Many SSI recipients are nervous to get a job because they are afraid of losing their Medicaid coverage. Fortunately, there is a work incentive in place that helps SSI recipients keep their Medicaid coverage while holding a job, even when they earn too much money to receive SSI cash benefits. This work incentive is called 1619(b). Read below to learn more about 1619(b) and how this work incentive could benefit you.
What is 1619(b)?
Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act is considered to be one of the most significant and helpful work incentives for people who receive SSI. Section 1619(b) allows SSI recipients to stay on Medicaid, even when their income is too high to stay eligible for SSI benefits. The purpose of section 1619(b) is to support people with disabilities who earn enough income to sustain themselves without cash benefits, but not enough income to offset the loss of Medicaid eligibility. This incentive is specifically for SSI recipients who exceed the SSI income eligibility due to earnings from employment.
If I receive SSI, how can 1619(b) help me?
If you receive SSI, 1619(b) can help you keep your Medicaid when your monthly income exceeds the threshold of SSI eligibility. The maximum amount of income an SSI recipient can earn per month while keeping their cash benefits is $771 per month for an individual and $1,157 per month for couples. So, if you are not married and your income exceeds $771 per month because you started a new career, or because you picked up another part-time job, 1619(b) can help you keep your Medicaid benefits even if your SSI cash benefits are reduced to $0.
However, 1619(b) does not go into place automatically after you exceed the SSI cash benefit threshold. You must consult an SSI Claims Representative to have your 1619(b) Extended Medicaid Coverage put in place. Make sure to seek the help of an SSI Claims Representative before you stop receiving your SSI cash benefits if you would like to be considered for 1619(b).
For help with this, please fill out this survey to be matched with a SSI Claims Representative:
Who is eligible for 1619(b)?
Not all SSI recipients who exceed the SSI monthly income limit is qualified for 1619(b). To be eligible for 1619(b), you must:
- Have received SSI benefits for at least one month in the past
- Still meet the definition of “disabled” or “blind” under the law
- Meet the Social Security asset requirements (meaning countable resources must be under $2,000 for a single individual or $3,000 for an eligible couple)
- Not exceed your state’s 1619(b) annual income earning amount
- Have used Medicaid within the past 12 months, expect to use Medicaid within the next 12 months, or you must be unable to pay your medical bills without Medicaid in the next 12 months
As you can see, there are certain income restrictions that can affect 1619(b) eligibility. To keep your Medicaid coverage under 1619(b), you must adhere to the SSA’s asset requirements and keep your income below a certain level. The 1619(b) annual income earning amount varies from state-to-state; for example, SSI recipients in D.C. can earn up to $44,689 per year and keep their Medicaid, while SSI recipients in Pennsylvania can earn up to $38,431 per year and keep their Medicaid. People who exceed their state’s annual income earning amount are not eligible for 1619(b) unless they fall under one of these exceptions:
- Impairment-related work expenses; or
- A plan to achieve self-support; or
- Personal attendant whose fees are publicly funded; or
- Medical expenses above the average State amount.
To see the different state-by-state annual income earning amounts, visit https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/1619b.htm.
We can help!
If you are interested in working but not yet employed and would like to receive a free WIPA benefits counselor to answer questions about 1619(b), please fill out this survey:
If you are currently working or about to start a new job and would like to receive a free Ticket to Work benefits counselor to answer questions about 1619(b), please fill out this survey: