My name is Stephanie Drum, and I am a Work Incentives Benefits Specialist (WIBS) here at ERI (Employment Resources, Inc.). If you didn’t know already, I really like working with benefits. I unfairly have favorite work incentives, which is what I am writing about today. It’s one of the more unknown and misunderstood work incentives offered to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. This work incentive is called Continued Medicaid Eligibility Section 1619(b). The name says it all! The purpose is to protect Medicaid eligibility for SSI recipients who work.
Many people simply don’t know about 1619(b) because they haven’t thought about working yet or don’t know anything about work incentives. Even more often, people think it is too good to be true!
Here are some quick eligibility points for 1619(b):
- Have to have SSI for at least one month
- Must have assets below $2,000 (for an individual)
- Have to be eligible for SSI in all non-financial ways – have a disability, citizenship, etc.
- Would be otherwise eligible for SSI if it weren’t for their earned income
- Have gross annual earnings below the threshold for the year – in 2014 this amount is $33,361 for most people (some individuals can have higher annual thresholds)
*There are more details specifically for married couples.
People can work and earn enough income that they no longer get an SSI payment, and still keep their Medicaid. It happens automatically and requires no applications or requests. This might add to its mystique. It just happens! When someone stops working or reduces their earned income, their SSI payment can restart without a new application. As long as someone reports their income regularly and replies to requests of information from Social Security, 1619(b) can be a refreshingly smooth event for people who get SSI.
Keep in mind, 1619(b) only applies to people who have SSI and not other benefits or types of Medicaid. Also, someone might want to consider MAPP if they want to save more than the $2,000 asset limit tied to 1619(b).
Find out more from your local benefits specialist or Social Security Office, or just call me if you have questions!
*Not all the nitty gritty is included about 1619(b), and the information above is specific to Wisconsin.