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CA Program Helps People with Disabilities Work & Keep Their Benefits

By Leticia Martinez, Salinas, CA

Many people with disabilities who receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Social Security benefits are not aware of the Medicaid Buy-In Program known in California as the 250% California Working Disabled Medi-Cal Program.

This is a work incentives program that encourages people with disabilities, who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security benefits, to go back to work without worrying about losing their Medi-Cal benefits. The Medicaid Buy-In Program allows people with disabilities to earn up to $42,000 per year while continuing to receive Medi-Cal regardless of the type of benefits they received from the Social Security Office. This does not, however, apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients. People with disabilities who are not receiving any medical benefits and are employed can also apply for the Medicaid Buy-In Program to subsidize their employer's medical insurance.

This program was implemented in California in 2000. People with disabilities can apply at their local Medi-Cal office. This is a great incentive for people with disabilities who wish to return to work or are looking to maintain their employment without worrying about losing their healthcare benefits.

Applicants must fulfill the following eligibility criteria: must be a person with a disability; be employed; comply with the income limit of $42,000 per year; comply with limit resources.

The income guidelines are under the 250% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Limit. For a single individual the current limit is $1,846 and the limit for a couple (both must be applying for benefits) is $2,488. This program does require that a premium be paid. It can range from $20 to $250 for a single person and from $30 to $375 for a couple, depending on their wages only.

Californians who are working (or want to work) and need to access healthcare benefits should take advantage of this program. Go to for more information.

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