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1619(a)

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Rules that allow Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to keep their SSI benefit at a lower level when they return to work.

1619(b)

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A rule that lets people who stop getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits due to work income keep their Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage while earning up to $52,794 per year. 1619(b) also makes it easier to get SSI benefits started up again if your countable income goes below SSI's income limit. For 1619(b), you must continue to meet other SSI eligibility rules, such as the resource limit.

Note: If your earnings are over this limit and you have high medical expenses, you might still qualify for 1619(b). Ask your local Social Security office about the 1619(b) Individualized Earnings Threshold.

401(k) Retirement Account

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A type of retirement plan in which people who are employed can automatically have money taken out of their paychecks and put aside into an account that is taxed less than a standard savings or investment account. This helps the account grow more quickly than other accounts. The person who puts the money aside can only use this money after reaching the age of 59 and a half. If money is withdrawn before that age, the person taking the money out has to pay a penalty.

ABLE Accounts

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A type of financial account for people who have disabilities that began before they turned 26. ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts have tax advantages and the money in these accounts does not affect eligibility for many benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medical Assistance, and SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps). Money in ABLE accounts must be used for specific things, like education, housing, transportation, health care, work-related expenses, assistive technology, or other approved living expenses. Note: If you have more than $100,000 in your ABLE account, the money will be counted by the SSI program.

ABLE accounts can only be opened through specific programs or financial institutions and a person can only open one account. Each state regulates which financial institution offers ABLE accounts in that state. You do not have to open your account in your own state: if another state offers a program, it may let you open an account there. That lets you compare which financial institution offers the right options for you and means you can open an account even if no financial institution in your state offers accounts.

The Minnesota ABLE Plan is Minnesota's ABLE account program. You can choose to open an account in another state’s ABLE program.

Active Work Requirement

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The minimum number of hours per week that an employee is required to work to qualify for and maintain eligibility for benefits.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

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Total annual income, including earned and unearned income, minus deductions. AGI is used for calculating how much you owe in federal taxes and how much you get in tax credits.

Adjusted Income

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The amount a person pays taxes on after all allowed adjustments are made (deductions and credits).

Administrative Law Judge

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An official who oversees administrative hearings held to resolve a dispute between a government agency and a person affected by a decision of that agency. They oversee any initial appeal you may make with a government institution.

Adult Foster Care

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Facilities that provide sleeping accommodations and other services to adults with disabilities and others.

Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA)

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A federal law, sometimes called Obamacare, that has led to significant changes in the United States health care system, including extending health care coverage to many more Americans. The changes in this law take effect over the course of many years, through 2020. For more information on the ACA, visit Health Reform Minnesota.

Affordable Coverage (Employer-Sponsored Health Plans)

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Health coverage offered by your employer that:

  • Would cost you, for your policy alone, less than 9.5% of your income for the monthly premium, and
  • Meets bronze-level standards.

If you have an option that meets these standards, you and your family cannot qualify for government subsidies to get private insurance on MNsure and cannot get MinnesotaCare. If your income is low enough, you may still qualify for Medical Assistance.

Age-18 Redetermination

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The process of determining whether a child who is an SSI beneficiary will meet the adult definition of disability. The redetermination happens within a year of the 18th birthday.

Alternative Care (AC) Program

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A federally and state-funded program that provides services to people 65 or older who do not yet qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

Learn more at the Department of Human Services (DHS).

American Indian

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For the purposes of benefits eligibility, an American Indian is a person who is recognized as an American Indian by a federally recognized tribe, or is recognized by the United States as an Indian and has a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The federally recognized tribes in Minnesota are:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  • Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa
  • Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota
  • Upper Sioux Community
  • White Earth Band of Ojibwe

Americans Indians:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

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A federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities at work and in public places. The ADA makes it illegal for employers, the government, or other public agencies to discriminate against (to treat unfairly or unequally) disabled people at work and in most public places, places, such as restaurants, hotels, and theaters. The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to do their jobs.

Annual Election Period

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The period from October 15 – December 7 when you can enroll in and switch Medicare Part D plans.

Appeal

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A request to have a third party review an agency’s decision. Requests may be verbal or written. Typically, appeals are requested when benefits, services, or treatments are denied, stopped, or reduced.

Applications for Minnesota Programs

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For most Minnesota programs, you have the choice of applying online or using a paper application. You can also apply in person at your local county human services agency. Note: If you need help completing an application, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Online Applications

For non-health programs, such as Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), use ApplyMN.

For Minnesota health care programs, such as Medical Assistance (MA), Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD), or MinnesotaCare, use MNsure.

Paper Applications

For non-health programs, print out the Combined Application Form and turn it in to your county human services agency.

For health programs, fill out a paper MNsure application and fax it to 1-651-431-7750 or mail it to the address listed on the form.

Appraisal

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An estimate of value.

Apprenticeship

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A work opportunity that provides you with a way to learn a skilled occupation, craft, or trade.

Asset Exclusions (MA)

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The following assets are excluded (not counted) when figuring out countable assets for disability-based Medical Assistance (MA):

  • The home you live in.
  • The car you drive to work.
  • Income in the month of receipt. Example: If you earn $4,000 in October, that income is not counted as an asset in October.
  • Household and personal goods including pets, furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, other tools and equipment used in the home.
  • Money in an ABLE account.

The following payments may also be excluded:

  • Payments made to people because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution. This includes reparation payments the Federal Republic of Germany makes to certain survivors of the Holocaust.
  • Payments resulting from an appeal of public assistance benefits.
  • Payments made under state or federal law for foster care and adoption assistance.
  • Disaster relief funds paid by state and local governments and disaster relief organizations such as Red Cross and Salvation Army.
  • State and federal tax rebates.
  • Netherlands' Act (WUV) payments.
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) payments.
  • Payments for tribal land claim settlements listed in Tribal Land Settlements and Trusts.
  • Benefits from the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program.
  • Reimbursements from the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970.
  • Payments received from youth incentive entitlement projects and youth community conservation and improvement projects.
  • Reparation payments to Aleut people and people of Japanese ancestry under Public Law 100 383.
  • Agent Orange payments to veterans and their dependents.
  • Payments made under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (Public Law 101 426).
  • Payments made by federal agencies under a presidential declaration of disaster including, but not limited to, individual and family grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Title VII, Nutrition Program for the Elderly funds.
  • VISTA payments made to volunteers (not permanent staff salaries).
  • Accrued interest on assets if any excess is properly reduced at the eligibility recertification.
  • Payments from the Vietnamese Commandos Compensation Act.
  • Blood Product Litigation settlement payments.
  • Settlements to hemophiliacs under the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Act of 1998.
  • Payments made to volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.
  • Older Americans Act benefits.
  • Student financial aid should be excluded until the month following the last month of enrollment in classes. This includes funding from Pell Grants, SEOG, Perkins Loans, Student Educational Loan Funds, Guaranteed Student Loans, Minnesota State Student Loans, State Student Incentive Grants, Minnesota State Scholarships and Grants, Federal College Work-Study funds, any other financial aid funded in whole or in part by Title IV, and other educational funds.
  • Funds to replace lost, damaged, or destroyed assets.
  • The accumulation of clothing and personal needs allowance for people in long-term care facilities.
  • Funds used to meet real estate tax, insurance, and upkeep expenses for real property that are held in a separate account.
  • Some retroactive lump sum payments of RSDI and SSI Income.
  • Payments of SSI, RSDI and Special Veterans Benefits for the Elderly due to representative payee misuse.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refunds or payments.
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) refunds or payments.
  • Proceeds from the sale of a homestead for three months if the funds are applied to the purchase of another home during that period.
  • Payments made to crime victims to compensate them for losses resulting from the crime.
  • Austrian social insurance payments based, in whole or in part, on wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500-506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act.
  • Volunteer payments under Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Programs, including AmeriCorps (VISTA), University Year for ACTION (UYA), Special and Demonstration Volunteer Programs, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program.
  • Individual Development Account (IDA) - TANF funded.
  • Individual Development Account (IDA).
  • Payments made by the Department of Defense (DOD) to certain individuals who were captured and interned by North Vietnam.
  • VA benefits paid to or on behalf of Vietnam or Korea service veterans’ natural children suffering disability due to spina bifida or other certain birth defects.
  • Self-Support Assets.

For details on these asset exclusions, including the timeframes within which they can be claimed, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Asset Exclusions (MA-EPD)

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The following are excluded (not counted) when figuring out countable assets for MA-EPD:

  • The home you live in.
  • The car you drive to work.
  • Income in the month of receipt.
  • Household and personal goods including pets, furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, other tools and equipment used in the home.
  • Retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401Ks, and 403Bs.
  • Medical expense accounts set up through an employer.
  • Your spouse’s assets or your spouse's share of jointly held assets.

The following payments may also be excluded:

  • Payments made to people because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution. This includes reparation payments the Federal Republic of Germany makes to certain survivors of the Holocaust.
  • Payments resulting from an appeal of public assistance benefits.
  • Payments made under state or federal law for foster care and adoption assistance.
  • Disaster relief funds paid by state and local governments and disaster relief organizations such as Red Cross and Salvation Army.
  • State and federal tax rebates.
  • Netherlands' Act (WUV) payments.
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) payments.
  • Payments for tribal land claim settlements listed in Tribal Land Settlements and Trusts.
  • Benefits from the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program.
  • Reimbursements from the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970.
  • Payments received from youth incentive entitlement projects and youth community conservation and improvement projects.
  • Reparation payments to Aleut people and people of Japanese ancestry under Public Law 100 383.
  • Agent Orange payments to veterans and their dependents.
  • Payments made under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (Public Law 101 426).
  • Payments made by federal agencies under a presidential declaration of disaster including, but not limited to, individual and family grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Title VII, Nutrition Program for the Elderly funds.
  • VISTA payments made to volunteers (not permanent staff salaries).
  • Accrued interest on assets if any excess is properly reduced at the eligibility recertification.
  • Payments from the Vietnamese Commandos Compensation Act.
  • Blood Product Litigation settlement payments.
  • Settlements to hemophiliacs under the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Act of 1998.
  • Payments made to volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.
  • Older Americans Act benefits.
  • Student financial aid should be excluded until the month following the last month of enrollment in classes. This includes funding from Pell Grants, SEOG, Perkins Loans, Student Educational Loan Funds, Guaranteed Student Loans, Minnesota State Student Loans, State Student Incentive Grants, Minnesota State Scholarships and Grants, Federal College Work-Study funds, any other financial aid funded in whole or in part by Title IV, and other educational funds.
  • Funds to replace lost, damaged, or destroyed assets.
  • The accumulation of clothing and personal needs allowance for people in long-term care facilities.
  • Funds used to meet real estate tax, insurance, and upkeep expenses for real property that are held in a separate account.
  • Some retroactive lump sum payments of RSDI and SSI Income.
  • Payments of SSI, RSDI and Special Veterans Benefits for the Elderly due to representative payee misuse.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refunds or payments.
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) refunds or payments.
  • Proceeds from the sale of a homestead for three months if the funds are applied to the purchase of another home during that period.
  • Payments made to crime victims to compensate them for losses resulting from the crime.
  • Austrian social insurance payments based, in whole or in part, on wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500-506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act.
  • Volunteer payments under Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Programs, including AmeriCorps (VISTA), University Year for ACTION (UYA), Special and Demonstration Volunteer Programs, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program.
  • Individual Development Account (IDA) - TANF funded.
  • Individual Development Account (IDA).
  • Payments made by the Department of Defense (DOD) to certain individuals who were captured and interned by North Vietnam.
  • VA benefits paid to or on behalf of Vietnam or Korea service veterans’ natural children suffering disability due to spina bifida or other certain birth defects.
  • Self-Support Assets.

For details on these asset exclusions, including the timeframes within which they can be claimed, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Asset Limit

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The maximum amount of assets you're allowed to own while maintaining eligibility for a particular disability benefits program. Most benefits programs do not count everything you own, including the home you live in and one car you own. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as assets. For Medical Assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.

Also called a "resource limit."

Asset Limit (MA-EPD)

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The maximum amount of assets you're allowed to own while keeping eligibility for a particular disability benefits program.

MA-EPD has a much higher asset limit than disability-based Medical Assistance (MA). If you’re between the ages of 21 and 64, the MA-EPD asset limit is $20,000. If you're under 21 or pregnant, there is no asset limit at all.

Assets

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Things that you own, like a car or a house. You can only own a certain amount in assets and still qualify for many health care and disability benefit programs. The home you live in and the car you drive to work are exempt under most Social Security and state disability benefit programs. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as assets. For Medical Assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.
Also called "resources."

Assets for Independence Act (AFIA)

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Legislation that established Individual Development Account (IDA) programs for applicants who are not on MFIP. The three goals of AFIA include: providing individuals and families with incentives to save earned income, increasing self-sufficiency, and improving the community.

Assistance Standard (MSA)

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The MSA assistance standard is the minimum amount of money the state of Minnesota believes a person needs in order to pay for his or her basic needs. This amount is used along with the money you get from SSI and other sources to figure out the amount of your MSA benefit. The amount depends on whether you are an individual or an eligible couple; and on whether you are living alone or living with others. The MSA assistance standard is adjusted each year for the cost of living.

  • For an person living alone, the MSA assistance standard is $796/month for 2017.
  • If you’re an individual living with others, the MSA assistance standard is $582.66. Notice that this is less than the SSI Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for individuals ($735). So if you’re in this situation and you’re getting full SSI ($735), you won’t get any MSA unless you have some special needs expenses.
  • The MSA assistance standard for an eligible couple living alone is $1,194.
  • For an eligible couple living with others, the MSA assistance standard is $799.34. Again, this is less than FBR for a couple ($1,103), so there would be no MSA grant unless special needs expenses were in the picture.
  • People living in certain residential facilities get $84/month for personal needs and clothing.

Assistive Technology

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Technological devices that help people with disabilities carry out daily activities.

Assistive Technology Device (Federal Definition)

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According to the Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Tech Act):

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

According to the same law, an assistive technology service is:

Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device."

Association-Sponsored Group Health Coverage

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Group coverage offered through an association like a union, guild, or trade organization.

Asylee

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A noncitizen who, while in the United States, is granted permission to remain because of well-founded fear of persecution in their home country.

At-Home Recovery Services

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Help with activities like bathing or dressing.

Bankruptcy

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Legal steps that involve a person or business that is unable to repay debts.

Basic Plan

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A Medicare Part D plan that meets just the minimum requirements laid out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance

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A program that helps pay for child care while parents are working, looking for work, or going to school. Parents pay a small amount of money each month to be part of the program.

Basis of Eligibility

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A set of characteristics such as your age, income, disability status, or family status that allows you to be eligible for Medical Assistance (MA).

Behavioral Support

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Strategies to help people modify habits or behaviors that make it difficult for them to live in the community.

Benchmark Plan

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A Medicare Part D plan that has its monthly premium fully covered by the Low Income Subsidy.

Beneficiary

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The person who is getting a benefit.

Benefit Period

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The time period that Medicare uses to measure an individual’s use of hospital and skilled nursing facility care. A benefit period begins the day an individual enters a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF). The benefit period ends after the individual is released and hasn't received any further hospital care (or skilled care in a SNF) for 60 consecutive days. If an individual goes into the hospital after one benefit period has ended, a new benefit period begins. The inpatient hospital deductible may be charged for each benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods an individual may have.

Benefits Analysis

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A report done by a benefits expert that gives you information about:

  • How work could affect your benefits
  • Work incentives that might be useful to you
  • Health coverage options
  • Your financial situation before and after working or taking a promotion
  • How to track wages and benefits

A benefits analysis includes ongoing follow-up and support as you explore work and benefits. To learn more, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Benefits Expert

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A trained professional who can help you understand disability benefit programs and how they are affected by work. Their goal is to help you avoid financial complications while developing a sustainable plan for the future.

Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Benefits Lookup

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A Benefits Lookup report will tell you what benefits you are getting now, and how much. Authorized employees of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will look up your state records and make a report for you. You can use that information to help you plan for a job or other changes. To get a Benefits Lookup, you must create a DB101 account using the "Register" button at the top of the page. Then click the "Projects" tab in the main menu, click "Get a Benefits Lookup," and follow the instructions.

Benefits Planning Query (BPQY)

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A report that summarizes your current Social Security disability benefits and available work incentives. To order one, visit your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (voice); 1-800-325-0778 (TTY). Be sure to review your BPQY carefully. If you have questions about it, contact a benefits expert or Social Security.

Tip: The BPQY is form number SSA-2459. If a Social Security Claims Representative does not know what a BPQY is, mention the form number.

Blind Work Expenses (BWE)

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Documented expenses for services or items that you need in order to work. Service animal expenses, transportation to and from work, and visual and sensory aids are examples of BWEs. You must be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) based on blindness to use BWEs.

For more information, refer to the Social Security Red Book, Special Rules for Persons who are Blind.

Blindness

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Eyesight that is very limited. To be considered legally blind, you must:

  • Have a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in your better eye, even while you are wearing a correcting contact lens or glasses in that eye; or
  • Have a limitation in the field of vision of your better eye, so that:
    • You have a contraction of peripheral visual fields to 10 degrees from the point of fixation, or
    • The widest diameter of your visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees, or
    • You have a contraction of peripheral visual fields to 20% or less visual field efficiency.

Social Security and other agencies use this definition of blindness to decide if you qualify for benefits programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some people with vision impairments that do not meet these standards may still qualify for benefits.

Blue Book (Listing of Impairments)

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The Social Security publication that provides detailed information about disability programs to physicians and other health care professionals. The Blue Book includes the complete Listing of Impairments, which lists and defines those conditions considered severe enough to prevent a person from doing any gainful activity. The Blue Book can now be accessed online.

Board and Lodge Establishment

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A facility that provides sleeping accommodations and food to adults with disabilities and others.

Brain Injury (BI) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with a brain injury who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing facility or neurobehavioral hospital (a hospital that offers long-term rehabilitation to people who have a brain injury).

For more information, contact your or Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Break-Even Point (BEP)

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This is the income amount which reduces your Supplemental Security Income payment to zero when Social Security uses the countable income calculation. Your break even point can be determined by your earned and unearned income, living arrangements, and applicable income exclusions.

Budget Month (Benefits Eligibility)

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The month a benefits program looks at when it decides if you qualify and what you get in benefits. Programs look at your income and assets from the budget month.

The budget month may be the same as the current month, one month before the current month, or two months before the current month. Which month a program looks at depends on the program rules and your situation.

Note: DB101 Estimators use the correct budget month for each month and program.

Budget month examples from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program
  • If you have been getting SSI benefits for more than two months, the amount you get is usually based on your income from two months ago.
  • If you don't get SSI benefits, but your countable income drops below SSI's income limit, you might not have to wait two months to start qualifying for SSI. Instead, your first month of SSI benefits may be based on your income from the current month.
  • Usually, the second month of SSI benefits are based on income from one month ago.
  • If you have been getting SSI benefits for a while, but then your income goes over SSI's income limit, you don't still qualify for SSI benefits. Your benefits eligibility is based on your income from the current month.

Budget Period

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The amount that will elapse before your eligibility for a Minnesota health care program will be reviewed.

Business Plan

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A tool that helps organize your goals for a new business, as well as concrete steps and resources that will help you reach those goals.

Capital

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Money or other resources available for a particular purpose, such as starting a business or investing.

Capital Expense

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A one-time expense that will benefit a business in the future. Capital expenses are often related to buying equipment that that the business will need to get started.

Caregiver Training and Education

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Training provided to family members or other non-professional caregivers so they can better care for a person with a disability.

Case Management Services (MA-Waiver Programs)

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Services that help people access the MA-Waiver services they need. Case management services can include developing a service plan, informing the individual (or their guardian or conservator) of service options, helping identify potential service providers, coordinating services, evaluating and monitoring services, and annual reviews.

Catastrophic Plan

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A health coverage plan that generally has a lower premium and provides most benefits only after a large deductible has been paid. This sort of plan is most useful for people who do not have regular medical expenses, but wish to be covered in case of an accident or other sudden and significant medical needs. These plans may allow you to see your primary care provider up to 3 times per year and get preventive care without paying the deductible.

If you are under 30, you can sign up for a catastrophic plan on MNsure. If you are over 30, a catastrophic plan will not exempt you from having to pay the $695 tax penalty that people without health insurance have to pay because of the individual mandate.

Citizenship Status

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Assuming they meet all other eligibility criteria, U.S. citizens and Qualified Aliens (inlcuding those who meet I-551 or I-94 status) are eligible for both Social Security and state public benefits programs.

Legal residents who don't have I-551 or I-94 status may be eligible for some state programs, but not for Social Security programs. This could include Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), refugees, asylees, conditional entrants, people certified as victims of trafficking, certain people whose immigration status is pending, people under Temporary Protected or Family Unity Beneficiary Status, Lawful Temporary Residents, applicants for asylum, people who have been granted or are applying for withholding of removal, and all other people with a lawfully residing immigrant status.

People who are undocumented or non-immigrants are not eligible for any of these programs.

Closing Costs

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Costs associated with the completion of a sale of real estate. Closing costs are not usually included in the sale price of the property. Some examples of closing costs are applicable taxes, fees for appraisals and recording the deed (the deed is an official document that shows details of a legal agreement, especially about who owns a building or a piece of land).

Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy

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Services designed to improve cognitive abilities (e.g., the ability to reason, make judgments, remember).

Co-Insurance

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The portion of the payment for medical services that an individual is responsible for. For example, your health coverage may pay for 80% of the costs of a service, while you will have to pay the remaining 20%. That 20% is known as "co-insurance."

Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with disabilities who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

For more information, contact your county human services agency or Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people who are chronically ill and qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a hospital.

For more information, contact your county human services agency or Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Community Support Plan

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Plan that helps MA-Waiver recipients identify and access the services and supports they need to live in the community. The plan is designed to suit each individual's needs. Also referred to as a "plan of care."

Conditional Permanent Resident

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U.S. Resident with a I-551 C Card.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

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If you lose your employer-sponsored health coverage, COBRA laws allow you to continue that coverage for up to 18 months in most situations.

Consumer-Directed Community Supports (CDCS)

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This option gives the consumer more responsibility for directing the services and supports being provided to them, including hiring and managing direct care staff.

Continuation Coverage

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If you lose access to group health insurance that you got through your employer for certain reasons, including a job change, divorce, or job loss, there are laws that allow you to continue your group coverage temporarily. This is known as continuation coverage. You will usually have to pay the full costs of your continuation coverage, including any portion of the premium your employer may have paid for in the past. The federal continuation coverage law is called COBRA. Many states also have their own continuation coverage laws.

Continuing Disability Review (CDR)

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A periodic review to determine if there has been any medical improvement in your condition and/or to determine whether you continue to be eligible for Social Security benefits for other reasons. The two types of reviews are called a medical CDR and a work CDR.

Conversion Policy

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A conversion insurance policy is something you can buy when your employer-sponsored group health insurance policy ends. It lets you keep buying insurance through the same insurance company. You may have to use up all your COBRA coverage first, before you can get a conversion policy, depending on the regulations in your state.

Copayment

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A set amount you have to pay when you receive medical services. For example, you may have to pay $30 every time you visit the doctor or $20 to get a prescription refilled. This is also known as a "copay."

Cost-Effective Health Coverage

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A "cost-effective" determination means that it is cheaper for MA to pay for your health insurance premium, copayments, deductibles, and other related costs than it would be for MA to pay directly for the health care services you require. Generally, if the services paid for by your health insurance are more than double the premium amount, it will be cost-effective for MA to pay your portion of the premium.

Countable Earned Income (SSI)

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Salaries, wages, tips, and any other money that you receive as pay for work that you do is considered "earned income."

Your countable earned income is the portion of that earned income that the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program considers when deciding how much your SSI benefit should be. The SSI program uses a special calculation to determine your countable earned income, your total countable income, and ultimately, your SSI benefit.

Countable Income

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The amount of income that Social Security or the state counts when figuring out if you qualify for benefits and, if so, the level of benefits you should get. Not all of your income counts.

Example: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) counts most unearned income, but a bit less than half of earned income. So, if you have $500 in unearned income and $500 in earned income, your countable income for SSI would be just $697.50, even though your total income would be $1,000. Other programs, such as disability-based Medical Assistance and Medicare Savings Programs often use calculations similar to SSI's.

Countable Income (Medical Assistance)

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The following disregards and cash payments are deducted (subtracted) when figuring out your countable gross income for disability-based Medical Assistance (MA) or MA with a spenddown. They are not, however, deducted in this estimator:

  • Disabled Widow/Widower Disregard
  • Widow/Widower Disregard
  • Pickle Disregard
  • Disabled Adult Child Disregard
  • RSDI COLA Disregard
  • PASS Deduction
  • Blind Disabled Student Child Disregard
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • General Assistance (GA)
  • Diversionary Work Program (DWP)
  • Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

If you qualify for any of these disregards or if you're on any of these cash payment programs (e.g., SSI or MSA), you can likely earn a higher income and keep access to MA. Similarly, your spenddown for MA will probably be lower than what's shown in the estimator.

Note that participation in many cash payment programs results in access to MA.

If you have questions about disability-based MA, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Countable Income Calculation

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The calculation used to determine how much of your unearned and earned income is counted when determining your eligibility for certain disability benefit programs. Different programs often use different formulas to determine countable income.

Countable Income Calculation (SSI)

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The calculation used to determine how much of your unearned and earned income is counted when determining your SSI benefit and eligibility.

Step 1: If you have unearned income (for example, an SSDI benefit), subtract a $20 "General Income Exclusion" from it to calculate your countable unearned income. If you do not have unearned income, this exclusion is applied to any earned income.

Step 2: If you have earned income (for example, wages), subtract a $65 "Earned Income Exclusion" from it (along with the remainder of the $20 "General Income Exclusion" that you have not applied to Unearned Income), along with any Impairment Related Work Expenses, and divide the resulting figure by two to find your countable earned income. If you have Blind Work Expenses, subtract them after you divide.

Step 3: Add your countable unearned income to your countable earned income to find your total countable income.

Example: If you have $500 in unearned income and $500 in earned income ($1,000 total), your countable income for SSI would be: $480 in countable unearned income + $217.50 in countable earned income = $697.50.

Countable Resources (SSI)

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Resources are things you own, like a home or car. To be eligible for SSI, you can only have up to $2,000 in resources ($3,000 for a couple).

When determining whether or not you qualify for SSI, Social Security excludes certain resources from your countable resource total. Your home and one car do not count as resources, for example. Income received from Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), Child Tax Credits (CTC), SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), grants, scholarships, fellowships, gifts, property essential to self-support, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and many other items may be excluded as well. Additionally, for SSI, the first $100,000 in an ABLE account are not countable resources.

Talk to an ExpertPopup Link if you have questions.

Countable Unearned Income (SSI)

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Funds received from sources for which no paid work activity is performed are considered "unearned income" (for example, disability benefits such as SSDI, SSI, short- and long-term disability insurance; VA benefits; Workers' Compensation; income from a trust or investment; spousal support).

Your "countable unearned income" is the portion of that unearned income that the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program considers when deciding how much your SSI benefit should be. The SSI program uses a special calculation to determine your countable earned and unearned income, your total countable income, and ultimately, your SSI benefit.

Coverage Effective Date

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The date an individual is enrolled in coverage. The effective date is usually not the same as the date of hire.

Coverage Levels (Health Insurance)

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Labels for private health coverage options that give people an idea how much they would have in out-of-pocket expenses, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, when they use covered services. Plans that are the same coverage level should have roughly the same out-of-pocket expenses.

There are four different levels of plans available to most people:

  1. Platinum plans have the highest monthly premiums and the lowest out-of-pocket expenses when you get medical care.
  2. Gold plans have slightly lower premiums and slightly higher out-of-pocket expenses when you get medical care.
  3. Silver plans have lower premiums. The out-of-pocket expenses for medical services depend on your family’s income; if it is at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG), the out-of-pocket expenses may be as low as a gold or platinum plan.
  4. Bronze plans have the lowest monthly premiums and the highest out-of-pocket expenses when you get medical care.

You may see plans with percentages ranging from as low as 60% for Bronze plans to as high as 90% for Platinum plans. A lower percentage means the plan has higher out-of-pocket expenses when you get medical care, while a higher percentage means the plan has lower out-of-pocket expenses. Plans with lower percentage ratings usually have lower monthly premiums. Note: These percentages do not tell you exactly what percentage of your family's expenses your plan will pay for. They are based on averages for thousands of families and how much your plan actually ends up paying for your family could be much higher, or much lower, than what the percentage rating says, depending on the services your family needs.

Credit

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The ability to borrow money based on your history and promise of repayment.

Credit History

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A record that shows when and how you borrowed and repaid money.

Credit Limit

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The maximum amount of money that a financial institution or other lender will make available to you.

Credit Report

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A summary of your financial history that is prepared by a credit bureau. It includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy.

Credit Score

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A number (between 300 and 850) that is based on a person’s credit history, that is used by lenders to measure whether or not a person would be likely to repay debts. People who pay all of their debts on time will have a higher score; people who do not pay their debts on time will have a lower score. It is easier to get loans if you have a high credit score.

Creditable Coverage (Medicare)

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Coverage that is at least as good as that offered through Medicare Part D. Your health coverage plan can tell you whether or not your coverage is creditable.

Creditor

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A person or institution who has loaned you money and to whom you now owe money.

Customized Employment

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A process that allows a job seeker and potential employer to individualize a job description so that the job seeker's strengths would be utilized while the employer's needs would be met.

Deductible

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The amount an individual is responsible for paying for health care services before the insurer begins to pay.

Deductible (Medicare)

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The amount an individual is responsible for paying before Medicare begins to pay. For Part A, the deductible must be paid each benefit period. For Parts B and D, the deductible must be paid each year.

Deemed Income (SSI)

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The amount of another person’s income (a spouse or parent, for example) that is considered to belong to the individual regardless of whether the person receives this money.

Deeming Rules

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Rules used by Social Security and Medical Assistance (MA) that determine an individual’s eligibility when living with a non-disabled spouse. If the individual is a minor, deeming rules apply to the parents.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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A government-run military veteran benefit system. The VA has hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for running programs for veterans and their families. The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits, and burial benefits.

Visit the VA.gov website.

Dependent

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A person, usually a child, who is economically dependent on another person. Different programs have different definitions of when someone is a dependent.

Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with developmental disabilities or related conditions who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in an Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD).

For more information, contact your county human services agency or Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Disability (Definition used by private insurers)

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A level of impairment that causes private insurers to provide benefits to people who have paid a monthly premium for coverage.

There are two common levels of disability according to private insurers:

  1. Own-Occupation Disability (or “Own Occ” ) means your disability prevents you from performing your own occupation, which means you cannot do the work or job you have been trained to do and have experience in
  2. Any-Occupation Disability (or “Any Occ”) means your disability prevents you from performing any occupation:
    • Sometimes Any Occ means that your disability prevents you from performing any occupation that pays at least a specified percentage of what you earned before your disability

Own-occupation insurance policies pay you if you are unable to perform your own occupation, even if you are able to get a different type of job. They have higher premiums than policies that require you to be unable to perform any occupation. Check with your insurer to see which definition of disability your plan has.

Disability (Definition used by Social Security for Adults)

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The inability to engage in any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

A person must not only be unable to do his/her previous work but cannot, considering age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of SGA which exists in the national economy. It doesn't matter whether such work exists in the immediate area, or whether a specific job vacancy exists, or whether the worker would be hired if he/she applied for work. The worker’s impairment(s) must be the primary reason for his/her inability to engage in SGA.

Disability (Definition used by Social Security for Children)

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For a child under age 18, a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Disability (Definition used by the ADA)

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Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you are disabled if you have, have a record of, or are regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning, or working. Major life activities also include the operation of major body functions, including:

  • The immune system
  • Special sense organs
  • The skin
  • Cell growth
  • Digestive, genitourinary, bowel, and bladder functions
  • The nervous system and brain
  • Respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions

Disability Determination

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An agency ruling that you have a disability and are therefore entitled to benefits. To qualify for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT) must review your situation and determine that you have a disability. If you're on SSI, SSDI, or any Minnesota disability benefits program, you've already been determined disabled by Social Security or SMRT.

Disability Determination Process (SSA)

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The evaluation process the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to decide whether a person's disability meets SSA’s disability criteria for disability-based benefits.

Disabled Adult Child (DAC)

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Social Security benefits for adults who:

  • Became disabled before turning 22, and
  • Have a parent who died or who gets retirement or SSDI benefits.

Also called "Childhood Disability Benefits" (CDB).

Disclosing a Disabling Condition

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The process of telling your employer – or potential employer – that you have a disability. Your employer does not have the right to ask you about your disability during the hiring process before a job offer is made. Even after a job offer, there are legal limits about when and what an employer can ask about disability.

Generally, the only time it is required to disclose a disabling condition at the workplace is when requesting a reasonable accommodation. Even then, the requirement is only to present the employer with information demonstrating that a reasonable accommodation is needed for the person to perform the essential functions of the job.

Diversionary Work Program

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A four-month program that helps low-income Minnesota families find jobs.

The goal of DWP is to help parents immediately go to work rather than go on welfare. Parents are expected to sign an employment plan before their family is approved for DWP. After families have an employment plan, they can receive financial assistance to meet their basic needs and get other supports, such as SNAP and child and health care assistance.

When most families first apply for cash assistance, they will participate in DWP. Some families may be referred to the Minnesota Family Investment Program. DWP began in July 2004.

Donut Hole

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The gap in Medicare Part D coverage when you have between $3,700 and $7,425.00 in total drug costs in a year.

People on Medicare who fall within the “donut hole” get a 60% discount on brand name prescription drugs and a 49% discount on generics. This discount will continue to grow until 2020, when the donut hole coverage gap is closed completely. These changes are happening as a result of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

Down Payment

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The initial payment you make when you buy something on credit.

Down-Payment Assistance Program

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Help offered by some cities and counties that may reduce a homebuyer’s portion of the down payment to as little as 1% of the purchase price. The rules are different for every program, but usually the homebuyer does not need to repay this financial help until the homebuyer sells the home or finishes paying off the original mortgage. In some cases, the homebuyer may not have to repay it at all.

Dual-Eligibles

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A term used to describe individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medical Assistance.

Earned Income (EI)

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Salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts you receive as pay for physical or mental work you perform. Funds received from any other source are not included. (Contrast: unearned income.)

Earned Income Disregard (EID)

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A rule that helps people with disabilities getting housing benefits, like Section 8, public housing, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), try working.

If you have a disability and get a housing benefit that has an EID rule, you can start working and your new earnings will not be counted by the program during the first year after you start working. That means your rent won’t go up and you won’t lose the benefit because of your work. During the second year after you start working, only 50% of your earnings will be counted.

Earned Income Exclusion (SSI)

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$65 of earned income that is not considered when Social Security uses the SSI Countable Income Calculation to determine the benefit amount for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary. This $65 is in addition to the $20 general income exclusion, which may be earned or unearned income.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

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A federal income tax credit for low income working individuals and families. The credit reduces the amount of federal income tax you owe and can result in a refund check. Most people claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when they file their federal income taxes.

Elderly Waiver (EW) Program

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people 65 or older who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

Learn more at the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Eligibility Category

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A way to qualify for Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage. There are several different ways to qualify, each with specific requirements. An individual may be eligible for more than one category.

Eligible Couple (SSI)

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A married couple where the partners live together and both qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The maximum SSI benefits amount for an eligible couple is $1,103, which is only about 150% of the individual maximum of $735.

Note: If you live in the same household as somebody else and the two of you act as though you are married and present yourselves to the community as being married, Social Security will consider you a married couple for SSI purposes. This is often referred to as "holding out."

Note: For SSI, Social Security only recognizes same-sex couples as married if they are legally married under Minnesota law. (The rules are different for SSDI.)

Eligible Noncitizen

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Either a:

Employer Mandate

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A part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires most employers with 100 or more employees to offer affordable insurance to their employees, or pay a fine.

To learn more about the employer mandate, visit Health Reform Minnesota.

Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage

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Health coverage offered through an employer as a benefit for employees and their families. Employers usually pay a portion of the monthly premium and the employee pays the rest.

Employment Network

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An employment services agency that is approved by Social Security. Employment Networks may offer a variety of services such as job readiness services, placement services, vocational rehabilitation, training, job coaches, transportation or other supports.

Employment Network examples:

  • Employers
  • Employers offering or arranging for job training
  • Employers collaborating with community based organizations
  • Transportation providers
  • Staffing and placement agencies
  • Consumer groups
  • State Department of Rehabilitation
  • Private providers of rehabilitation services
  • Vocational rehabilitation Service Projects for American Indians with disabilities
  • Cottage industries such as benefits planning services combined with other services
  • Public or private schools providing transitional education or career development services
  • Organizations working with ethnic, disability, or religious faith groups

A current list of Employment Networks can be found on the Ticket to Work website.

Employment Plan (MFIP)

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A Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) Employment Plan must include:

  • Your employment goals
  • Details about how you will reach those goals
  • Timelines
  • Details about your job search
  • A statement saying that you are willing to take an appropriate job when it’s offered
  • Information about the help you’ll receive from your employment counselor

Empowerment Zone

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A geographic area, such as a neighborhood, that meets certain population, size, and poverty guidelines. An area must be nominated by the local government and the state to become an Empowerment Zone. The Zone is marked by poverty, unemployment, and general distress. Empowerment Zones receive federal funding for community development. A list of Empowerment Zones can be found on the HUD website.

Enterprise Community

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See Empowerment Zone.

Entrepreneur

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A person who organizes and runs a business and takes responsibility for the financial risks of doing so.

Essential Functions

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The fundamental job duties that you must be able to perform on your own or with the help of a reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job. At the same time, you cannot ask for an essential function to be removed from your job description as a reasonable accommodation.

Essential Health Benefits

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Benefits that federal law requires all health coverage plans provide. These benefits include:

  • Ambulatory patient services (care you get without being admitted to the hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care (care before and after your baby is born)
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management, including:
  • Prescription drugs
  • Laboratory services
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Pediatric services for children, including oral and vision care

Exception (Medicare)

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A request to an insurance plan to pay for a medication that is not on the plan formulary or to otherwise bypass the plan's utilization controls (the rules that help the plan lower costs).

Exclusion

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A service that a health coverage plan won't pay for. Cosmetic surgery, for example, is not covered under most plans.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

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The amount of money a family is expected to contribute to educational expenses. The Federal Student Aid Commission determines the EFC.

Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits

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A quicker way to get benefits restarted for individuals whose Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) ends due to employment. You get up to six months of benefits while SSA decides if you have medically improved or not. This provision is available for up to five years after your benefits end.

Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)

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A three-year period (36 months) after your SSDI Trial Work Period ends, during which you can keep getting SSDI benefits in any month when you earn less than the Substantial Gainful Activity level ($1,170 in 2017; $1,950 if you're blind).

If you earn more than SGA, your SSDI benefits will be suspended. However, during the EPE, you are eligible to have your SSDI benefits restarted if your earnings drop below SGA.

Fail First Rules

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An insurance requirement that you use a cheaper medication before trying more expensive options. This helps the insurance plan reduce costs.

Fair Share (SSI)

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The amount that each individual in a household is responsible for spending each month on food and shelter. If you live alone, it is the full cost of food and shelter. If you live with others, it is an equal portion of the total food and shelter expenses. For example, if you and three other people live together and spend a total of $4,000 per month on rent, utilities, and food, a fair share for each of you would be $1,000.

For the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and some other programs, whether an adult pays the fair share of expenses may affect benefits eligibility or benefits amounts.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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A federal law that allows you to take up to 12 weeks off of work for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member, or if you have a serious medical condition. You need to have worked for your employer for at least one year to qualify for FMLA coverage and your employer must employ at least 50 people.

Family Size

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For the purposes of comparing your household income to the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG), count the number of people you have living together as a family. Include yourself, your spouse, and any children, parents or other relatives who are listed on the same tax return. If there is a pregnant woman in your household, count the unborn baby as well.

Federal Benefit Rate (FBR)

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The national benefit amount, established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. For 2017, the FBR is $735 for an individual and $1,103 for a couple.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan

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Loans offered by banks and mortgage lenders that are insured by the federal government. They allow buyers to make much smaller down payments and are typically available for people with lower credit scores.

Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)

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Monthly and annual income amounts used to determine financial eligibility for state and federal benefit programs.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) in the Federal Register. The current FPG for one person is $12,060 per year; for two people, it's $16,240. Add $4,180 for each additional person.

Note: Different state and federal programs adopt the new Federal Poverty Guidelines on different dates each year.

FICA Taxes

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Taxes that are deducted from your paycheck when you work to help pay for Social Security and Medicare. FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

Five-Year Window

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The 60 consecutive months (five years) during which you can work nine Trial Work Months.

The window begins on the first TWP month, but rolls forward until you have worked nine Trial Work Months within 60 consecutive months.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

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A home mortgage for which equal monthly payments of interest and principal are paid over the life of the loan, usually for a term of 30 years.

Foreclosure

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A situation in which a mortgage lender (or financial institution) takes possession of the property because the borrower has not made payments on interest or principal for a certain period of time. Once the lender takes over the property, it usually sells at a discounted price so as to recover the amount lost on the mortgage loan.

Foreign Income

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Income received for services performed in a foreign county by an individual residing in that country.

Formulary

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A list of drugs that a health plan covers.

Free Medical Assistance (MA)

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Free MA covers all medically necessary health care services at no charge or for a small fee. If you meet eligibility requirements, including income limits, you will qualify for the program. If you qualify because of disability, asset limits may apply also.

If you get SSI, you will likely qualify for MA. You must apply for it separately though (you can't apply for it at Social Security).

Fully-Insured Plan

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An insurance plan purchased for employees by an employer, through an insurance company. The employer pays premiums to that company, and the insurance company is responsible for providing the costs of health care, as agreed upon in the policy. Fully-insured plans are subject to federal and state regulation.

General Assistance (GA)

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A state program that gives monthly cash assistance to low-income Minnesotans. The maximum GA benefit for individuals is $203/month ($260 for couples).

To qualify for the program, you must fit into one of 15 categories, most of which are based on disability or unemployability. If you're applying for GA, you're usually required to apply for Social Security benefits as well. The GA asset limit is $10,000 for couples and individuals, and your monthly net income must be less than $203 ($260 for couples). For more information or to apply, contact your county human services agency.

General Enrollment Period

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The period of time between January 1 and March 31 when a Medicare beneficiary can sign up for Part B coverage. Benefits will not begin until July 1 of that year, and a beneficiary may be subject to a late enrollment fee of 10% for each 12 month period they did not have Part B Medicare.

General Income Exclusion (SSI)

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The $20 of earned or unearned income that is not considered when determining the amount for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit.

Grace Period

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When a person has a pattern of work in which countable earnings exceed Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), the first 3-months of that pattern are the Grace Period. A person gets full Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments regardless of wages during this period.

Grant

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Money that does not have to be repaid. Government agencies and foundations give grants to programs and individuals who need financial help.

Gross Benefit Amount

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The total benefit amount an insurance company pays before deductions. Deductions are made for an individual’s disability income and for earnings he/she is receiving.

Gross Income

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Your earned income (before taxes and other deductions are made) plus your unearned income.

Gross Misconduct

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A serious violation of company policy or the commission of a crime affecting the workplace that may result in the loss of COBRA benefits. Although "gross misconduct" is not defined in COBRA legislation, past examples include embezzlement, misrepresentation, theft, and non-work related violence.

Gross Monthly Earnings

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Your total earned income for the month before taxes and other deductions are made.

Gross Pre-disability Salary

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The total pre-tax income paid to an individual by an employer before a disability began and while the individual was covered by disability insurance.

Group Coverage

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Coverage offered to an individual through a group, such as employer-sponsored, association-affiliated or professional group coverage.

Group Residential Housing (GRH)

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The Group Residential Housing (GRH) program helps pay room-and-board costs for people with disabilities, and people aged 65 or over, who live in certain settings. GRH may also pay for services in some cases. To find out if you qualify for GRH, contact your county human services agency.

Guardian

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A person who has the legal authority and duty to care for another person.

Habilitative Services

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Services or devices which help a person with a health condition to develop skills useful for everyday living, which they have never developed before.

This is different than rehabilitative services, which help a person with a health condition relearn skills that they knew how to do before an illness, accident, or injury.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

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A law that protects the privacy and confidentiality of your health information, such as medical records and test results. It regulates how health care providers are allowed to handle and share your protected health information.

HIPAA also prevents group health plans from denying you coverage based on your health condition and provides protections for those buying individual health coverage. However, these parts of HIPAA are protections that are no longer needed, since the Affordable Care Act provides all the same protections, plus more.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

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A common type of health care coverage plan. HMOs require that you only see certain doctors and that your primary care physician decides when you need to see a specialist.

Health Screening

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A process that allows Medicare supplement carriers to refuse coverage based on an individual’s health history. This process is also known as medical underwriting.

If a person enrolls in a Medicare supplement during the Medigap open enrollment period, an insurance company cannot use health screening. But, if a person tries to enroll in a Medicare supplement outside of the open enrollment period, then a private insurance company can still use health screening.

High-Deductible Plan

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A health coverage plan with a relatively low premium that usually doesn’t pay for the first few thousand dollars of health care expenses (this is your deductible) but will typically cover your expenses after you pay a certain set amount.

HIV/AIDS Disability Form 4814 for Social Security

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A form for individuals with HIV/AIDS who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The form requires physicians to identify whether an individual has one of the 41 opportunistic infections listed on the form, and to specify any "repeated manifestations" of other symptoms that restrict certain aspects of the individual's life.

Home Care Services

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Home care services can be given to people on Medical Assistance (MA) if the services are medically necessary, ordered by a doctor, and given according to a written service plan. Home care services are given in a person's home or outside the home if normal life activities take them there. They are not provided in hospitals or nursing facilities.

Home care services covered by MA include:

  • Equipment and supplies (e.g., wheelchairs)
  • Home health aide
  • Personal Care Assistant (PCA) services
  • Private duty nursing
  • Skilled nursing visits
  • Occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapies

Home Health Care (Medicare)

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Services covered by Medicare including part-time or periodic skilled nursing care; home health aide services; physical therapy; occupational therapy; speech-language therapy; medical social services; durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers); medical supplies; and other services.

Homemaker Services

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Tasks such as meal preparation, shopping, errands, and routine household care are all examples of homemaker services.

Hospice Care (Medicare)

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Services covered by Medicare Part A for individuals with a terminal illness. Services may include prescriptions for symptom control and pain relief, medical and support services from a Medicare-approved hospice, and other services not otherwise covered by Medicare. Hospice care is usually given in an individual’s home; however, Medicare may cover some short-term hospital and inpatient respite care (care given to a hospice patient so that the usual caregiver can rest).

Hospital Stays (Medicare)

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Services covered by Medicare Part A that include a semiprivate room, meals, general nursing, and other hospital services and supplies.

Household

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A group of people who live together as a family. Eligibility rules for benefits programs often vary depending on how many people live in your household.

The exact rules for who counts as a member of a household depend on the program. For most programs, your household includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse
  • Your children
  • Your spouse's children

If you are under 18, for most programs your household also includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • Your parents
  • Your stepparent if your other parent lives with you
  • Your siblings and stepsiblings

Many programs also consider these people part of your household if you over 18. And for some programs, other people living with you, such as grandparents, cousins, or others, may also be considered part of the household.

Household Size (MA-EPD)

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For MA-EPD enrollees or applicants who are 21 or older, your household includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • your spouse (unless he/she is applying for or on MA-EPD)
  • your biological or adopted children, including those who are temporarily absent (e.g., at school)
  • your spouse's biological or adopted children, including those who are temporarily absent (e.g., at school)
  • your unborn children or your spouse's unborn children (if you or your spouse is pregnant).

For MA-EPD enrollees or applicants who are under age 21, your household includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • your biological or adoptive parents
  • your stepparent if your other biological or adoptive parent lives with you
  • your siblings (biological, adopted, or step siblings)
  • your unborn sibling or half-sibling with whom you share a common parent
  • your spouse (unless he/she is applying for or on MA-EPD)
  • your minor children or unborn children if you are pregnant.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

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A program run through local housing authorities that can give rental help to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HOPWA funds can also give short-term rent, mortgage, and utility payment help.

Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE)

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Documented expenses for services or items that are related to a serious medical condition or impairment and needed in order to work. Wheelchairs, physician visits, copayments for prescriptions, and other medical expenses are some examples of IRWEs. The expenses must be verified by original receipts and canceled checks and approved by Social Security.

In Arrears

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Payment received for the prior month.

Income

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Money from salaries, wages, tips, disability benefits, investments, dividends, and funds received from any other source. Includes both earned and unearned income.

Income in the Month of Receipt

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Income from work or other sources in the month that you receive it. Minnesota health care programs do not count your income in the month of receipt when determining your assets. So if you receive $2,000 in May from work, that $2,000 is not counted as an asset in May, but may be counted as an asset in June.

Income Limit

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The highest income you can have while still qualifying for a particular benefits program.

Indemnity Plan

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A type of health insurance plan. You pay monthly premiums and usually have co-insurance and a yearly deductible as well. Also known as fee-for-service.

Independent living

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Living on one’s own, in the community, outside of an institution.

Independent Living Skills (ILS)

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Services to help people develop and maintain the skills needed to live within the community. For people on a Brain Injury (BI) Waiver, ILS services are part of the individual’s plan of care and have specific therapeutic goals.

Independent Review Entity

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A person outside of a Part D plan who reviews an appeal. This is the first person outside of the plan to review an appeal during the Part D appeals process.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

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A savings account in which your deposits are "matched" at a certain rate. If you have a 2-to-1 match, for example, an additional $2 will be deposited for every $1 that you deposit in your account. IDAs are usually used to save for school, purchasing a home, or starting a business.

Individual Disability Policy

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Wage-replacement coverage you buy directly from an insurance company, usually through an agent, that provides benefits if you become disabled. You are responsible for paying for the entire premium, and most individual policies require medical underwriting.

Individual Health Coverage

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Private health insurance an individual or family purchases. The individual or family pays a monthly premium and the plan agrees to pay a portion of the cost of approved medical services when needed, like for preventive care, lab tests, surgery, or prescription drugs. The easiest way to purchase an individual plan is through MNsure.

The government may help individuals and families with low to middle income who get their coverage through MNsure pay for their monthly premiums and a portion of the cost of approved medical services.

Individual Mandate

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A part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a minimum standard, or pay a fine. This fine is sometimes called the ACA “tax penalty.” Public insurance programs like Medicare or Medical Assistance, insurance offered through your employer, and insurance you buy through MNsure all count as meeting the individual mandate.

You do not have to pay a fine, even if you do not have health insurance, if:

  • You cannot afford the lowest cost plan option (because either the lowest cost plan is more than 8% of your income or your income is low enough that you don’t legally have to file taxes)
  • You have a religious objection
  • You are an American Indian
  • You are only without coverage for less than three months
  • You are an undocumented immigrant, or
  • You are incarcerated.

If you do not have health coverage, and you do not meet any of the exceptions, you will have to pay a fine each year you do not have coverage.

Individual Plan for Employment (IPE)

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A plan that lists the employment services and outcomes needed to achieve your PASS goal.

Individual Plan of Care

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Each enrollee in a MA-Waiver program has their own plan outlining the services they need to continue living safely in the community. This is known as a “individual plan of care” (sometimes referred to as a “community support plan”).

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

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A type of retirement plan in which people who are employed can put aside money every year into an account that is taxed less than a standard savings or investment account. This helps the account grow more quickly than other accounts. The person who puts the money aside can only use this money after reaching the age of 59 and a half. If money is withdrawn before that age, the person taking the money out has to pay a penalty.

Individual Work Plan (IWP)

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A formal agreement between an individual in the Ticket to Work program and an Employment Network that describes how services will help the person to achieve an employment goal. The IWP includes specific steps and a time schedule that may span several years.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

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An educational plan for a student receiving special education services. The IEP is created with input from parents, teachers, staff, and the student. It includes information on the student’s current performance, goals and evaluation, and on what specific services the student will need.

Informed Choice

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Making decisions based on complete and accurate information about your specific situation. Informed choice happens through talking with people that support you and doing things that help you make decisions about your life. It means that your concerns about myths and barriers about working and benefits are addressed. It also means that you understand all your options, how to get past barriers, and understand risks and benefits of your decisions. Part of this is seeing that your options are not limited to just disability programs. Professionals that help you in your decisions are being asked to use person centered ways to support informed choice in your life.

Initial Enrollment Period (Medicare)

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The period when a beneficiary can first sign up for Medicare Part B or Part D. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Disabled Adult Child (DAC) beneficiaries, the initial enrollment period begins during the 24th month of a beneficiary’s SSDI or DAC payments. The initial enrollment period typically lasts about 10 months.

Initial Enrollment Period (Private Coverage)

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The first time an individual is eligible to enroll in a group’s benefits programs.

In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM)

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A Supplemental Security Income (SSI) term that describes food and/or shelter which is supplied or paid for by someone other than the SSI beneficiary. Shelter expenses can include rent, mortgage payments, property taxes, heating fuel, gas, electricity, water, sewer service, and garbage collection.

If you do not pay your fair share of food and/or shelter, your maximum possible SSI benefits amount may be reduced. Depending on your situation, your ISM may be calculated using SSI's Value of One-Third Reduction (VTR) rule or the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) rule.

Note: ISM rules usually only apply to adults, not to children under 18 years old. For children, parent-to-child deeming rules usually apply instead.

Inpatient

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An individual who has been admitted to the hospital.

Inpatient Care

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Health services received after an individual is admitted to the hospital.

Integration

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The adjustment of payments when an individual is eligible for more than one benefit program.

Interest

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A charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.

Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD)

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A residential facility that provides services to people who have mental retardation or a related condition.

Internship

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A short-term work experience that allows you to gain practical skills and learn about an occupation in a real-world setting.

Interval Steps

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Measurable milestones that show progress towards achieving a vocational goal in a Plan to Achieve Self-Support. For example, if the goal is to obtain a job, the job search would be considered an interval step.

Investment Income

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Dividends, capital gains net income, certain rental and royalty income, net passive activity income, and taxable and tax-exempt interest.

Job Coaching

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A service that helps a person with a disability to keep a job. A job coach may:

  • Help you transition into employment at the beginning of a job
  • Provide ongoing support as you work
  • Train you
  • Talk to your employer about how to support you
  • Help you figure out transportation to and from work

Joint Assets

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Assets you own with someone else. If you own a boat, for example, and the title is in your name and your spouse's name, it's considered a joint asset.

Legal Adulthood

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Being able to sign contracts, vote, and enjoy other rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Generally, in the United States, people become legal adults when they turn 18.

Lifetime Reserve Days

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The days following a 90-day hospitalization. Medicare allows an individual 60 lifetime reserve days per benefit period that may only be used once during an individual’s lifetime. Medicare will pay for lifetime reserve days, whether used at once or over the individual's lifetime. However, the individual must pay for the daily coinsurance of $658 in 2017.

Liquid Assets

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Cash or other property which can be converted to cash within 20 days, excluding non-work days. Liquid assets include: checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, promissory notes, mortgages, and life insurance policies.

Loan

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Money that has to be repaid over time. You may get a loan to pay for different things, like buying a home or a car or paying for college or other expenses.

Loan Underwriting

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The process of reviewing all information collected in loan paperwork to figure out whether or not the loan is a good risk. The loan is evaluated based on the lender’s guidelines and practical experience.

Long-Term Care

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Services that assist individuals with long-term medical and personal needs. Long-term care may include medical services, physical therapy, custodial care, and assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, and bathing. Long-term care may be provided at home, in the community, or in facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Medicare will not pay exclusively for custodial care.

Long-Term Care Consultation (LTCC)

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A review of your situation to see what long-term care programs and services are best for you. The LTCC can help you figure out what services and programs might help you live in the community, including MA-Waiver programs, Medical Assistance (MA), personal care assistance (PCA) services, or other benefits. Even if you are not eligible for public benefits, the LTCC can help you understand what services, accommodations, and resources exist.

Note: MnCHOICES assessments are replacing the LTCC throughout Minnesota.

Long-Term Care Facility

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A place where people who need 24-hour skilled nursing can stay. To be admitted into a long-term care facility, you must go through a pre-admission screening to make sure you need this level of care.

There are three types of long-term care facilities:

Some people who live in long-term care facilities may be able to live in the community by getting similar services in their own homes or apartments.

Learn more about long-term care facilities on Housing Benefits 101.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

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Private insurance that replaces some of your income when you can't work because of a disability. Long-Term Disability (LTD) generally covers disabilities that last more than a year. To apply for LTD, speak with your employer's human resources department, or contact a private insurance company.

Low Income Subsidy (LIS) (Extra Help)

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Help paying for Medicare Part D for people with low to moderate income and assets. Also known as "Extra Help".

There are two levels of the Low Income Subsidy:

  • The full subsidy is for people who also get MA coverage or who are in a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). You may also qualify if your countable income is less than $16,038 per year and your assets are less than $7,390, if you are single (the limits are higher for larger households).
  • The partial subsidy is for people who can’t get the full subsidy, but have less than $17,820 in countable income and less than $12,320 in assets, if you are single (the limits are higher for larger households).
    • With the partial subsidy, you will pay 0%, 25%, 50%, or 75% of the Part D premium, depending on your income, and will only have to pay a $82 deductible before you get help paying for drugs. You will have to pay coinsurance and copayments for your medications, but they will be lower than they would be without the partial LIS.

Note: Not all of your income and assets are counted when you apply for the Low Income Subsidy. You can apply for the LIS even if you are not sure that you will qualify.

MA-EPD Countable Assets

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Assets are items of value that people own like bank accounts, stocks and bonds, cars, and real estate. MA-EPD has asset limits, but not everything counts. When answering the asset questions in this Estimator, you should:

Include...

...but don’t include

Checking and savings accounts...

...income the month you get it;

...retirement accounts;

...medical expense accounts through an employer;

...retroactive lump sum SSI payments;

...Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).

Property you own...

...the home you live in.

Your cars...

...the car you drive to work.

Other assets...

...household and personal goods, like pets, furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, and other home tools and equipment;

...Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refunds or payments;

...Child Tax Credit (CTC) refunds or payments;

...student financial aid such as grants or loans;

...burial space items or a burial fund (up to $1,500).

Stocks and bonds.

There are a number of other assets that MA-EPD doesn’t include. If you have other assets and want to know if MA-EPD counts them, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Managed Care

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Health coverage that requires you to get most services within a network.

With managed care, you have a primary care provider who oversees your care and refers you to specialists within the network when needed.

Match

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Funds paid by an IDA program when an individual deposits money into the account.

MA-TEFRA

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MA-TEFRA is a way for children with disabilities to get Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage if they would not otherwise qualify for MA due to their parents' income. MA-TEFRA does not count parental income for a child's eligibility purposes, but may charge a monthly parental fee based on the parents' income.

To learn more about MA-TEFRA, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

MA-Waiver Programs

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Some people require additional services beyond what's covered under standard Medical Assistance (MA). Minnesota's MA-Waiver Programs are designed to serve these people and provide the services necessary to allow them to live in the community.

Not all people with disabilities will qualify for a MA-Waiver program; each program serves a different target population and has its own set of eligibility criteria. Here are four MA-Waiver programs available to Minnesotans with a disability:

The Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver provides services to people who are chronically ill and need the level of care provided in a hospital.

The Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver serves people with disabilities who need the level of care offered in a nursing facility.

The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver provides services to people with mental retardation or related conditions.

The Brain Injury (BI) Waiver provides services to people with brain injuries.

Each of these programs offers a different set of services based on the population it serves. All of these programs offer Personal Care Assistant services, extended home health aide and nursing services, extended homemaker services, medical equipment and supply services, and increased transportation services.

To apply for a MA-Waiver program, contact your county human services agency.

Medicaid

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A joint federal and state program that provides assistance with medical costs to low income individuals and families. Medicaid programs vary from state to state. The federal Medicaid program is called Medical Assistance in Minnesota.

Medical Assistance (MA)

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A state-run health care program that pays medical expenses for people who are disabled, young, elderly, poor, or pregnant. If you meet program requirements, MA will help pay for a variety of medical services including visits to the doctor, hospital stays, medical equipment, home care services, and prescription drugs. To apply for MA, visit your county human services agency.

Medical Assistance (MA) Services

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You get the same health coverage with free Medical Assistance (MA), Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD), and MA with a spenddown. All three plans pay for a broad range of medical services, often more than private coverage. The following are covered by all three plans:

  • Physician and health clinic visits
  • Medical equipment services (e.g. – wheelchairs)
  • Mental health services
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
  • Personal Care Assistant (PCA) services
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Transportation services
  • Case management services
  • Home care services

Other services covered include immunizations, lab and x-ray work, family planning and pregnancy services, alcohol and drug treatment, hospice care, and nursing care.

Some services may require a small copayment ($1 - $3). This includes prescription drugs (unless you're on Medicare) as well as dental, vision, chiropractic, and podiatry care.

To apply for free MA, MA-EPD, and MA with a spenddown, contact your county human services agency.

Medical Assistance (MA) with a Spenddown

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If you have countable income that is greater than the income limit for disability-based MA, you may need to pay a spenddown to maintain disability-based MA coverage. A spenddown is the amount of money you have to pay for health care expenses each month before MA starts to pay for the rest of your health care bills. You do not have to pay the full spenddown amount if your medical bills are less in any month. If, however, your monthly medical bills average less than your spenddown for several months, you will likely lose eligibility for the program at your next six-month review.

Once you have paid your spenddown amount, you won't have to pay any more for health care received in that month. For this reason, if you plan all your non-urgent medical and dental appointments in the same month, you may pay less.

To apply for Medical Assistance (MA), contact your county human services agency.

Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD)

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A program that gives Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage to employed people with disabilities. To qualify you must:

MA-EPD covers the same services as standard MA, but lets you have higher income without losing your coverage.

Medical Eligibility Requirements

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Certain medical standards that you have to meet to qualify for a program.

Medical Redetermination

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All public health care and benefits programs require that your medical condition be re-assessed within certain timeframes. If Social Security or the State Medical Review Team determines that you are no longer disabled during one of these assessments, you’ll lose your eligibility for that program. This is known as “medical redetermination.”

Medical Savings Account (Medicare)

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A Medicare Advantage (Part C) option where Medicare gives your plan money to deposit into a savings account. You can use this money to pay for Medicare costs. After you meet a high yearly deductible, the plan will help pay for Medicare services.

Medical Treatment/Care

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Any medical care that you receive for a medical condition. Some examples include being prescribed medication, visits to the doctor, and therapy for a mental health problem.

Medical Underwriting

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The review of an individual’s medical history and/or medical records to determine if the individual is eligible for coverage. Medical underwriting, which may include new medical testing, can be used to deny coverage or determine if a particular pre-existing condition will be covered.

The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from doing medical underwriting and excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage. Other forms of insurance, like private disability insurance, can do medical underwriting and exclude pre-existing conditions.

Medically Necessary

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Services or supplies that are considered by Medicare to be appropriate and needed for treatment.

Medicare

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A federal program that provides health insurance for people 65 or older and many people under 65 who have disabilities. After a person gets Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for two years, he or she qualifies to get Medicare as well.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

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A way of getting combined Medicare coverage through a health plan run by a private insurance company, instead of getting Original Medicare (Parts A, B, and D). Medicare Part C plans can be Managed Care (Medicare HMOs), Private Fee-for-Service, Preferred Provider Organization, and Special Needs Plans. If you get Medicare Parts A and B, you can choose whether you want to join a Part C plan or prefer staying enrolled in Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) Plan

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Medicare Part D drug coverage that is offered through a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Appeals Council

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A group of people within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who hear Medicare appeals after they have gone to an Administrative Law Judge.

Medicare Carrier

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A private insurance company that contracts with Medicare.

Medicare Cost Plan

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A way to organize your Medicare benefits. When you use services within the plan’s network, it helps pay for costs. When you use services outside the plan’s network, Original Medicare helps pay.

Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

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A Medicare Advantage option that can have lower copayments than the Original Medicare Plan, but generally limits individuals to visiting doctors, specialists, or hospitals within the plan's network. Plans must cover all Medicare Part A and Part B services, and some plans cover extras, like prescription drugs. Medicare Managed Care Plans are only available in some areas of the country.

Also known as "Medicare Managed Care Plan."

Medicare Managed Care Plan

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See Medicare HMO.

Medicare Part A

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The part of Medicare that helps pay for medical care you get while you’re in a hospital.

Medicare Part B

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The part of Medicare that helps pay for medical care you get when you are not staying in a hospital, such as when you go to see a doctor.

Medicare Part D

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The part of Medicare that helps pay for prescription drugs.

Medicare Part D Benchmark Plans

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The Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy pays the monthly premiums for all benchmark plans. There are 6 such plans in Minnesota in 2017:

  • BCBS MedicareBlue Rx
  • First Health Part D Premier
  • HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan
  • Humana Walmart – Preferred Rx Plan
  • Silverscript CVS Caremark Value
  • Sterling Rx
  • United Healthcare AARP Medicare Rx Preferred
  • Universal American Community CCRx Basic
  • WellCare Classic

Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) is also considered a benchmark plan. If you have questions about Part D benchmark plans, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Medicare Plans

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Health coverage options that include: Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare supplement policies.

Medicare Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan

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A Medicare Advantage option that gives an individual the choice of visiting providers within the network or seeing a provider outside of the network for an additional cost. An individual does not need a referral from their primary care physician to see a specialist.

Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plan

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A Medicare Advantage option that allows an individual to go to any Medicare-approved doctor or hospital. The insurance plan, rather than the Medicare program, decides what services it will cover and how much it will pay. Although an individual may pay more under this plan, he/she may have extra benefits that the Original Medicare Plan doesn't offer.

Medicare Savings Program (MSP)

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Medicare Savings Programs help people on Medicare pay for some of their out-of pocket Medicare costs. The costs paid depend upon your income but can include Medicare Part A and B premiums, co-insurance, copayments, and deductibles. You need to have countable income that is 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) or less ($1,337/month for an individual, $1,802/month for couples) to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.

There are three different Medicare Savings Programs you may qualify for:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), if your countable income is 100% of FPG or less ($990/month for an individual, $1,335/month for couples)
  • Service Limited Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), if your countable income is 120% of FPG or less ($1,188/month for an individual, $1,602/month for couples)
  • Qualified Individual (QI), if your countable income is more than 120% of FPG, but at or below 135% of FPG ($1,337/month for an individual, $1,802/month for couples)

Medicare Supplement

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A supplemental insurance policy sold by private insurance companies to fill gaps in Original Medicare. In Minnesota, there are 2 Medicare supplement plans: the Basic Plan and the Extended Basic Plan. These plans are standardized. One company’s Basic Plan must offer the same services as another company’s Basic Plan.

Medicare supplement policies are available only to individuals using Original Medicare and it is illegal for an insurance carrier to sell a Medicare supplement to an individual who does not have Original Medicare.

Medicare supplements are sometimes referred to as "Medigap."

Mentor

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A person who can provide you with guidance and support.

Microenterprise

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A business operating on a very small scale. Often a microenterprise is owned and run by 1 person and has a small number of employees.

Milestone

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A significant, visible step toward achieving a vocational goal.

Minimum Payment

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The amount shown on your monthly credit card statement that you must pay by the due date to not hurt your credit score.

Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA)

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A program that used to offer health insurance to people who were been turned down for private coverage due to pre-existing conditions. MNsure now offers coverage for Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions, so MCHA is no longer needed.

On December 31, 2014, all MCHA coverage ended. You can no longer get health coverage through MCHA.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

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This is Minnesota's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (sometimes called "welfare-to-work"). It provides cash and food assistance to low-income families with children, and also helps with job training and finding employment.

MFIP used to be called "Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)."

Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO)

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Health care program for people age 65 or older who are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA) only, or who are eligible for MA and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. The program covers the same services as MA and Medicare and may offer additional services as well.

Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB)

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A state agency that provides people with vision loss or who are blind with services that help them prepare for, find, and keep jobs. These services can include counseling, training, and job placement. It can also including other types of training that help people with vision loss live as independently as possible.

To qualify, you need to be legally blind. People who get SSI or SSDI because of their vision loss are automatically eligible.

To learn more, visit the Workforce Development Unit of Minnesota State Services for the Blind website or call 1-800-652-9000 or 1-888-665-3276 (TTY).

For a listing of local SSB offices, click here.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)

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A state program that provides a monthly cash benefit to people who are aged, blind or disabled and who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Some people who don't get SSI may still be eligible for MSA if their income is low enough and they meet other program criteria.

The MSA benefit you get depends on your living arrangements, the amount you get in SSI (if you get an SSI benefit), and whether or not you have any special needs expenses. The current monthly MSA benefit for many individuals is $81 ($111 for couples). To apply for MSA, visit your county human services agency.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) Housing Assistance

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A special needs expense that can be added to your MSA assistance standard to help you move from an institution into the community. Your total shelter costs (rent, utilities, and initial security deposit) must be more than 40% of your household gross income to qualify for Housing Assistance. In 2017, the MSA Housing Assistance amount is $194.

Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)

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A state agency that helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs. To apply for services, call or visit a vocational rehabilitation counselor at a WorkForce Center.

MinnesotaCare

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A health insurance program for low-income Minnesota residents who do not have access to Medicare, Medical Assistance, or employer-sponsored coverage. You pay a monthly premium for MinnesotaCare based on your family's income.

You can apply for MinnesotaCare at your county human services agency or MNsure.

MnCHOICES

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A review of your situation to see what long-term care programs and services are best for you. A MnCHOICES assessment may include reviews of:

  • Long-term care needs
  • Personal care assistance options, and
  • Developmental disability screening.

The MnCHOICES assessment can help you figure out what services and programs might help you live in the community, including MA-Waiver programs, Medical Assistance (MA), personal care assistance (PCA) services, or other benefits. Even if you are not eligible for public benefits, the assessment can help you understand what services, accommodations, and resources exist.

Anyone who needs long-term care can call their local county human services agency and request a MnCHOICES assessment. The county has to schedule the consultation within 20 days.

Learn more about MnCHOICES.

Note: Long-Term Care Consultations (LTCCs) used to help people in a similar way. MnCHOICES assessments are replacing the LTCC throughout Minnesota.

MNsure

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A website where Minnesotans can sign up for private individual health coverage or public health plans, such as Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.

The government may help individuals and families with low to middle income who get their coverage through MNsure pay for their monthly premiums and a portion of the cost of approved medical services.

Note: Individuals who have been determined disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) should Talk to an ExpertPopup Link or with the local county human services agency before signing up for a plan through MNsure.

Modifications to Home or Vehicle

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Physical changes made to a person’s home or vehicle to better accommodate that person’s disability. Examples of such modifications include widening doorways for easier wheelchair access or adding extra hand controls to a vehicle.

Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)

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Total annual income of everybody living in a household, including most earned and unearned income. MAGI is used to help determine eligibility for income-based Medical Assistance and for subsidies that help households pay for individual health coverage on MNsure.

MAGI includes:

MAGI does not include:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), MFIP, SNAP, and veterans' disability benefits
  • Workers' compensation
  • Earned income that is placed in a 401(k) plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) (Income placed in Roth versions of these accounts is included in MAGI.)
  • Pre-tax deductions from a paycheck, including contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
  • Child support received; and
  • Most other types of non-taxable income.

Get more information about what is included in Modified Adjusted Gross Income.

Mortgage

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A loan for funds used to buy real estate property.

Net Benefit Amount

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The benefit amount an insurance company pays after deducting income.

Net Income

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The amount of income you have after certain amounts are subtracted from it.

Network

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A group of doctors or medical service providers who have signed a contract with a health coverage plan. If you have health coverage through a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), you generally have to see doctors within the network. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and Point of Service (POS) plans allow you to see doctors outside of your network, but you will have to pay more.

Noncitizen

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A person currently in the United States who has not attained U.S. citizenship by birth or naturalization. This includes asylees, lawful permanent residents, nonimmigrants, refugees, and undocumented people.

Nonpreventive Care Services

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Health care services that are medically necessary and are aimed at treating illnesses, as opposed to preventing them. (Contrast: preventive care services.)

OBRA

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If you are on COBRA for 18 months, you may be able to extend your health care coverage for an additional 11 months via OBRA protections. Important: You must apply for OBRA within 30 to 60 days of the date that you're approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Onset Date (Social Security)

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The date, after reviewing an individual's medical records, that Social Security determines that a disability began. The date Social Security receives an application does not necessarily establish the onset date.

Open Enrollment Period

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The annual time period when an individual may add or change private insurance plans offered by an employer, an association, or through MNsure. Certain situations, such as divorce, the birth of a child, or loss of another insurance plan may allow a person to sign up for an insurance plan outside of this time period.

Opportunistic Infection

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An infection that occurs when the immune system is weakened.

Original Medicare

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A pay-per-visit health coverage plan that allows individuals to go to any doctor, hospital, or other health care supplier who accepts Medicare and who is accepting new Medicare patients. The individual is responsible for paying a deductible and copayment. Under Original Medicare, Medicare pays a portion of the Medicare-approved amount, while the individual pays for his/her share (coinsurance).

Individuals with Medicare choose to either stay in Original Medicare or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Advantage plans will have different costs and covered services than Original Medicare.

Out-Of-Pocket Costs

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The health care related costs you pay yourself without help from Medicare, Medical Assistance (MA), or other health insurance.

Out-Of-Pocket Maximum

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The maximum amount of money that you have to spend on health costs in a year. After you reach the out-of-pocket maximum, your policy will pay the entire cost of covered services. The out-of-pocket maximum does not count the premiums you pay, and certain other costs may or may not be counted.

Outpatient Services

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Health services received outside of hospital care, including after an individual is released from the hospital.

Overpayment

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Payment that exceeds the approved benefit amount.

Parental Control

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Social Security uses this as one measure of whether or not a beneficiary should receive an independent living benefit rate. A child is considered to be under "parental control" if their parent has the authority to make decisions on their behalf.

Parental Fee (MA-TEFRA)

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A monthly fee that parents may have to pay for their child's Medical Assistance (MA) coverage if their family income exceeds 280 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). The fee is calculated according to MA's TEFRA rules.

Parent-to-Child Deeming

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Social Security’s process of figuring out how much of parents’ income is used to pay for a child’s basic needs. Some of the parents' income may be considered the child's when determining whether or not the child is eligible for disability benefit programs.The amount of deemed income is subtracted from the benefit amount.

PASS Cadre

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A group of specialists at the Social Security Administration (SSA) who review, monitor, and approve Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS). They can also help you as you write your plan.

To contact the St. Paul PASS Cadre, call 1-866-667-6032, ext. 34061. If your servicing office is in North Dakota or South Dakota contact the Denver PASS Cadre at 1-800-551-1034.

PASS Review

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A regular review of your Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) that takes place at least once every six months. A PASS specialist will check how your plan is progressing and collect receipts for your PASS expenses.

Patient Assistance Program (PAP)

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A program administered by a pharmaceutical company that provides financial assistance with prescription drug costs. PAPs offer free and discounted prescription drugs to those who qualify.

Peer Counselor

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A person who helps another person who has had similar or related experiences. A peer counselor can listen, share information, and give advice.

Period of Entitlement

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The continuous period from the award start date of a benefit to the date when eligibility for the benefit or program stops.

Period of Incapacity

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At least four consecutive days when you are unable to do the basics of your job, attend school, or take care of yourself because of illness.

Permanent Resident

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U.S. Permanent Resident with either an Alien Registration Card or I-551 Card.

Permanently and Totally Disabled

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According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a physical or mental condition which:

  • Is expected to last continuously for at least 12 months (one year) or result in death, and
  • Prevents a person from performing any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) (earning more than $1,170 per month; $1,950 if blind).

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)

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Services designed to assist an individual with a disability perform activities of daily living at home or in the workplace.

Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Services

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Assistance and support services for people with disabilities who live independently in the community. A qualified personal care assistant provides the services in the person’s own home or in the community.

Personal Support

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Supervision and assistance provided in the home or community that helps the person achieve greater independence, productivity and inclusion in the community. Personal support services are provided when training services are not necessary.

Pharmacy Network

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A group of local pharmacies you can buy prescription drugs from. If you purchase drugs from within your pharmacy network, your prescription drug plan should cover it.

Plan of Care

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Plan that helps MA-Waiver recipients identify and access the services and supports they need to live in the community. The plan is designed to suit each individual's needs. Also referred to as a "community support plan."

Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

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A Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that allows you to set aside income and assets for expenses related to a specific work goal. Income that you use for these expenses will not cause your SSI benefits to go down. Assets that you spend on PASS expenses won't count towards the SSI limit.

A PASS specialist can help you set up a Plan to Achieve Self-Support.

Point-Of-Service (POS) (Medicare)

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An option offered by some Medicare Managed Care Plans that allows an individual to use doctors and hospitals outside the plan at an additional cost.

Point-Of-Service (POS) Plan (Private Health Coverage)

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A type of health coverage that allows you to choose between HMO, PPO, and Indemnity coverage. You can choose to pay less and have your care managed by a physician, or pay more to have more choices in the doctors you can see.

Potentially Disabling Condition

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A condition that does not yet interfere with your abilities or keep you from working, but may one day develop into a disability that keeps you from working.

Power of Attorney

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A legal written document that lets someone else (called an agent) act for you in legal, financial, business, or personal matters. The agent can make decisions, sign legal documents, buy or sell items, or handle banking and other accounts for you.

Pre-Disability Income

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See Gross Pre-Disability Salary.

Pre-Disabled

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A person who is HIV-positive, but does not have an AIDS diagnosis, Opportunistic Infections (OI), or any other symptoms. Somebody who is pre-disabled is likely to become disabled without medical treatment.

Pre-Existing Condition

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Any condition for which “medical care” was received within six months prior to the effective date of insurance coverage. Medical care includes the use of prescription drugs and physician consultations and services. During a pre-existing condition exclusionary period, coverage for that condition is either not provided or can be limited.

The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from doing medical underwriting and excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage. Other forms of insurance, like private disability insurance, can do medical underwriting and exclude pre-existing conditions.

Pre-Existing Condition Exclusionary Period

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The period of time from the coverage effective date that the insurer does not cover a pre-existing medical condition. The individual will normally be covered for the condition once the specified time has elapsed.

The Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance companies from doing medical underwriting and excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage. Other forms of insurance, like private disability insurance, can do medical underwriting and exclude pre-existing conditions.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)

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Government-run insurance plans for people who couldn’t get insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions, PCIPs ended on January 1, 2014. Now, insurance companies cannot deny people health coverage because of pre-existing conditions. People who don’t have health insurance can get coverage through MNsure.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

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A type of health insurance plan. You pay a monthly premium and, when you use medical services, copayments and deductibles. PPOs have networks of physicians. You can see any doctor in the network without getting prior authorization from a primary care physician. Seeing a doctor outside of the network is more expensive.

Premium (General)

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A regularly scheduled payment to an insurer or health care plan.

Premium (MA-EPD)

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A monthly payment MA-EPD enrollees must make to remain in the program. The amount of the premium depends on the participant's income and household size, with a minimum of $35. There is no maximum premium.

Premium (Medicare)

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A regularly scheduled payment to an insurer or health care plan.

If you're on SSDI or DAC and Medicare, you likely won't have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A coverage. You may have to pay a Part B premium, however. For most people, the premium for Part B coverage is $109.00 per month. If you qualify, a Medicare Savings Program or other programs can help pay for your Part B premium.

If you sign up for Part D prescription drug coverage or have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan instead of Original Medicare, you will also usually have to pay a premium. The exact amount of your premium will depend on the plan you choose.

Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)

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A Medicare Part D plan that only offers drug coverage. Also known as a "stand-alone" plan.

Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) Rule

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A rule that sets a maximum value on the amount of certain types of in-kind support and maintenance that SSI counts. If the PMV rule applies, the most you can get in SSI benefits goes down.

The PMV rule applies if:

  • Somebody helps you with food and/or shelter, and
  • The Value of One-Third Reduction (VTR) rule does not apply to your case.
    • Examples: The VTR does not apply if you do not live in the same household as the person helping you with your food and shelter, or if the person helping you does not help with both food and shelter.

The exact amount your maximum SSI benefits go down depends on your situation:

  • By default, it will go down by one-third of the maximum SSI benefit plus $20. For 2017, this Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) is $265.00 for an individual.
  • However, if the actual help you get paying for food or shelter is worth less than the PMV, then your SSI benefits will only be reduced by the actual support amount.

Presumptive Disability

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A status granted to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants who have a high chance of being found disabled according to Social Security Administration (SSA) standards. If the SSA finds you presumptively disabled, they will begin benefit payments while your application is still being reviewed.

The SSA may find you presumptively disabled if you meet the medical criteria of the Blue Book Listing of Impairments or if you have HIV/AIDS and meet the criteria of SSA Form 4814. In either case, you must also meet SSI financial requirements to be eligible for presumptive disability benefits.

Repayments of presumptive disability benefits are not required even if SSI benefits are ultimately denied.

Preventive Care Services

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Health care services aimed at keeping you healthy by preventing illness; for example, Pap tests, pelvic exams, yearly mammograms, and flu shots. (Contrast: non-preventive care services.)

Primary Care Physician (Medicare)

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A doctor who provides basic care and acts as an individual’s first point of contact when seeking health services. In many Medicare Managed Care Plans (Medicare HMOs), an individual may need to see their primary care doctor before going to a specialist.

Primary Care Provider (PCP)

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The doctor, nurse practitioner, or other medical service provider who is in charge of your medical care in a Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). In HMOs, you have to see a PCP in order to get a referral to see a specialist. Other types of health coverage might not have PCPs, or might charge you more if you see a specialist without getting a referral from a PCP.

Principal

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The amount that a person borrows. For example, if a person borrows $100,000, the principal amount is $100,000. Interest is calculated over the principal.

Prior Authorization (Medicare)

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A requirement to get an insurance plan's permission to use a certain medication. This helps the insurance plan reduce costs.

Prior Authorization (Private Health Coverage)

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A health plan process of reviewing medical services or medications before they give you permission to go ahead with the service or use the medication. This is done to ensure that the service or medication is appropriate and necessary before the plan pays for it.

Private Duty Nursing

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The care of clients by nurses. Most nurses who provide private duty care are working one-on-one with individual clients. Sometimes such care is provided in the client's home, or an institution, such as a hospital, nursing home or other such facility.

Private Health Coverage

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Health coverage through a private company that pays for medical expenses. A monthly premium must be paid for this coverage by the individual or family covered, by an employer, or by an association. The individuals covered by private health plans must also make payments such as copayments or coinsurance each time they use certain medical services.

In some cases, the federal government may help low to middle-income families pay for private health coverage through tax subsidies if they are in very specific situations and do not have other affordable health coverage alternatives.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

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An additional fee charged to borrowers who have a down payment that is less than 20% of the sale price or appraised value of the home.

Probate

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A legal process after a person dies during which a court decides whether that person’s will is valid or not. If the person didn’t leave a will, the court will decide who gets the person’s money and property. The process can be complicated, and take anywhere from a few months to several years.

Proof of Identity

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Any document that the state will accept as proof of your identity. Click here for a listing.

Property Essential to Self-Support (PESS)

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Anything that you own and need to support yourself. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves the property that you claim is Property Essential to Self-Support (PESS), Social Security will not count these things as resources when figuring out if you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Three types of property can be excluded as PESS:

  • Property that you use in a trade or business (for example, your inventory) or personal property you use for work as an employee (for example, tools or equipment)
  • Up to $6,000 of the value of nonbusiness property that you use to produce something that helps with your daily living (for example, land that you use to produce vegetables that you eat)
  • Up to $6,000 of the value of property if the property gives you a return of at least a 6% per year (for example, property you own and rent to someone else)

You must be using the property to support yourself or expect to start using it again within a reasonable period of time, usually 12 months.

Property Tax Refund

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If you own your own home, you may be eligible for a refund on some of the money you spend on property taxes each year. This is known as a "property tax refund."

If your annual household income is less than $108,660, you may qualify for a property tax refund of up to $2,660. If you rent your home and your annual household income is less than $58,880, you may qualify for a renter's credit (also referred to as a "property tax refund") of up to $2,060. To learn more about both programs, including how to apply, click here.

Public Housing Authority (PHA)

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A local agency that is in charge of assigning Section 8 housing vouchers, taking care of upkeep of public housing, and making sure that the housing is safe, decent, and affordable. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees and assists PHAs.

Find a PHA near you.

Qualified Alien

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According to Social Security, you are considered a qualified alien if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says you are in one of these categories:

  • Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence (LAPR) in the United States, including "Amerasian immigrant" as defined in Section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1988, as amended;
  • granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as in effect before April 1, 1980;
  • paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least one year;
  • refugee admitted to the United States under Section 207 of the INA;
  • granted asylum under Section 208 of the INA;
  • deportation is being withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA as in effect before April 1, 1997, or removal is withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA; or
  • “Cuban or Haitian entrant” under Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 or in a status that is to be treated as a “Cuban or Haitian entrant” for SSI purposes.

Qualified Invidiual (QI)

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A Medicare Savings Program that pays for Medicare Part B premiums. To qualify, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be eligible for Medicare Part B.
  • Have countable monthly income that is more than 120% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG), but at or below 135% of FPG. That's $1,188 – $1,337 per month for individuals, $1,602 – $1,802 for a family of two. This monthly income limit increases by $466 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

Qualified Jobseeker

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A person who (a) has certain characteristics that the employer asks job applicants to have, such as education, work experience, skills, or licenses, and (b) can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.

Qualified Medical Expense

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Expenses for certain items or services that are approved by your Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA). You should get a list of what things count as qualified medical expenses, so you know ahead of time which things will be covered by your FSA, and which things will not

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)

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A Medicare Savings Program that pays for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. To qualify, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Have countable income at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). That's $990/month for individuals, $1,335/month for a family of two. This monthly income limit goes up by $345 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

Qualifying Child

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An IRS classification that may allow a taxpayer to claim the EITC and certain other tax credits. In general, to be a taxpayer’s qualifying child, a person must satisfy four tests:

  • Relationship — the taxpayer’s child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or stepsibling, or a descendant of one of these.
  • Residence — has the same principal residence as the taxpayer for more than half of the tax year. Exceptions apply, in certain cases, for children of divorced or separated parents, kidnapped children, temporary absences, and for children who were born or died during the year.
  • Age — must be under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least five months of the year, or be permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year.
  • Support — did not provide more than one-half of his/her own support for the year.

Qualifying Events

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Events that may end individuals' employer-sponsored group health coverage but qualify them for COBRA or other continuation coverage.

For employees, qualifying events can include:

  • Quitting
  • Being fired for a reason besides gross misconduct
  • Being laid off
  • Having your work hours reduced

If you are covered under your spouse’s employer-sponsored health coverage, you can get continuation coverage if your spouse loses coverage for any of the above reasons or because:

  • The employee dies
  • There’s a divorce or legal separation
  • The employee becomes eligible for Medicare

Quick Benefit Restart

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A feature of the SSI program that makes it easy to restart your SSI benefit if you lost it because of work alone. If you are 1619(b) eligible and you stop working, you will be able to get your SSI benefit restarted quickly without having to file a new application or wait for medical review.

Real Estate Rehabilitation Credits

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A tax credit given to persons or corporations for fixing up real estate property, often in lower-income communities.

Realtor

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A person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.

Reasonable Accommodation

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An adjustment or modification to a job or workplace that enables an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.

In education, a reasonable accommodation is a modification that allows a student with a disability to successfully participate in an activity, class, test, or other aspect of school.

Reasonable Accommodation Request

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A request to an employer to make a modification to a job or workplace that allows an employee to successfully perform the essential duties of a job. The request can come from the employee, or an employee's friend, family member, or medical provider. Reasonable accommodation rules are case-by-case situations, and employers and employees can negotiate the terms under the law.

Referral

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A written authorization to visit a specialist from an individual’s primary care doctor. In many Medicare Managed Care Plans (Medicare HMO), an individual must get a referral before receiving care from anyone except the primary care doctor. If an individual fails to get a referral, the plan may refuse to pay for care.

Refugee

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A noncitizen who, while outside the U.S. and their home country, was granted permission to enter and live in the U.S. because they had a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country.

Regular Attendance (SEIE)

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To be considered “regularly attending” school for the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), a student has to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Attend a college or university for at least 8 hours a week under a semester or quarter system
  • Be in grades 7 - 12 for at least 12 hours a week
  • Be in a course of training (with shop practice) for at least 15 hours a week to prepare for a paying job
  • Be in a course of training (without shop practice) for 12 hours a week

In some circumstances, like illness or unavailability of transportation, students may be allowed to spend less time than indicated above and still be considered “regularly attending” for the purposes of the SEIE.

Rehabilitative Services

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Services or devices which help a person with a health condition to relearn skills that they knew how to do before an illness, accident, or injury.

Renewal Community

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See Empowerment Zone.

Renter’s Property Tax Refund (Renter’s Credit)

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A state tax refund of up to $2,060 for people who rent the place they live in and have annual household income below $58,880. To get this refund, you must file a separate form from your state taxes, and your refund will also be sent to you separately from any regular state tax refund you may get. Also called the "Renter’s Credit."

Learn more about the Renter’s Property Tax Refund.

Reporting Agencies

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Agencies to which you need to report any changes in your income or living situation, if you get public benefits.

If you're on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY), or visit your local Social Security office, and ask what's the best way for you to report. Note: Reporting rules for SSI and SSDI are different and if you get both benefits, you must report income for them separately.

If you're on Medical Assistance (MA), Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA), General Assistance (GA), Group Residential Housing (GRH), or any other state health care or cash assistance programs, report any changes in earnings to your county human services agency.

Representative Payee

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A person who gets and manages benefits on someone else's behalf. Social Security does an investigation before making a relative, friend, or other person the representative payee of a beneficiary who needs help managing their benefits. For children under 18, a parent or guardian is usually the representative payee.

Resource Exclusions (SSI)

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In addition to the home you live in and one car, there are several other resources that may be excluded when determining your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) countable resource total. Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), Child Tax Credits (CTC), SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), grants, scholarships, fellowships, gifts, property essential to self-support, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and many other items may be excluded. Additionally, for SSI, the first $100,000 in an ABLE account are not countable resources.

For more information, you can read the SSI Spotlight on Resources.

Talk to an ExpertPopup Link if you have questions.

Resource Limit

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The maximum amount of resources you're allowed to own while maintaining eligibility for a particular disability benefits program. Most benefits programs do not count everything you own, including the home you live in and one car you own. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as resources. For Medical Assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.

Also called an "asset limit."

Resources

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Cash or property that you own, can convert to cash, or can use to support yourself. Stocks, bonds, and savings accounts are a few examples of resources. The home you live in and the car you drive to work are exempt under most Social Security and state disability benefit programs. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the first $100,000 in an ABLE account is not counted as resources. For Medicaid, Food Stamps, and some other programs, none of the money in an ABLE account is counted.

Also called "assets."

Respite Care

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Temporary assistance provided on a short-term basis when the primary care provider is absent.

Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI)

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Social Security program that provides monthly income to people with disabilities, survivors or dependents of people with disabilities, and retired people. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one part of RSDI.

Retroactive Eligibility

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Eligibility for a particular program that is granted for months prior to the month of application. Some state health care programs, for example, allow you to begin your health coverage three months prior to the month you apply.

Retroactive Payments

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Payments made for the period between disability onset and application approval.

Revenue

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The total amount of money that a business earns before expenses are deducted.

Example: Julia's consulting business earns $5,000 per month, but spends $2,000 per month on expenses. Her company's total monthly revenue is $5,000; her company's monthly net income ($5,000 minus $2,000) is $3,000.

Room and Board

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Housing which includes meals and other household necessities, such as utilities, a bed, linens, and bathroom supplies.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

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An institution's minimum academic requirements that a student must meet to be eligible for federal student aid.

Section 301

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A rule that allows certain people to keep their Social Security benefits after being found to no longer be medically disabled. For Section 301 to apply, a person who gets benefits has to be participating in a Social Security approved employment support program, and participation in that program has to increase the likelihood that he or she will not need Social Security benefits after completing the program. Vocational rehabilitation and PASS are two examples of “Social Security approved employment support programs."

Section 8

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A program that helps people with low income pay for housing. Federally funded and administered by local public housing authorities (PHAs), Section 8 has three main programs:

  • The housing choice voucher program, which helps pay for rent in any privately owned housing that accepts a Section 8 voucher. This is the most common Section 8 program.
  • Project-based Section 8, which also helps pay for rent in privately owned rental housing, but only in specific privately owned buildings.
  • The Section 8 Homeownership Program, which helps buy a home and meet the monthly homeownership expenses.

Self-Assessment

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An analysis of how you're suited for different types of work settings and jobs. The analysis might look at your strengths and weaknesses as well as your likes and dislikes.

Self-Employment

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Working for yourself rather than someone else. If you run your own business, you're "self-employed."

Self-Insured Plan

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A plan that covers an individual’s medical expenses with company funds set aside to pay health claims. In general, self-insured plans are subject to federal, but not state, health coverage laws. Ask your employer or plan to find out if you are in a self-insured plan.

Self-Sufficiency Account (GRH)

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A special account that used to help people who get Group Residential Housing (GRH) benefits with a General Assistance (GA) basis of eligibility. They could put up to $500 a month of their earned income into this account, up to a maximum of $2,000. GRH did not count this money as earned income or savings.

Important: As of October 1, 2015, people can no longer put money into a Self-Sufficiency Account and have that money be ignored by the GRH program. You can call your county worker if you have questions or call the Disability Linkage Line at 1-866-333-2466.

Service Limited Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)

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A Medicare Savings Program that pays for Medicare Part B premiums. To qualify, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Have countable income that's 120% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) or less ($1,188 per month for individuals, $1,602 for a family of two). The monthly income limit increases by $414 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

Service Wait

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The period of time an individual is required to be employed by a company or be a member of an association before becoming eligible to enroll for the group’s health coverage. Also known as the minimum service requirement.

Shelter-Needy Determination (MSA)

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If your total shelter costs (rent, utilities, and initial security deposit) are a significant percentage of your household gross income, the county may determine that you are “shelter-needy”. Being determined "shelter-needy" is one of the requirements to qualify for the Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) Shelter-Needy Special Need Allowance.

Short Sale

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The sale of real estate property for less than the existing loan amount owed for that property.

Short-Term Disability Insurance

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Private insurance that replaces some of your income when you can't work because of a disability. Short-Term Disability (STD) generally covers disabilities that last a year or less. To apply for STD, speak with your employer's human resources department, or contact a private insurance company.

Skilled Nursing Facility Care

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Services that include a semiprivate room, meals, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services, and other services and supplies. Medicare covers skilled nursing facility care after the individual has been in the hospital for three days.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

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A federal government agency that runs important programs like:

Social Security offices also handle some aspects of Medicare.

To contact SSA, call 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) or visit your local Social Security office.

Visit the SSA.gov website.

Social Security Child's Benefits

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A Social Security cash benefit for children with a parent who gets Social Security retirement benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Children with a deceased parent may also qualify.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

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A Social Security Administration program that gives money each month to people who have a disability that meets Social Security disability rules and who, in the past, worked and paid FICA taxes for enough time to qualify. SSDI has no income limits and no resource limits. The amount you get in SSDI benefits depends on your Social Security earnings record. After getting SSDI benefits for two years, you automatically qualify for Medicare health coverage.

SSDI also offers benefits to family members, including children and widows, when a primary wage earner in the family becomes disabled or dies. Additionally, adults whose disabilities began before they turned 22 may be able to get Disabled Adult Child (DAC).

Special Enrollment Period (Medicare)

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The period when an individual can apply for Medicare coverage without a late enrollment penalty and can sign up for Medicare supplement without a pre-existing condition waiting period. The special enrollment period typically spans the first eight months following the loss of group health coverage.

Special Enrollment Period (Private Health Coverage)

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When you get private group health coverage through your employer, you can only sign up for, or make changes to, an insurance plan during the open enrollment period. However, under certain circumstances, such as marriage, birth of a child, or loss of other insurance, a group health plan offers a special enrollment period. This special enrollment period lets you sign up for group health insurance, or make changes to your plan, without having to wait for an open enrollment period.

Special Needs Expenses (MSA)

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Extra costs you have that Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) will help you pay for. Special needs expenses can be things you need just once or they can be ongoing expenses you have each month.

Special needs expenses must be approved by your county human services agency before MSA will pay for them. Examples of things that might be approved include:

  • Medically prescribed diets (foods you must have for health reasons)
  • Fees you pay to a representative payee who collects your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments
  • Needed home repairs, furniture, or appliances
  • Emergency basic needs expenses like food and shelter.

You must fully document all special needs expenses with receipts or other proof.

Special Needs Payment

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A supplemental payment added to your MSA benefit for one-time or regular monthly special needs expenses.

Special Needs Plan (SNP)

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A Medicare Advantage option that provides health care focused on certain health conditions. These plans provide comprehensive Medicare coverage to manage a particular disease or condition, such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Medicare Special Needs Plans are only available in some areas of the country.

Learn more about Special Needs Plans on Medicare.gov.

Special Needs Trust

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A legal arrangement that lets someone else (a person or an organization, called the trustee) manage resources or assets for a person with disabilities (called the beneficiary). If a Special Needs Trust is set up correctly, the money in the trust won’t count toward the resource or asset limits for benefits programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medical Assistance (MA), and it can be used to pay for the beneficiary’s expenses that aren’t covered by their public benefits. If you are the beneficiary of a Special Needs Trust, your trust can have more assets in it than the resource limits for benefits programs usually allow, and the money can pay for things like recreation, telephone bills, education, and vacations.

The Special Needs Alliance can help you find an attorney who specializes in Special Needs Trusts.

Specialist Services

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Special assistance for people who need help in areas like behavior management, independent living skills, communication skills, personal health, motor skills, and social skills. While other Medical Assistance (MA) and MA-Waiver services address many of these areas, specialist services are provided when extra help in one of these areas is required.

Spenddown

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If you have countable income that is greater than the income limit for disability-based Medical Assistance (MA), you may need to pay a spenddown to get MA coverage. A spenddown is the amount of money you have to pay for health care expenses each month before MA starts to pay for the rest of your health care bills.

You do not have to pay the full spenddown amount if your medical bills are less than the spenddown in any month. If, however, your monthly medical bills average less than your spenddown amount for several months, you will likely lose eligibility for the program at your next six-month review.

Once you have paid your spenddown amount, you won't have to pay any more for health care received in that month.

SSA-approved Vocational Rehabilitation Plan

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An employment support program that meets Social Security's criteria for Section 301.

SSI Unearned Income Exclusions

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Types of unearned income that do not affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program eligibility or benefits amount.The main unearned income exclusions are:

  • The first $20 per month
  • Income set aside or being used for a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
  • State or locally funded assistance based on need
  • Rent subsidies under HUD programs
  • SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps) and other food or meal programs, and
  • The first $60 of infrequent or irregularly received income in a quarter.

Social Security has a complete list of the types of unearned income that are not counted by the SSI program. Some of the SSI exclusions on the list are:

  • AmeriCorps programs
  • Burial Funds (Interest on Excluded)
  • Child Care Assistance Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act
  • Department of Education (DE) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Student Assistance
  • Disaster Assistance
  • Educational Assistance
  • Energy Assistance
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • General Assistance
  • Gifts Occasioned by Death
  • Gifts of Domestic Travel Tickets
  • Grants, Scholarship, Fellowships, and Gifts
  • Home Energy Assistance
  • Home Produce
  • Housing Assistance
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) (Demonstration Project)
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) (TANF Funded)
  • Leveraging Educational Assistance Program (LEAP)
  • Low Income Energy Assistance
  • Pell Grants
  • Private Nonprofit Assistance
  • Refunds of Taxes Paid on Real Property or Food
  • Relocation Assistance
  • School Breakfasts
  • School Lunches
  • State Assistance Based on Need
  • Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP)

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State programs that receive money from the federal government to provide free, local health insurance counseling on Medicare. Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433 to find a counselor near you.

State Medical Review Team (SMRT)

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A group within Minnesota's Department of Human Services (DHS) that decides whether or not the state considers you blind or disabled for state benefits programs. SMRT uses a standard process to decide whether people who are not already considered disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) meet the state's disability standards.

If you already get benefits from Social Security based on your disability, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your disability automatically meets the state’s standards and you do not need to be reviewed again by SMRT.

Contact your local county human services agency to request a SMRT review.

Structured Day Program

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Designed for people who may benefit from continued assistance with community living skills. Structured day program services take place in a non-residential setting.

Student (SEIE definition)

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For the purposes of the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), a student is generally someone who is under 22 and regularly attending school.

Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)

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An exclusion that allows most students to work without their SSI benefit decreasing. The SEIE lets you keep the first $1,790 in earnings each month without affecting the countable earned income calculation. But there is an annual cap of $7,200, so if you earn more than this in any given year, the income starts counting again.

Subsidy (Individual Health Coverage)

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A support provided by the federal government that helps people and families with low to middle income pay for their health coverage when they purchase it through MNsure. This support means that individuals and families may qualify to get health plans with lower premiums and other expenses.

Families with income at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG), $47,080 for an individual in 2017 ($97,000 for a family of four), may get help paying for their health coverage premium.

Families with income at or below 250% of FPG, $29,425 for an individual ($60,625 for a family of four), may also get qualify to get health coverage with lower expenses, such as reduced copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles, as long as they choose to get a silver plan.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

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The amount of monthly earned income that shows a person is doing significant work according to Social Security. People who cannot earn more than SGA due to their disabilities may be considered disabled by Social Security and other agencies that use Social Security’s definition of disability.

In 2017, SGA is $1,170 per month ($1,950 for people who are blind).

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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A county-run, federal program that helps people with low incomes buy food. Formerly called Food Support (in MN) or Food Stamps.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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A Social Security Administration program that gives cash benefits to people with disabilities who have limited income and resources. The amount you get in SSI benefits is based on your financial need and your living situation. The maximum monthly SSI benefit is $735 for individuals and $1,103 for eligible couples.

Supported Employment Services

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Services to help people with disabilities find a job or remain employed. Services include things like job skills training, job coaching, or help requesting workplace accommodations.

Supported Living Services

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Services provided to people who require daily staff assistance due to severe behavior problems, medical conditions, physical problems, or lack of adequate survival skills. Services are designed to help people acquire and improve their self-help, socialization, and adaptive skills.

Surrender Value

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If you were to cancel a life insurance policy prior to death or maturity, you would likely receive some portion of the full value of that policy. The amount you would receive is known as the “surrender value.” The surrender value of your policy should be written into it. If you do not know the surrender value, contact your policy administrator to find out. Not all policies have a surrender value (i.e. - burial insurance and many term insurance policies).

Targeted Group

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One of the following nine groups eligible for either the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) or the Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit:

  • MFIP recipients
  • Veterans receiving SNAP
  • Ex-felons
  • Youth at risk
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Network referrals
  • Summer youth employees
  • Youth (18-24 years old) receiving SNAP (formerly Food Support/Food Stamps), and
  • SSI recipients.

Tax Credit

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A dollar for dollar reduction in taxes owed. If the tax credit is greater than the amount of taxes you owe, the remaining credit will be sent to you by check or direct deposit.

Tax deduction

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The amount that a person or business can subtract from their taxable income. The more you can deduct, the less you pay. Items which reduce your taxes are referred to as deductable expenses. If you earn $10,000 dollars in a year, and have $2,000 dollars in tax deductions, you only pay taxes on $8,000 ($10,000-$2,000= $8,000).

Tax Penalty (Individual Mandate)

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A fee that people without health coverage may need to pay. The fee in 2017 is $695 or 2.5% of your income, whichever is greater.

Uninsured people won’t have to pay the fee if they:

  • Are uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
  • Have very low income
  • Do not file a tax return because their income is too low
  • Earn 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) or less ($16,394 or less for an individual; $33,534 for a family of four) and live in a state that hasn’t expanded Medical Assistance eligibility
  • Are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe
  • Have religious objections to health insurance

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

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A federal welfare-to-work program, formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), that provides cash and food assistance to low-income families with children. Each state has its own TANF program; Minnesota's TANF program is called the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

Ticket

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A standard electronic form that indicates eligibility for the Ticket to Work Program.

Ticket on Demand

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An option for requesting a Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket Program Manager: 1-866-968-7842.

Ticket to Work Program

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A Social Security Administration (SSA) program that helps adults with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs. To qualify, you must be 18 – 64 years old and currently be getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Ticket to Work offers free services, such as:

Learn more on the Ticket to Work website.

Tiered Drug Levels

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Different levels of coverage offered by Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans. Drugs in lower levels usually have lower copayments and drugs in higher levels usually have higher copayments.

Timely Progress

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Active participation in the Individual Work Plan (IWP) during the first two years of the Ticket program. Thereafter, timely progress is referred to as "increased work activity and earnings" (Year 3, 4, and 5).

As long as an individual is making timely progress on the IWP, Social Security will not initiate a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR).

Transitional Services

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Services to help people move from an assisted living environment (e.g., adult foster care homes, hospitals, nursing facilities) to their own home.

Transitional Year Child Care Assistance

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A program that helps pay for child care while parents are working, looking for work, or going to school. Transitional Year Child Care is for people who recently got off the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) who can’t get Basic Sliding Fee Child Care Assistance because their county has a waiting list.

Trial Work Month (SSDI)

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Any month when gross monthly earnings are above $840 (for 2017). Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) cannot be deducted when figuring out Trial Work month earnings.

Trial Work month income levels are indexed annually for increases or decreases in the average wage. Previous Trial Work month gross income levels were:

  • $780 in 2015
  • $770 in 2014
  • $750 in 2013
  • $720 in 2012
  • $720 in 2011
  • $720 in 2010
  • $700 in 2009
  • $670 in 2008
  • $640 in 2007
  • $620 in 2006
  • $590 in 2005
  • $580 in 2004
  • $570 in 2003
  • $560 in 2002
  • $530 in 2001
  • $200 from 1990 to 2000, and
  • $75 before 1990.

Trial Work Period (TWP)

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The Trial Work Period is the nine Trial Work months occurring within a five-year window when you can work and continue to get your full SSDI benefit. These work months can occur one right after the other or be spread out over time.

U.S. Citizen

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A person who is:

  • Born in one of the 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Swain’s Island
  • Born outside of the U.S. to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen
  • Granted citizenship status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

When applying for benefits, contact the agency you are applying to to find out what documents are acceptable for proving citizenship.

Under-insured

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For the purposes of the Sage program, being "under-insured" includes having insurance that does not cover breast or cervical cancer screening, insurance with unmet deductibles or copayments, and Medicare coverage that won't pay for  office visits related to breast/cervical cancer, pap smears, or mammograms.

Underinsured Individual

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An individual who has insurance that covers only some health care costs.

Undue Hardship

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A reasonable accommodation you request that is too difficult or too expensive for an employer to get, in relation to the employer's size, financial resources, and the needs of the business. If a reasonable accommodation request causes an employer "undue hardship," then the employer does not have to get the requested accommodation.

Unearned Income (UI)

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Funds received from sources for which no paid work activity is performed. Disability benefits such as SSDI, SSI, short-term disability insurance, and long-term disability insurance; VA benefits; Workers' Compensation; income from a trust or investment; spousal support; dividends, profits, or funds received from any source other than work are all usually considered unearned income.

Unemployment Insurance

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A state program that provides temporary benefit payments to people who lose their job through no fault of their own.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

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The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that protects veterans’ and service members’ employment rights. It says that a person can miss up to five years of work because of military duty and have the right to be re-employed by the employer they had before going on duty. It also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled veterans.

Unincurred Business Expenses

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Financial or other assistance from an agency or individual to help establish or sustain a self-employed person’s business. Examples include a government agency paying for some of your business expenses, or providing you with things of value (e.g. office space) free of charge.

Social Security rules do not penalize you for receiving unincurred business expenses. Instead, Social Security deducts the value of any unincurred business expenses from your net income when deciding if you have reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level for any given month. SSA uses fair market value to assess the value of any unincurred business expenses.

Unpaid Help

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The estimated value of any unpaid assistance from your spouse, children or others provided to your business. If someone provides your business with 10 hours/month of free web design work, and the prevailing wage for that kind of work in your community is $25/hour, the value of that unpaid help is $250/month.

Social Security rules do not penalize you for receiving unpaid help. Instead, Social Security deducts the value of any unpaid help that your business receives from your net income when deciding if you have reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level each month.

Untaxed Income

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Income that is not subject to state or federal taxes. Income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are examples of untaxed income.

Utilization Controls

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Rules that insurance plans use to keep their prescription drug costs down. You may, for example, need prior authorization from the plan to use a particular drug.

Value of One-Third Reduction (VTR) Rule

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An in-kind support and maintenance rule that says that the most you can get in SSI benefits goes down by one-third if:

  • You live in somebody else’s household, and
  • Somebody in that household helps with both food and shelter.

If you get help paying for food and/or shelter, but the VTR rule does not apply, then the Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) rule may apply instead.

Vesting Requirement

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See Service Wait.

Vocational Assessment

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A service to help a person examine their work skills, education level, employment background, and interests, in order to help them decide on a career path that will be well matched to their skills and interests.

Vocational Counselor

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A counselor who works with people to help them identify potential job options.

Vocational Rehabilitation

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State agency that helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs that are consistent with their skills, strengths, and interests. Minnesota's VR agency is called Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS).

Wage Replacement

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A type of benefit that provides money each month to make up for wages you no longer receive due to disability. It can be either a percentage of your pre-disability income or a fixed dollar amount. Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Insurance are private wage replacement programs, while Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a public program. Wage replacement is also known as pay replacement or income replacement.

Wage Subsidy and Special Conditions

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For the purposes of calculating Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), wage subsidy and special conditions are support you get on the job that may result in your getting more pay than the actual value of the services you perform. Wage subsidy refers to support you get from your employer; special conditions are generally given to you by someone other than your employer, for example a vocational rehabilitation agency.

Social Security looks at wage subsidy and special conditions when they make an SGA decision. They only use earnings that represent the real value of the work you perform to decide if your work is at the SGA level. If Social Security decides that wage subsidy or special conditions exist, you can earn more while continuing to get your benefits.

Wage subsidy or special conditions may exist if:

  • You get more supervision than other workers doing the same or a similar job for the same pay
  • You have fewer or simpler tasks to complete than other workers doing the same job for the same pay, or
  • You have a job coach or mentor who helps you perform some of your work

Note that Social Security uses wage subsidy and special conditions rules when they are deciding if you have earned Substantial Gainful Activity after your SSDI Trial Work Period is over. Social Security does not use these rules during your Trial Work Period or in any Trial Work month. If you have questions, Talk to an ExpertPopup Link.

Wages

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Money you earn from work.

Waiting List

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A list of names of people who applied for services or benefits or products that are not immediately available.

Waiting Period (Medicare Supplement)

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A delay in covering services for an individual with a pre-existing condition. Individuals are exempt from a waiting period if they have had 6 months of previous, continuous coverage.

Waiting Period (Short- and Long-Term Disability)

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The amount of time you have to wait between becoming disabled and receiving a benefit. For example, many private disability plans begin paying benefits 7 days after an illness forces you to leave work.

Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit

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An employer tax credit that targets individuals who are long-term MFIP recipients.

Work

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Physical or mental activity that is actually performed and results in earned income.

Work Credits (SSDI)

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One of the eligibility requirements for SSDI is to have worked and paid FICA taxes for specified periods of time. If you work and earn at least $1,300 for one quarter (three months), and pay FICA taxes, you earn one SSDI "work credit." You can earn up to four credits within a 12-month period.

The number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI depends upon how old you were when Social Security determined that you are disabled.

If you were determined disabled before age 24, you need 6 credits within the past 3 years to be eligible for SSDI.

If you were determined disabled between the ages of 24 and 31, you need 12 credits within the past 6 years to be eligible for SSDI.

If you were determined disabled after you turned 31, you need the number of work credits shown in the table below. And unless you are blind, you need to have earned at least 20 of those credits in the 10 years prior to becoming disabled.

Work Credits Required for SSDI Eligibility for those Born After 1929
Became Disabled At Age:
Number of Credits Needed
31 through 42
20
44
22
46
24
48
26
50
28
52
30
54
32
56
34
58
36
60
38
62 or older
40

Work Goal

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The specific job an individual wishes to have after completing a Plan to Achieve Self-Support. Also known as a vocational or occupational goal.

Work Incentives

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Rules used to encourage people to work when they use public benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, and Medical Assistance all have work incentive rules.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

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A federal program that encourages employers to hire job seekers from one of nine targeted groups by offering employers a federal tax credit. The purpose of the WOTC is to help job seekers in the targeted groups overcome barriers to employment.

Workers' Compensation

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A program that replaces income and provides for medical treatment when you can't work because of on-the-job injuries.

Workplace Personal Assistance

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Services that enable an employee with a disability to perform the essential duties of a job.

Work-Study

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A program that you may qualify for if you apply for financial aid at your college or university. If you qualify, it will be easier for you to get a part-time job on campus or nearby, because the federal government will help some employers pay your salary.