Sewage, garbage or trash collection fees (except where water, sewer, and trash are billed on a single billing document)
  • Costs associated with septic tank cleaning or maintenance or replacement
  • Vehicle expenses
  • Anything other than necessary living expenses

If there is a co-signer on the account, the county will not be able to provide assistance.

What requirements must be met for Ada County to pay a utility bill?

To receive financial assistance for a utility bill, the account must be in your name, your spouse’s name or if the account is not in either of your names, you must demonstrate you are expected to pay the utilities. Utility assistance will only be granted for your current address.

Can trash service be temporarily suspended?

In certain cases, you may suspend residential service for 30 to 90 days for a temporary vacancy. If you choose this option or would like further information about this, you must contact Ada County Billing Services at (208) 577-4713.

How long can my trash billing be exempted?

Approved exemptions from trash billings are only valid for one year from the date of approval by the Board of County Commissioners. Upon expiration of the one year, you may submit a new application.

Medical Assistance Questions

If I qualify for medical assistance, how much will the Indigent Program pay?

If your application is approved, Ada County Indigent Services will pay the bill for your medical care. By law, your provider cannot seek additional payment from you. Please keep in mind, you are eventually expected to pay the county back and a lien will be placed on your property until the county has been reimbursed. This ensures others in the community can receive help when they need it most.

Do I have to pay the county back for money spend on my medical care?

If your application is approved, Ada County Indigent Services will pay the bill for your medical care at the county Medicaid rate.  This will be less than the actual billed amount and will be treated as payment in full.  The amount the county pays will be the only amount you will need to pay back.  By law, your provider cannot seek additional payment from you.  Please keep in mind, you are eventually expected to pay the county back and a lien will be placed on your property until the county has been reimbursed for the amount paid by the county.  There is no interest on this amount.  This ensures that others in the community can receive help when they need it most. Please read our Liens and Reimbursement Policy for more information

Which medical services are covered by Ada County Indigent Services?

Assistance can only be provided for necessary medical services as deemed by Idaho law. Your medical records will be reviewed by the county’s medical advisor to determine if your treatment meets the necessary state requirements.

How do I apply for medical assistance?

Anyone seeking help paying their medical bills must complete and file an application form with our office. Your signature on the application must be notarized. Your signature can be notarized at the Ada County Indigent Services office.

When do I need to file my medical assistance application?

  • If the medical service is an emergency, you must file your application within 31 days beginning with the first day you received medical treatment.
  • If the medical service is not an emergency, you must file your application no later than 10 days prior to receiving services.
  • If you will need additional treatment related to an original diagnosis in accordance with a preapproved treatment plan, you must file your application 10 days prior to receiving the services.
  • If you receive medical treatment with the expectation that Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, third party insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, crime victim’s compensation and/or worker’s compensation will cover your care and find out after the fact your claim has been denied, you may submit an application for medical assistance if it is filed within 180 days after your first treatment and you include written documentation showing you submitted a claim

Is a lien placed against my property if I receive financial assistance for my medical bills?

Yes. Once you apply for financial assistance to help with medical bills an automatic lien will be placed on your home, land and personal property.  Under Idaho law, insurance benefits that you may become entitled to and any additional resources would also be subject to the lien. The lien will remain in effect until you can reimburse the county.

Cremation Assistance Questions

When can a cremation application be filed?

Cremation assistance applications must be filed by a family member or friend once a loved one has passed and prior to their cremation. Individuals cannot submit applications prior to their death. However, they can fill out the application and give it to a family member or friend to submit if they feel cremation assistance will be necessary.

What are the limitations around Cremation Assistance?

Ada County will pay for cremation and burial services up to $800.  Ada County will not pay for remains to be transferred in or out of the county, to exhume an individual who was buried as an indigent, headstones or any other type of memorial.

For more information please refer to the Ada County Ordinance regarding Indigent Deceased.

Property Tax Assistance Questions

What information does Ada County use when determining a tax hardship?

The Board of County Commissioners will consider the following when determining if a tax hardship exists:

  • The household’s necessary monthly living expenses and income and public benefits currently being received. Necessary monthly expenses do not include items such as cable, internet or multiple telephones. Certain expenses have a maximum allowable amount set by the Board of County Commissioners.
  • All assets, including but not limited to bank, investment, retirement, stocks, bonds, mutual fund and savings accounts; and personal property such as extra vehicles, recreational vehicles, boats, ATV’s.
  • Any real property you own or are in the process of purchasing and any equity in that property.
  • Whether property taxes are included in your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Whether there is sufficient disposable income, after considering all household income and necessary expenses, to pay the taxes within twelve months.
  • Whether there are sufficient assets (real property or personal property) that could be sold to pay the taxes.
  • Whether the taxes in question have already been paid.
  • Whether you are behind in paying the property taxes for three years.
  • Whether you occupy the property as your primary place of residence.
  • Whether you have exhausted all other resources prior to applying for a hardship cancellation, including applying with other assistance programs such as the Circuit Breaker program through the Assessor’s Office/Idaho State Tax Commission.
    If you are less than 3 years behind on your real property taxes, you may make partial payments without contacting the Ada County Commissioners or the Treasurer. If you choose this option you will incur late fees and interest. If you fall behind in paying these taxes 3 years or more, however, you will face additional fees and penalties, and your property will be subject to a tax deed, pursuant to title 63, chapter 10, Idaho Code. F

If you aren’t able to pay the property taxes on your mobile home by the due date, please contact the Ada County Treasurer, 208-287-6800, or our office, 208-287-7960, for information about your options.