WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. – It was a letter from the State of Colorado that the parents of Kenai Zamora had to read three times to make sure they were reading it correctly.
“He’s only 3 years old, come on now,” laughed his dad Frank Zamora.
But Frank and Melissa Zamora weren’t laughing about the letter’s content, which said their son made too much income to qualify for his Medicaid benefits.
“I really don’t worry so much about him getting sick, but he's very active, if he gets hurt, breaks a bone, gets sick ... I mean we can't pay for it,” said mom Melissa Zamora.
The letter was sent from Jefferson County Human Services and according to records from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Kenai Zamora’s income “was $6,520.00 from 7/01/2014 … which will disqualify some or all members of the household” from their Medicaid benefits.
“If they do cut him (Kenai) off, it takes months to get him back on,” said his worried dad.
When Frank’s wife called the Fraud Division at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment she said he was told to call the employer listed in the letter, who reported Kenai’s income, and ask him to call the state to fix the mistake.
“Fraud investigation wanted me to do it so then, well, then I should get their salaries you know, if I'm going to do their job ,” said an exasperated Melissa Zamora.
The Zamoras complained state workers were not willing to double-check their income records until FOX31 Denver placed a call on the couple’s behalf.
In an email, the CDOLE admitted its “data entry staff made a typographical error … that was probably just one number different from the correct Social Security Number.”
In addition, Jefferson County Human Services said in an email, “We appreciate it being brought to our attention regarding the Zamora’s child, and have taken steps in our system to prevent any lapse in Medicaid for their child.”
The Zamoras said they’re thankful to finally have the issue resolved and still tease their son about his so-called income.
“’Kenai,’ I said, ‘So where’s all this money you're hiding from me?’ And he said, ‘I play with my toys, OK?’ And that’s his answer,” said his mother.
A spokeswoman for Jefferson County Human Services said that anytime computer records find an income discrepancy, a warning letter is automatically sent to the Medicaid customer, even when that customer turns out to be a 3-year-old child.