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The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People With Disabilities (MBI-WPD)

The Medicaid Buy-in for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD) is a special program for individuals with disabilities under age 65 who have work income.  Under MBI-WPD, individuals are eligible for full Medicaid benefits at much higher incomes than individuals who are not working.   The income limit is 250% of the Federal Poverty Line, after more than half of gross earned income is disregarded.   This allows them to earn more income without the risk of losing health coverage. 

The official State website on this program has basic information, including the current income and resource limits which change every year with the Federal Poverty Line.  Current levels are in Box 3 in the Medicaid Income and Resource Levels Chart.  

Applications for MBI-WPD should include the usual components of a Medicaid application, as well as proof of disability, proof of employment, and two additional forms:

LAW:  NY Social Services Law § 366(1)(a)(14 - 15), §  367-a(15).  State directives include:

Through the NY Makes Work Pay project -- www.nymakesworkpay.org --Neighborhood Legal Services in Buffalo, funded by a subgrant from Cornell University, has extensive resources to encourage enrollment in MBI-WPD, including:

  • Online Guide to Medicaid Buy-In program

  • Statewide Work Incentives Hotline (toll-free 1-888.224-3272).  Answer any questions about the range of Social Security, SSI, Medicaid and Medicare work incentives, including questions on the MBI-WPD.

  • Facilitated MBI-WPD enrollment.  Hotline staff will spend extra time with individuals to help facilitate their enrollment in the Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities Program. The client or advocate can call the toll-free number.  In some cases, the hotline may refer the case to a participating agency in a region of the state. 

Direct links to some key policy-to-practice briefs:

  •   Self Help Guides

    • Medicaid & Work: Keeping Your Medicaid While You Work  PDF (232 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)
    • Earned Income Tax Credit: How to Use the Tax Credit to Build Assets  PDF (271 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)

    • Ticket to Work: Choosing the Right Employment Network  PDF (440 KB)  |  TEXT (8 KB) 

    • Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions  PDF (231 KB)  |  TEXT (9 KB)

      Plan for Achieving Self Support: How You Can Use PASS to Grow Your Assets  PDF (275 KB)  |  TEXT (7 KB)

    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Calculating the Impact of Earnings on Benefits Supplemental Security Income  PDF (279 KB)  |  TEXT (13 KB)


This article was authored by the Empire Justice Center.

Empire Justice Center


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