IN RE: Tracy RYDER

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York.

IN RE: Tracy RYDER, as Executrix for Estate of Mary Bosma, Deceased, Petitioner, v. Richard F. DAINES, M.D., Commissioner, New York State Department of Health, Lucille A. Soldato, Commissioner, Oneida County Department of Social Services, and Oneida County Department of Social Services, Respondents.

Decided: December 31, 2008

PRESENT:  CENTRA, J.P., FAHEY, PERADOTTO, GREEN, AND GORSKI, JJ. David J. Zumpano, New Hartford (Robert K. Hilton, III, of Counsel), for Petitioner. Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General, Albany (Kathleen M. Treasure of Counsel), for Respondent Richard F. Daines, M.D., Commissioner, New York State Department of Health. John A. Herbowy, Utica, for Respondents Lucille A. Soldato, Commissioner, Oneida County Department of Social Services, and Oneida County Department of Social Services.

Decedent commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding to challenge the determination following a fair hearing that decedent's application date for purposes of determining the amount of decedent's retroactive Medicaid benefits was the date on which decedent re-applied for benefits with proper documentation, rather than the date of decedent's initial application for such benefits.   Decedent subsequently died, whereupon the executrix of her estate was substituted as the petitioner.   We note at the outset that petitioner does not raise a substantial evidence issue, and Supreme Court thus erred in transferring this proceeding to us pursuant to CPLR 7804(g).  Nevertheless, we consider the merits of the amended petition in the interest of judicial economy (see Matter of Rauch v. DeBuono, 265 A.D.2d 797, 696 N.Y.S.2d 923;  Matter of Moulden v. Coughlin, 210 A.D.2d 997, 621 N.Y.S.2d 250).   Although the initial application of decedent for Medicaid benefits was denied based on her failure to provide adequate documentation, the record establishes that respondent Oneida County Department of Social Services (DSS) entered into a stipulation with decedent after receiving the required documentation, pursuant to which DSS agreed to withdraw its initial denial and to reevaluate the initial application.   We thus conclude that the determination of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) refusing to apply the initial application date must be annulled inasmuch as the ALJ thereby violated the terms of the stipulation, and we remit the matter to DSS to determine the amount of decedent's retroactive Medicaid benefits based on the date of decedent's initial application.

It is hereby ORDERED that the determination is unanimously annulled on the law without costs, the amended petition is granted, and the matter is remitted to respondent Oneida County Department of Social Services for further proceedings.

MEMORANDUM: