By Carol Meredith, Executive Director
As the minimum wage increases, it is really important to pay attention to your bank accounts and make sure you don’t have too much money. Pay all your bills on time. If you need help, you may want to call a benefits management counselor.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) want to work, just like most adults. Work provides not only money to buy things that people what and need, but opportunities for personal growth, new friends and activities in the community.
Many people with IDD also need some help to live, play and work in the community. Often, they need help with activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, taking medications, using transportation, managing money, cooking, cleaning, problem-solving and social interactions. When people need this kind of help, they often get it through a Medicaid waiver program like Supported Living Services or the HCBS-DD/Comprehensive programs. They go to their Community Centered Board (CCB) to see if they qualify for these services and if they do, they will get someone to help them manage those services (case manager or resource coordinator). These programs are often called “long-term care programs” because unlike a broken arm or the flu, the diagnosis that allows people to access this program does not go away after treatment. It is usually a condition that people will have for the rest of their lives.
Medicaid is a health insurance program that only provides services to people who don’t make a lot of money. If you make too much money, you won’t be able to get these services from Medicaid. Medicaid is not the only program that people with disabilities use to make a life in the community. Other programs that require people not to have a lot of money to help them are: Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), Food stamps (SNAP), Section 8 Housing vouchers, and others.
It is complicated!
For people who need or want to keep their services under the waivers, they cannot have a lot of money in their bank accounts or other places. They have to spend their money to make sure that they don’t have more than $2,000 at any one time. They can save some of this money without losing benefits through an ABLE account.