Pennsylvania Supports People with Disabilities Who Want To Work

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and we wanted to take this opportunity to remind readers about some of the ways Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program can support people with disabilities who want to work and/or keep competitive, integrated employment.

Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) Helps People Keep Medicaid

The Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) is a Medicaid program available to people with disabilities who are working. MAWD income and resource limits are higher than other Medicaid programs. People in MAWD must pay a premium for their Medicaid coverage that is based on their countable income. Even with the premium, MAWD coverage can be more affordable than other coverage options and allows people to get or keep Medicaid’s comprehensive benefit package. Click here for PHLP’s video about MAWD.

MAWD can also help people get or keep Home & Community Based Services Waiver (Waiver) benefits. Waiver programs offer various long-term services and supports to help people live as independently as possible in their homes and communities such as personal assistance services, nursing services, assistive technology, and home adaptations. Sometimes people meet the clinical criteria for a Waiver program but not the financial eligibility criteria. Getting MAWD can help someone get Waiver benefits when they might not otherwise qualify. The MAWD financial guidelines are more generous than the Waiver guidelines. If someone meets the clinical criteria for a Waiver and meets the eligibility requirements for MAWD, they can get both Waiver and MAWD.

MAWD Expansion is Coming

MAWD Expansion will be implemented after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. The public health emergency was renewed earlier this month and is currently in place until January 2023 when it may or may not be renewed again.

Individuals who have been on MAWD for at least the last 12 months, without a break, can start earning more income from work now. After the public health emergency ends and their Medicaid benefits are renewed, they should be moved to the new MAWD category called Workers with Job Success if their income is over the income limit for MAWD.  Click here for more information.

Medicaid Waiver Programs Offer Employment Support Services

People who get Waiver services may be able to get employment support services to help them achieve their employment goals. The employment support services available to people differ depending on the Waiver program someone gets and are based on the person’s needs and goals. Examples of employment services include Career Assessment, Job Coaching, and Employment Skills Development Services. Individuals in any of the Waiver programs interested in employment supports should talk to their Service Coordinator/Supports Coordinator to find out what services are available and what, if any, limits apply.