Disability-Based MA

How to Sign Up

You should sign up for Medical Assistance (MA) at your county or tribal human services office if you:

If you are not in one of those situations, there are three ways to apply for health coverage:

Disability questions on the MNsure application

MNsure will check to see if you might qualify for disability-based MA if you answer "yes" to at least one of these questions when you fill out your MNsure application:

  • Are you blind?
  • Do you have a physical, mental, or emotional health condition that limits your activities (like bathing, dressing, daily chores, etc.)?
  • Do you need help staying in your home or help paying for care in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home?
  • Have you been determined disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT)?
  • Do you want help from Medical Assistance (MA) to pay for medical bills from the last three months?

MNsure will also check for disability-based MA eligibility if you say you're on Medicare.

If you have a disability and don't answer these questions correctly, you might not get the best health coverage for you. If you have any questions about applying, Chat with a Hub expert.

How Your Application is Reviewed for Eligibility

  1. Your application will be reviewed to see if you qualify for income-based MA.
    1. If you do qualify, you’ll start getting MA coverage.
    2. If you do not qualify, your application will be reviewed to see if you might qualify for disability-based MA. If so, you will be need to give additional information to complete your application, such as how much you have in assets. You may need to get a disability determination from the State Medical Review Team (SMRT) and provide other medical documentation of your disability.
  2. If there is no way you can qualify for MA, you may have other options, like MinnesotaCare or a private insurance plan, depending on your situation. For more information about these, see DB101’s articles about MinnesotaCare and Buying Health Coverage on MNsure.

Staying on MA

Usually, once you are approved for Medical Assistance (MA), you will continue to get it for 12 months. At any time, if your income, immigration status, residency, or household size changes, the best way to update your information is by letting your county or tribal human services office know. When you report your changes, they’ll tell you whether you will continue getting MA or if you have new health coverage options. There should always be at least one health coverage option for your family.

If you need help

If you need help applying for health coverage, try the following options:

Staying on MA through SSI 1619(b)

If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and MA, and your SSI benefit goes to zero because you go back to work, an SSI rule called “1619(b)” lets you to keep your MA coverage if you:

  • Were eligible for an SSI cash payment for at least one month
  • Were eligible for MA in the month before your SSI benefit went to zero
  • Need MA coverage to keep working
  • Still meet all the other SSI requirements, such as being disabled and having assets below $2,000, and
  • Have less than $74,611 in total earned income. (If you have medical expenses higher than the state average, this figure may be higher.)

MA coverage under 1619(b) has no premium or spenddown and covers the same services as standard MA.

For additional information, read the DB101 section on SSI, check out Social Security’s webpage on 1619(b), or Chat with a Hub expert.

Note: If you don’t qualify for MA through 1619(b) because your income or assets are too high, you may qualify for MA through Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD). Read DB101’s MA-EPD article to learn more.


Joe had been getting SSI for several years when his health improved and he decided to go back to work. After he started working, his income increased to $3,000 per month ($36,000 a year) causing his monthly SSI benefit to drop to zero.

Even though his income is now well above 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, he is still eligible for MA through 1619(b) because his annual income is less than $74,611.

Learn more