Minnesota Glossary Entries

A rule that lets people who stop getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits due to work income keep their Medical Assistance health coverage while earning up to $66,319 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.

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.

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

If you have an ABLE account and work:
  • You can put up to an extra $12,880 of your earnings into your account (on top of the regular $16,000 that is allowed). The $12,880 must be from your own earnings – it cannot be contributions from others or money you get from benefits or other unearned income.
    • Note: This means that if you earn $12,880 or more, you could have a total of up to $28,880 go into your ABLE account in a year. If you earn less than $12,880, the amount you could contribute would be lower.
  • You may qualify for the Saver’s Credit when you file your federal taxes.
  • You have to make sure that too much money isn’t contributed into your account (even if it is other people making the deposits). Check with your ABLE program if you have questions about this.

A tool the State of Minnesota uses to find unreported financial accounts. To get benefits from disability-based Medical Assistance (MA), Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD), or a Medicare Savings Program, people who are age 65 or older, blind, or who have a disability must sign a form to approve the use of the AVS.

Learn more about the Account Validation Service (AVS).

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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:

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.

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 or tribal human services office. Note: If you need help completing an application, Chat with a Hub expert.

Online Applications

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

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 or tribal human services office.

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.

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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 a person living alone, the MSA assistance standard is $902/month for 2022.
  • If you’re an individual living with others, the MSA assistance standard is $653.33. Notice that this is less than the SSI Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for individuals ($841). So if you’re in this situation and you’re getting full SSI ($841), you won’t get any MSA unless you have some special needs expenses.
  • The MSA assistance standard for an eligible couple living alone is $1,352.
  • For an eligible couple living with others, the MSA assistance standard is $904.67. Again, this is less than FBR for a couple ($1,261), 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.

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

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.

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

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

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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.

Chat with a Hub expert.

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.

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.

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.

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 Chat with a Hub expert.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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."

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 or tribal human services office or Chat with a Hub expert.

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 or tribal human services office or Chat with a Hub expert.

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."

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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."

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 is the portion of your earned income that is counted by a benefits program. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, and any other money that you receive as pay for work that you do.

For example, the SSI program uses a special calculation to determine your countable earned income, your total countable income, and ultimately, your SSI benefit.

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.

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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.

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.

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.

Chat with a Hub expert if you have questions.

Countable unearned income is the portion of your unearned income that is counted by a benefits program. 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).

For example, the SSI program uses a special calculation to determine your countable earned and unearned income, your total countable income, and ultimately, your SSI benefit.

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.

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

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.

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 or tribal human services office or Chat with a Hub expert.

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

Salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts you receive as pay for physical or mental work you perform. This can include things you get in exchange for work instead of wages, such as food, shelter, or other items. Funds received from any other source are not included. (Contrast: unearned income.)

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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 ($1,350 in 2022; $2,260 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.

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.

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.

The national benefit amount, established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. For 2022, the FBR is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple. Some states supplement this amount with additional payments for SSI beneficiaries.

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 $13,590 per year; for two people, it's $18,310. Add $4,720 for each additional person.

Some agencies refer to these guidelines as the "Federal Poverty Level (FPL)" or "Federal Poverty Line (FPL)."

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

A list of drugs that a health plan covers.

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).

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 or tribal human services office.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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”).

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.

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.

A residential facility that provides services to people with developmental disabilities or related conditions.

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

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

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.

Living alone is one of the assistance standards that helps determine how much you get in Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) benefits. For a person living alone, the MSA assistance standard is $902/month for 2022. The MSA assistance standard for an eligible couple living alone is $1,352.

Important: A person does not have to actually be living alone in order to be considered to be living alone by the MSA program. Here are some examples of situations where a person can be sharing a place with other people, but still have the MSA living alone assistance standard:

  • A person who shares an apartment, but has her own room, buys her own food and prepares it herself, while having her own rental agreement or lease. Even though she is sharing the apartment, she still is considered to be living alone, because she takes care of herself and her own expenses.
  • A person who gets help from an MA-Waiver program
  • A person who meets county plan requirements for the Housing Support program
  • A person who qualifies for MSA Housing Assistance

People in any one of the situations above may be considered to be living alone by the MSA program.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 $18,347 per year and your assets are less than $9,900, 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 $20,385 in countable income and less than $15,510 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 $99 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.

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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

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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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 developmental disabilities 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 or tribal human services office.

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.

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 or tribal human services office.

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 or tribal human services office.

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 or tribal human services office.

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.

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

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.”

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.

The Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy pays the monthly premiums for all benchmark plans. There are 6 such plans in Minnesota in 2022:

  • 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, Chat with a Hub expert.

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 ($1,529/month for an individual, $2,060/month for couples) to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.

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

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."

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.

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)."

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.

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 1-651-539-2300 or 1-800-652-9000.

For a listing of local SSB offices, click here.

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 or tribal human services office.

A special needs expense that can be added to your MSA assistance standard to help you move from an institution or Housing Support (formerly GRH) setting 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.

Currently, the MSA Housing Assistance amount is $421. Every year, this amount is adjusted on July 1st, to be half of Supplemental Security Income's Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).

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 CareerForce location.

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 or tribal human services office or MNsure.

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 or tribal human services office 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.

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 Chat with a Hub expert or with the local county or tribal human services office before signing up for a plan through MNsure.

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

Payment that exceeds the approved benefit amount.

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.

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 (serving all of Minnesota), call 1-866-667-6032, ext. 34061.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.)

The doctor, nurse practitioner, or other medical service provider who is in charge of your medical care in a Health Maintenance Organization (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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 $119,790, you may qualify for a property tax refund of up to $2,930. If you rent your home and your annual household income is less than $64,920, you may qualify for a renter's credit (also referred to as a "property tax refund") of up to $2,280. To learn more about both programs, including how to apply, click here.

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 $1,360 – $1,529 per month for individuals, $1,831 – $2,060 for a family of two. This monthly income limit increases by $531 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

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.

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 $1,133/month for individuals, $1,526/month for a family of two. This monthly income limit goes up by $393 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification that enables a person with a disability to participate in, benefit from, enjoy, use, or do something.

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.

A state tax refund of up to $2,280 for people who rent the place they live in and have annual household income below $64,920. 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.

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), Housing Support (formerly Group Residential Housing), or any other state health care or cash assistance programs, report any changes in earnings to your county or tribal human services office.

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.

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."

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

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.

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.

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."

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

A special account that used to help people who get Housing Support (formerly Group Residential Housing) 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. Housing Support 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 Housing Support program. You can call your county worker if you have questions or call the Disability Hub MN at 1-866-333-2466.

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 ($1,360 per month for individuals, $1,831 for a family of two). The monthly income limit increases by $472 for each additional family member.
  • Have assets at or below the limit ($10,000 for individuals, $18,000 for a family of two).

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.

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.

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.

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).

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 or tribal human services office 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.

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

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, 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.

Both the Special Needs Alliance and the Academy of Special Needs Planners can help you find an attorney who specializes in Special Needs Trusts.

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.

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.

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.

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 or tribal human services office to request a SMRT review.

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

An exclusion that allows most students to work without their SSI benefit decreasing. The SEIE lets you keep the first $2,040 in earnings each month without affecting the countable earned income calculation. But there is an annual cap of $8,230, so if you earn more than this in any given year, the income starts counting again.

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 2022, SGA is $1,350 per month ($2,260 for people who are blind).

SGA levels for previous years:

Year Disabled, Non-blind Blind
2021 $1,310 $2,190
2020 $1,260 $2,110
2019 $1,220 $2,040
2018 $1,180 $1,970
2017 $1,170 $1,950
2016 $1,130 $1,820
2015 $1,090 $1,820
2014 $1,070 $1,800
2013 $1,040 $1,740
2012 $1,010 $1,690
2011 $1,000 $1,640
2010 $1,000 $1,640

Social Security lists the SGA levels for earlier years.

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

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 $841 for individuals and $1,261 for eligible couples.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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).

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

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.

Any month when gross monthly earnings are above $970 (for 2022). 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:

  • $940 in 2021
  • $910 in 2020
  • $880 in 2019
  • $850 in 2018
  • $840 in 2017
  • $810 in 2016
  • $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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A state agency that helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs that are consistent with their skills, strengths, and interests.

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.

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 $1,510 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 six credits within the past three 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 six 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 incentives are rules that help people who get public benefits and work. They let people get a benefit while they're working, keep a benefit longer while they work, or get a benefit back quickly if it stops due to work.

All public benefits in Minnesota have work incentives, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, and Medical Assistance.

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.