Originally published: 10/2007
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance for basic needs. Individuals with a low-income who are over the age of 65, blind, or have a disability are eligible for assistance. SSI beneficiaries typically also receive health insurance coverage through Medicaid. Losing Medicaid benefits can be of concern for SSI recipients with disabilities who desire to work, or are currently working. Section 1619b of the Social Security Act allows individuals to work and continue to receive Medicaid assistance when their earnings are too high to qualify for SSI cash payments as long as they meet other eligibility requirements for the SSI program and continue to need Medicaid in order to work.
Researchers explored how many SSI recipients with disabilities work and how many participate in 1619b. Results are displayed in the table found on page 2. In the U.S. as a whole, 25.7% of working SSI recipients participated in 1619bin 2006. The percentage of working SSI recipients who participate in 1619b varied from state to state. Nebraska (20.4%), South Carolina (20.4%), and Ohio (20.7%) had the lowest, and Hawaii (36.5%), the District of Columbia (33.5%), and Florida (33.7%) had the highest percentage of employed SSI recipients participating in 1619b. Additionally, researchers found a moderate, negative relationship between the number of SSI recipients with disabilities who work within a state, and the percentage that are enrolled in the 1619b program (r = - .363, p < .01). In other words, states that have more working SSI recipients with disabilities tend to have fewer participants in the 1619b program. This could be due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to the ability of individuals to access medical insurance through employers, or the capacity of states with large SSI recipient populations to communicate information about 1619b to eligible individuals.
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