Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
MEAD can make a difference for NH citizens with disabilities
By Denise (Bolduc) St. Onge
MEAD, a Medicaid program that began in February 2002, allows adults with disabilities to work, save money, and still qualify for Medicaid assistance. To be eligible for MEAD, individuals must be 18 t0 64, employed or self-employed, meet the disability criteria and be within the allowed income and countable resources (savings, stocks/bonds, cash, life insurance) limits.
For NH citizens with disabilities, MEAD has made an enormous difference. Comments from those on the program include:
“MEAD enables me to go to work and not have to worry.”
“I was looking at starting my own business … and this is going to get me started.”
“I can afford to buy my medication now - no more spenddowns.”
The MEAD Program, designed in New Hampshire, gives people an opportunity to work at higher wages while on Medicaid, and also allows them to save up to $24,991 (this is the 2009 limit, the amount changes yearly with the cost of living).
Prior to MEAD, people with “spenddowns” (the preset amount an individual must pay for medical bills before Medicaid kicks in) frequently found themselves in a situation where they had to borrow money from family and friends to pay for medications or had to do without. Under the MEAD Program, an individual can have up to $8,000 in monthly gross income; enrollees with a monthly income of approximately $2,700 are required to pay a MEAD monthly insurance premium.
To understand how your employment affects your benefits it is important to speak with a qualified individual such as a benefit planner/specialist who can let you know about available options and help you determine whether you qualify for MEAD or other programs. Benefits Planners are available at Area Agencies for Developmental Services or Community Mental Health Centers. Work Incentives Coordinators at Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) also may be able to offer assistance.
For those enrolled in MEAD who turn 65 and age out of the program, the money they were able to save through MEAD will not be considered in determining their financial eligibility for Medicaid. The individual, however, must still meet disability and other criteria in order to be Medicaid eligible. The MEAD savings, which are kept in a separate bank account, will help to ensure that people are able to enjoy a better quality of life during their retirement.
You may apply for MEAD at your local Health and Human Services District Office. If you are already working and receiving Medicaid services through the Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled Program (APTD) or Aid to the Needy Blind Program (ANB), your Family Services Specialist at your local district office can determine if you are eligible for MEAD.
For more information concerning MEAD, a special helpline has been set up at 1-800-852-3345, ext, 0020 or 271-0020. You may also contact your Family Services Specialist at your local district office. See the Resource Guide in this publication for a listing of DHHS District Offices.
Denise (Bolduc) St. Onge is MEAD Project Manager and MIG Project Director/DHHS.
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult May 26, 2011.