The Center for Workers with Disabilities (CWD) is a technical assistance center dedicated to supporting states as they work to build or enhance infrastructure that supports the employment of people with disabilities. The Center began in 2000 to assist states in their efforts to administer the Medicaid Infrastructure Grants. Since that time, our activities have evolved to meet the changing needs of states, and to share the lessons and experiences of state Medicaid Infrastructure Grant projects. CWD is a project of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA).
RESOURCES FROM THE FIELD:
Technical Assistance Circular on Youth Transition Planning and Services
On May 15, 2014, the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, announced the release of Technical Assistance Circular (TAC) 14-03 which addresses transition planning and services provided through the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services program. The TAC highlights that the vocational rehabilitation (VR) program is “uniquely positioned” to prepare students with disabilities to achieve competitive and integrated employment through the provision of transition services to these students and through its collaboration with external partners, such as educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and employers. In the guidance, the Department encourages VR agencies to use the flexibility afforded under the Rehabilitation Act to engage in innovative strategies, build partnerships, and involve students with disabilities and their families in the transition process as early as possible.
Participation and Outcomes in the Medicaid Medically Improved Group
An article published in the Medicare and Medicaid Research Review, “The Medicaid Medically Improved Group: Losing Disability Status and Growing Earnings” (2014: volume 4, number 1) shares findings from a study of participation and employment outcomes in the Medicaid medically improved coverage group. Under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, states may extend Medicaid Buy-In coverage to a medically improved group. This coverage group allows working adults with disabilities to retain Medicaid coverage even once they lose Social Security disability status due to medical improvement, as long as they retain the original medical impairment. The study looked at all individuals who participated in medically improved group coverage between 2002–2009 in states that offered this coverage. Key findings include that medically improved group participants achieved mean earnings of $16,458 in 2009, 40 percent above the annualized Social Security Administration substantial gainful activity limit (for non-blind individuals) for that year and 52 percent above the federal poverty level for an individual. This level of earnings is nearly twice as high as mean earnings among basic Medicaid Buy-in participants in 2009. Improved group participant earnings grew 15 percent, equal to nearly 200 dollars per month, by their second year of participation.
Lessons Learned from State Efforts to Promote Integrated Employment
An issue brief from the Medicaid Policy Analysis and Technical Assistance Program describes five states’ efforts to increase integrated employment among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), discusses barriers that have hindered states’ progress toward expanding integrated employment outcomes, and highlights lessons learned that can help other states advance their efforts to transform their employment service systems. The five states are the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington. The brief, Promoting Integrated Employment: Lessons Learned from States’ Efforts to Transform their Employment Service Systems for People with Intellectual/Development Disabilities, includes an overview of the employment service system for each state.
Expectations Drive Outcomes: Lessons in Promoting Employment and Systems Change
Presentations from the APHSA 2013 National Policy Forum
For over a decade, state Medicaid Infrastructure Grant projects spearheaded transformation in policy, programs, system-building, and service delivery in order to change expectations and outcomes for employment of people with disabilities. This session shared key experiences and lessons learned from these efforts, and translated these lessons for employment of youth and adults with diverse needs. Panelists from California and Maryland also examined what it takes to sustain long-term systems-change initiatives that foster employment, self-determination, and independence.
Medicaid Buy-In Fact Sheet
This fact sheet was prepared by the Center for Workers with Disabilities for the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). The fact sheet is intended to give Navigators and Enrollment Specialists answers to the questions that people with disabilities may have about possible Medicaid Buy-In as a coverage option when they are looking into purchasing private insurance in the Marketplace. The Buy-In program is an optional Medicaid coverage group for working individuals with disabilities. The NDNRC is an initiative aimed at providing cross-disability information and support to navigators and other enrollment specialists.