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The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People With Disabilities (MBI-WPD)

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Posted: 04 Jun, 2009
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Updated: 07 Dec, 2022
by Valerie Bogart (New York Legal Assistance Group)

The Medicaid Buy-in for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD) is a special program for individuals with disabilities under age 65 who have work income.  Under MBI-WPD, individuals are eligible for full Medicaid benefits at much higher incomes than individuals who are not working.   The income limit is 250% of the Federal Poverty Line, after more than half of gross earned income is disregarded.   This allows them to earn more income without the risk of losing health coverage.  See how earned income is calculated for anyone with a disability or who is age 65+ here.

The official State website on this program has basic information, including the current income and resource limits which change every year with the Federal Poverty Line.  2022  levels are in Box 5 in the Medicaid Income and Resource Levels Chart.  Check back for updates for 2023. 

Jan. 1, 2023- Asset limits will increase to these limits (see GIS 22 MA/11): 

  • Singles    increase from   $20,000 to $28,133          
  • Couples   increase from   $30,000 to  $37,902

Applications for MBI-WPD should include the usual components of a Medicaid application, as well as proof of disability, proof of employment, and two additional forms:

LAW:  NY Social Services Law § 366(1)(a)(14 - 15), §  367-a(15).  State directives include:

Through the NY Makes Work Pay project -- www.nymakesworkpay.org --Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo, funded by a subgrant from Cornell University, has extensive resources to encourage enrollment in MBI-WPD, including:

  • Online Guide to Medicaid Buy-In program

  • Statewide Work Incentives Hotline (toll-free 1-888.224-3272).  Answer any questions about the range of Social Security, SSI, Medicaid and Medicare work incentives, including questions on the MBI-WPD.

  • Facilitated MBI-WPD enrollment.  Hotline staff will spend extra time with individuals to help facilitate their enrollment in the Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities Program. The client or advocate can call the toll-free number.  In some cases, the hotline may refer the case to a participating agency in a region of the state. 

Direct links to some key policy-to-practice briefs:

  •   Self Help Guides

    • Medicaid & Work: Keeping Your Medicaid While You Work  PDF (232 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)
    • Earned Income Tax Credit: How to Use the Tax Credit to Build Assets  PDF (271 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)

    • Ticket to Work: Choosing the Right Employment Network  PDF (440 KB)  |  TEXT (8 KB) 

    • Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions  PDF (231 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)

      Plan for Achieving Self Support: How You Can Use PASS to Grow Your Assets  PDF (275 KB)  |  TEXT (7 KB)

    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Calculating the Impact of Earnings on Benefits Supplemental Security Income  PDF (279 KB)  |  TEXT (13 KB)

This article was authored by the Empire Justice Center.

Empire Justice Center

Attached files
item MAP-628C MBI-WPD documentation checklist.pdf (143 kb) Download
item MBIWPD training 5_12.ppt (508 kb) Download
item MAP-101 MBI-WPD prescreening document.pdf (76 kb) Download
item HRA MAPDR-01 2023 Income-Resource Levels (02-23-2023).pdf (305 kb) Download

Also read
item Income and Resource Limits for New York State Public Health Insurance Programs
item Keeping Medicaid after Cash Public Assistance or SSI Benefits Are Terminated
item KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Fact Sheet Explaining Basic Rules on NYS Financial Medicaid Eligibility for People who are Disabled, Aged 65+, or Blind
item Know Your Rights: NYLAG Webinars on Medicare and Medicaid -
item Special Medicaid Income Rules That May Eliminate Your "Spend-down" or "Surplus Income"

External links
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/program/buy_in/index.htm
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg http://nymakesworkpay.org/
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg http://nymakesworkpay.org/m-resources.cfm#Research

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