October 29, 2014
By Annette Shea, Administration for Community Living Program Specialist
As Sharon Lewis, deputy administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL), noted in her Disability Employment Awareness Month blog post earlier this month, working is about more than earning a paycheck. It gives purpose and structure to our lives. In the late 1990s, the Medicaid Buy-In program launched historic changes for workers with disabilities. For individuals suppressing their income to gain or maintain access to critical community-based supports, it was life changing.
Today the Medicaid Buy-In program continues to provide workers with disabilities an opportunity to improve their economic well-being and achieve a better life. Inspired through the independent living movement, the Medicaid Buy-In program is an optional State Medicaid benefit group for workers with disabilities who have earnings in excess of traditional Medicaid rules. So people with disabilities who would be ineligible for Medicaid because of earnings can work and access the services and supports they need. Ideally, it means workers with disabilities do not need to choose between healthcare and work.
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