There is the common apprehension for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries that the loss of the benefit will lead to the loss of Medical Assistance coverage that, in Maryland amongst the majority of states, comes as part of the package. In many situations that is indeed the case: if you’re no longer deemed disabled, you lose the SSI and MA; if your resources or countable income exceed those low, low limits, ($2000 and $841 respectively) then you’re left high and dry by the state. However, there are provisions in place for certain cases, including those who benefit from the Pickle Amendment, which was highlighted in these pages a fortnight ago.
One more small section of former SSI recipients who also qualify to keep their MA without issue are those who lose any kind of SSI payment because they have become eligible for Childhood Disability Benefits (aka Disabled Adult Child).
CDB is the Title II benefit that’s available to people who are at least 18 years old, were determined to be disabled before the age of 22, and who have at least one parent who reached ‘insured’ status but is now retired, receiving SSDI, or has died.
The key eligibility factors to keep your MA if you do become eligible for CDB are: you have to have had an SSI payment before you became eligible for CDB; you have to still be considered disabled; your countable resources still need to be below $2000; and your countable unearned income, when you don’t count your CDB payments, has to be below $841. Importantly, you can still qualify for MA in Maryland if you’re working and your earned income would have reduced your SSI to $0, as long as your countable earned income is below $44,729 per annum.
In most cases it’s quite a simple state of affairs, and Social Security let the local DSS office know of the situation. DSS have their rule book and it quite clearly states in the Maryland Medical Assistance Coverage Groups Guide that this provision exists. However, for whatever reason, it has been the case that DSS workers don’t understand the rule still applies for those whose earned income has reduced the SSI to $0. It can be a battle to convince them, but it’s a battle worth fighting for the facts are on your side.