The poverty threshold based on the 2008 Census was $11,201 for someone under the age of 65 and $22,025 for a family of four. Using those definitions of poverty,
- 25% of individuals with disabilities are poor compared to only 10% of the general population.
- Of all working-age adults living in poverty, 47% have a disability. That’s almost half.
- For individuals reporting long term poverty, 65% have a disability.
- meet expenses
- pay rent or mortgage
- pay utility bills
- get needed medical health care
- get needed dental care
- afford enough food
In summarizing the data presented on the webcast, the following conclusions were drawn:
- The poverty rate for people with disabilities is very high, especially among those with long term disabilities.
- A very large share of those living in poverty in any year have disabilities and that share is even larger when long term disability is considered.
- People with disabilities living in poverty are much more likely than others in poverty to experience material hardship.
- If the official poverty standard reflected the effect of disability on the likelihood of material hardship, people with disabilities would constitute an even larger share of those living in poverty.
Increasingly, work is being identified the best anti-poverty program. Many people with disabilities do not work due to fears about retaining their SSI or SSDI and Medicaid/Medicare health coverage. However, almost all of these individuals live in poverty and/or experience material hardships. The good news is that work incentives to promote integrating people with disabilities into the workforce are available to help people with disabilities increase their income and retain disability-related benefits. The bad news is that they are an under-utilized resource and can be complex to understand. Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) is one work incentive that helps people to retain their health care benefits even when they work.
Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) allows people with disabilities who work to receive Medical Assistance at a lower cost. Minnesotans with disabilities are eligible for MA-EPD if they:
- are employed with earnings from a job of over $65 per month; and
- have been determined to have a disability by either the Social Security Administration or the State Medical Review Team; and
- are ages 16 through 64; and
- have no more than $20,000 in assets, not counting retirement accounts, medical expense accounts, a spouse’s assets, or other assets excluded by MA (such as a home, a vehicle and household goods); and
- pay a monthly premium and other cost sharing, if required.
The Disability Linkage Line (DLL) is an additional resource that provides information about work incentives and a variety of support, options, and resources regarding disabilities. The free service is available during regular business hours. To contact the DLL see the references below.
If we want to address poverty in this country, we will have to start addressing the connection between disability and poverty and between disability and employment. To take a significant bite out of the number of Americans who are poor, we will need to move people with disabilities out of poverty and into employment with livable wages.
Fremstad, S., Livermore, G., & Loprest, P. Disability and Poverty: What Is the Connection and What Should We Do About It? [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.disabilitypolicyresearch.org/forums/
Fact Sheet on MA-EPD from the MN Work Incentives Connection http://www.mnworkincentives.com/site/files/MA-EPD%20Flyer.pdf
To contact the Disability Linkage Line, call 1-866-333-2466 or go to http://www.semcil.org/dll.html
Minnesota Department of Human Services. Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities Program Evaluation [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://cwd.aphsa.org/statetostate/docs/2005_Program_Evaluation_MN.pdf