State Health Department To Host Conference On Medicaid Buy-In For Working People With Disabilities

ALBANY, November 1, 2004 - The New York State Department of Health is hosting a conference in Albany, New York on November 9, 2004 to provide information on the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD). The expansion of New York's Medicaid program is helping empower New Yorkers with disabilities to hold jobs while continuing to receive comprehensive state health insurance coverage.

State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., said, "This conference is an important and informative opportunity for participants to learn more about the program and how to effectively meet the challenges they may face in securing and maintaining employment."

"Building Community Partnerships," celebrates the first full year of the State's Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities. The Conference will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2004 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

This conference is an opportunity for consumers, stakeholders and service agencies to learn more about the MBI-WPD. Attendees will be able to share best practices and effective strategies for meeting the challenges disabled individuals face when returning to the work force. Participants will also hear from working disabled participants about the difference the Medicaid Buy-In program has made in their lives.

Information on the conference may be obtained by calling (518) 473-5330. Registration deadline is Friday, November 5, 2004.

The following workshops will be held during the conference:

  • Benefits Planning for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Beneficiaries.
  • New York State Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities - vocational and educational opportunities.
  • Medicaid Buy-In Toolkits and the application process.
  • Balancing Choice, Empowerment and Incentives to Work: The Success of the Employment Supports the Ticket to Work Act.
  • Social Security Administration - work incentives for people with disabilities.
  • Employment and People with Disabilities - breaking down barriers.

The Keynote speaker for this year's conference is John Hockenberry, a three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy award winner, Dateline NBC correspondent, and award-winning journalist. Approximately 20,000 working New Yorkers with disabilities may enroll in the program when fully implemented. There are currently 2,000 New Yorkers with disabilities enrolled in the Medicaid buy-In program.

New Yorkers with disabilities who are between the ages of 16 and 64, working and have net incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) may be eligible for the MBI-WPD. New York has extended Medicaid benefits under this program to working individuals with disabilities with a gross income that could be as high as $47,580 for a household of one ($63,492 for a household of two) and whose countable resources also do not exceed $10,000.

Applications for the program are available statewide through local departments of social services. This year the Governor has, for the second consecutive year, awarded $135,000 in State funding to 12 community-based organizations to assist New Yorkers seeking to enroll in the MBI-WPD.

The community-based organizations are responsible for assisting potential participants in the enrollment process, acting as representatives for individuals who qualify for benefits, and publicly disseminating educational materials about the program. The organizations may also assist individuals with disabilities in their efforts to prepare for jobs.