Portman, Colleagues Introduce SENIOR CARE Act to Ensure Working Seniors with Disabilities Keep Medicaid Coverage

April 30, 2021 | Press Releases

CINCINNATI, OH – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the bipartisan Supporting And Empowering the Nation to Improve Outcomes That Reaffirm Careers, Activities, and Recreation for the Elderly (SENIOR CARE) Act to lift the Ticket To Work Program’s Medicaid age restriction and to allow for seniors over the age of 65 to continue to work and keep their Medicaid coverage. Senators Portman and Casey first introduced the SENIOR CARE Act in 2019.

The Ticket To Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 brought in new opportunities to increase workforce participation, including the ability for people with disabilities to maintain their Medicaid coverage when they accept higher-paying jobs and exceed Medicaid’s income eligibility limits. As the largest payer in the nation for long-term services and support, Medicaid remains a vital program for supporting daily living needs for people with disabilities.

“I believe that every disabled American over age 65 should have the opportunity to work and maintain Medicaid coverage,” Portman said. “The Ticket To Work program’s arbitrary age limit at 65 forces working disabled seniors to make an impossible choice between maintaining their independence and livelihood or keeping their Medicaid coverage. This is unacceptable and that’s why I’m proud to work with Senators Casey, Scott, and Cortez Masto to introduce this important legislation that removes this unnecessary and obsolete barrier for working seniors with disabilities.” 

“As more older adults choose to continue working, people ages 65 and older with disabilities are often stripped of this choice — forced to choose between work or their Medicaid coverage,” Senator Casey said. “The bipartisan SENIOR CARE Act would support older workers with disabilities who choose to continue to work by removing an arbitrary age cap in Medicaid’s eligibility rules. Congress must pass this bill so that older adults with disabilities can continue working as long as they choose.”

“People with disabilities, especially those 65 and older, deserve every opportunity to continue maintaining Medicare coverage and the ability to fulfill their American Dream,” said Senator Scott. “We need to ensure that these seniors are supported and not arbitrarily carved out of their livelihoods. I look forward to reintroducing the bipartisan SENIOR CARE Act and removing barriers for millions of Americans.” 

“Seniors in Nevada who want to continue to work past the age of 65 should be able to do so without running into bureaucratic red tape — and that includes seniors with disabilities,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Current law penalizes some disabled seniors who remain in the workforce by denying them critical Medicaid benefits. That’s unfair, and I’ll continue working across the aisle to fix it and give older workers meaningful choices about their jobs.”

Over the past two decades, the program has allowed people with disabilities to independent and successful participants in the workforce by allowing them to continue to receive through Medicaid daily long-term care services that most employer-sponsored insurance plans do not typically cover. The 1999 law, however, capped the participation age at 65, thus preventing people with disabilities from continuing to work past age 65 and retain their Medicaid coverage. The SENIOR CARE Act would remove the age limit and ensure an individual’s ability to personally decide when they would like to retire, as opposed to being forced into retirement just to keep their Medicaid coverage.

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