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Pennsylvania raises medical assistance income cap

(By Christen Smith | The Center Square) – Workers with disabilities in Pennsylvania can now earn up to $61,000 annually before losing access to some of their medical assistance benefits.

Act 69 became law on July 1 and nearly doubles the $32,000 income cap for the program in an attempt to address widespread unemployment and underemployment for recipients often forced to choose between maintaining coverage and accepting a higher paying job.

Rep. Katie Klunk, R-Hanover, sponsored a version of the legislation in the House and said she was inspired by a man she knew who lived with a “debilitating” medical condition that required ongoing care.

“When he returned to work, he found he would make too much money to qualify for the needed medical services covered by MAWD [Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities],” she said. “Instead of returning to the position he loved, he opted to take a position that pays less in order to continue to contribute while also receiving much-needed services.”

Klunk and her co-sponsor, Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Pittsburgh, said 35% of disabled recipients in the program work and just 21% report full-time employment. Others refuse marriage because their partner’s assets would lead to disqualification.

“For people who require support to get dressed in the morning, getting into their wheelchairs, and meeting other basic necessities of daily living, Medicaid is the sole way to get those needs met,” Klunk said. “That means qualified, hard-working, capable employees must set aside ambition.”

The “Catch-22” many recipients find themselves in is “the opposite of what our public policy should do,” she added.

“That means that families are being denied needed income, individuals are being denied fulfilling professional lives and our communities are being denied the talents of very capable and willing workers,” she said.

Under the new law, workers that earn more than $61,000 won’t lose coverage either. Instead, they’ll contribute more of their earnings to cover their services. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that these changes will expand coverage for 1,000 residents.

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  • How can I receive this benefit? I’m a 71 year old man with a disability. Please contact me and let me know.

      • Here is the contact information for the Adams County Assistance Office:

        Assistance Office Address Telephone/Fax Numbers
        Adams County Assistance Office
        225 South Franklin Street
        P.O. Box 4446
        Gettysburg, PA 17325-4446

        OFFICE HOURS: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

        Toll-Free: 1-800-638-6816
        Phone: (717) 334-6241
        FAX: (717) 334-4104

      • I called and left you my phone number, I would appreciate a call for directions on what to do , please. Thank you

  • This is a good thing fir those that are truly in need. I have a disability that should be in effect until my retirement and for some reason at the age of 62 the social security office decided that my retirement is 62. I was born in 1958….. do the math. I tried to bring it to their attention but with zero success. I don’t know what to do. I even contacted Binder and Binder and he said, Dolores, disability should be yours until your retirement age of 65. I worked hard since I was 15 years old and worked for the Jaycees and I worked many places in between but my best run was with Genuardi’s Family Markets! 15+years of service until I lost feeling in both arms , hands and pain in both shoulders. I could no longer do the work I so loved and could not maintain more than 10 hours total as a worker and it was just not enough to cover all my bills. So disability it was. I wonder just how many Americans like myself have been thrown to the wayside without the knowledge of how to fight back for what I genuinely deserved with disability. 😣 So very sad!

  • Thank you….. now I dont have to limit my hours at work. I even considered dropping to a lower paying position. My employer’s health insurance is so crappy that more then half my checks would go towards my insurance plus the 4k deductuctable. Now I can work my job and required hours without worrying.

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