NEW JERSEY – Senator Anthony M. Bucco’s legislation that would strengthen access to medical and support services for working residents with disabilities was endorsed by the Senate this week.
Bucco’s bill, S-3455, would enable more people to qualify for assistance, revising eligibility requirements for both the NJ Workability Program and the Personal Assistance Services Program.
“This legislation will eliminate some of the obstacles to career development and advancement for individuals with disabilities,” Bucco (R-25) said. “These effective programs can change lives for individuals who would benefit from a little help. More individuals will have access to programs that will open doors to more productive and rewarding lives and careers.”
The NJ Workability Program is a Medicaid buy-in option for employed, permanently disabled individuals.
Bucco’s legislation removes the program’s age restriction, providing that any individual 16 or older may qualify. Currently, it is limited to those 16 to 65 years of age.
The bill also eliminates the program’s existing income eligibility limit of 250 percent of the federal poverty level and explicitly provides that a qualified applicant is not to be subject to any eligibility requirements regarding the earned or unearned income of the applicant or the applicant’s spouse. It also permits an eligible applicant for the program to remain eligible for Medicaid for up to one year if, through no fault of the applicant, a job loss occurs.
The Personal Assistance Services Program is a State-funded program that provides up to 40 hours per week of non-medical personal care assistance to those individuals with permanent physical disabilities who work, seek educational advancement, or volunteer in the community for a minimum of 20 hours per month.
Currently, only individuals 18 through 70 years of age can qualify for the Personal Assistance Services Program, but Bucco’s bill would remove the cap, providing that anyone over the age of 18 may be eligible for these services.