Medical Assistance (MA) provides people with disabilities access to the services and supports that are necessary for living in the community (as opposed to more costly institutionalized care.) There are income and asset standards that apply to people enrolled in Medical Assistance. This means that many people receiving MA have to “spend down” their resources to remain eligible and to receive the services they need. If individuals with disabilities or seniors make just one dollar more than $973 a month, they are required to ‘spend down’ their income to $730 a month to qualify for MA.
The issue and the reason for this campaign is that Minnesota holds people with disabilities and seniors to different standards than other Minnesotans in order to qualify for Medical Assistance. The MA income limit for adults with disabilities and seniors is $973/month with a $3000 asset limit. For other Minnesotans receiving MA, the income limit is $1342 per month with no asset limits. Not only is this unfair to people with disabilities, it creates financial hardships, essentially impoverishing people who receive MA and making it difficult to live in the community. It also penalizes those who work.
This campaign is asking legislature to raise the MA income and asset standards to reduce spend-downs. The goal by doing so is creating fair standards for individuals with disabilities and seniors, so they can keep more of their income and not be so dependent on aid. Being able to live independently in the community is essential, it leads to a higher quality of life as well as a cost savings for all Minnesotans.
The success of this campaign is relying on people’s individual stories of those impacted by these standards and turning them into effective political messages that support increasing the Medical Assistance income and asset limits and reducing the spend-down.
The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities has a resource page on its website devoted to providing assistance and support materials so people can easily share their personal story. Click HERE for that page.
They also have put together the following comprehensive resources for learning about this campaign and sharing with others.
Orion ISO supports this campaign as its success may have a significant impact on the lives of those we provide services to, many of whom are receiving Medical Assistance. We encourage people to contact their legislators or visit the resource page above to share personal stories and learn about other ways to become involved in this campaign.
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