TWWIIA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton on December 17, 1999. (Happy Anniversary, TWWIIA!) It didn’t change Social Security rules over night, but will phase in a number of changes over the next 5 to 10 years. Here’s what has happened so far:
Extended Medicare (for people on SSDI or RSDI)
-Starting October 1, 2000, working people with disabilities on Medicare may continue their Medicare coverage for at least 93 months (7 years and 9 months) after the end of their Trial Work Period. (Previously, Medicare continued for 39 months after the end of the Trial Work Period.)
-People with disabilities who are clearly eligible for Extended Medicare are those with Medicare coverage as of September 30, 2000 or later. These individuals should have received a letter from Social Security telling them they will qualify if they are already working or if they take a job in the future.
-Some working people with disabilities may be eligible for Extended Medicare, even if their Medicare ended prior to September 30th. People in this group may not receive a letter from Social Security.
If in doubt, contact your local Social Security office for information about your specific situation.
Expedited Reinstatement (for those on SSI, SSDI or RSDI)
-Beginning January 1, 2001, those on SSI or SSDI/RSDI whose cash benefits have been terminated can ask for reinstatement within 60 months (5 years) of termination if they stop working because of their disability.
-Reinstatement of benefits will occur more quickly than in the past, but it is not yet clear exactly how quickly.
– Those whose benefits are reinstated may receive up to 6 months of “provisional” benefits while Social Security reviews their case.
Note: People on the SSI 1619(b) program and people in the SSDI/RSDI Extended Period of Eligibility may not be receiving cash benefits, but have not had their benefits fully terminated. If their income drops, their benefits can be re-started without going through the “Expedited Reinstatement” process.
For information about individual situations, contact your local Social Security office.
DHS receives Grant for MA-EPD Evaluation!
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has been awarded a major grant from the federal, Health Care Financing Administration with funds authorized under TWWIIA. Part of the grant will be used to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) program. We encourage all those on MA-EPD to cooperate fully with this evaluation when it is conducted over the next couple of years. The evaluation will provide data to show policy makers the value of MA-EPD in allowing people with disabilities to work and become more self-sufficient. This data is critically needed to ensure that MA-EPD will continue to exist for many years to come!
Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency
TWWIIA includes a provision called the “Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency”, which will provide “Tickets” (vouchers) to people, ages 18 to 64, on SSI, SSDI and RSDI. “Tickets” will be used to obtain services the individual needs in order to work. Services will be provided by “Employment Networks,” which may include public or private vocational rehabilitation agencies, or groups of vocational agencies, approved by the Social Security Administration.
The “Ticket” program will be phased in across the country beginning January 1, 2001. By January 1, 2004, the program is scheduled to be available in all states.
The “Ticket” program will not be available in Minnesota until after the end of 2001. The “Ticket” program will be implemented first in the following 13 states:
Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, & Wisconsin
You can have input on “Ticket” rules!
On Thursday, December 28, 2000, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published proposed regulations in the Federal Register. This announcement contains a draft of specific rules about how the “Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency” program will work. The text of these proposed rules can be found on SSA’s website at: http://www.ssa.gov/work
Comments about these proposed rules must be submitted by February 26, 2001, and mailed to:
Commissioner of Social Security
P.O. Box 17703, Baltimore, MD 21235-7703
Or sent by fax to: (410) 966-2830; or sent by e-mail to [email protected]
The Minnesota Work Incentives Connection is a statewide project, which helps people with disabilities go to work by providing clear, comprehensive information about how government benefits are affected by employment. For more information, call the Minnesota Work Incentives Connection at (651) 632-5113 or (800) 976-6728.