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

December 16, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA) 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. Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

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.  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 to continue to work past age 65 and retain the 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. 

“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 their Medicaid coverage. This is unacceptable and that’s why I’m proud to work with Senator Casey to introduce this important legislation to remove this unnecessary and obsolete barrier to working seniors with disabilities.” 

“For many older adults, choosing to remain in the workforce or retire is a personal decision. However, adults age 65 and over with disabilities are often stripped of this choice due to Medicaid age restrictions that force them to choose between continuing to work or losing their Medicaid coverage—which supports their daily living needs,” Senator Casey said. “Instead of forcing seniors with disabilities out of the workforce we should be supporting them by removing barriers that reduce their independence. That’s why I have worked with Senator Portman to introduce the SENIOR CARE Act, which would allow seniors with disabilities to work and keep their Medicaid coverage.” 

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