WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) have introduced H.R. 5429, the SENIOR CARE Act, to allow for greater participation by adults over the age of 65 with disabilities in state Medicaid programs.
Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate, according to a news release from Stivers’ office.
“Under current law, when individuals with disabilities reach their 65th birthday, they are often forced to make a choice between their job and their Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately, the advantages of meaningful employment, such as income and a sense of self-sufficiency, are not enough to offset the increased health care costs that would result from a loss of Medicaid benefits,” the release continued. “While many individuals find meaning in their work well into their later years, the current system discourages workers with disabilities from staying on the job they enjoy.”
The SENIOR CARE Act would eliminate the age limit for Medicaid buy-in programs for differently-abled adults, allowing those over the age of 65 to continue working.
“Since my days as a state senator, eliminating the benefits cliff faced by far too many Ohioans has been a priority,” Stivers said. “The SENIOR CARE Act is an important step forward to ensure we are not penalizing work and instead empowering individuals to become self-sufficient.”
“This bill is much-needed because no person should be forced to choose between working and their health and well-being. Yet, under current law, that is exactly the choice many Central Ohio seniors face on their 65th birthday,” Beatty said. “That is why I am proud to join in the bipartisan, bicameral effort to eliminate the Medicaid buy-in age limit and the barriers to work so that more seniors can make life decisions that are best for them and their families. This bill is a win-win.”
“I believe that every disabled American over age 65 should have the opportunity to work and maintain Medicaid coverage,” Senator Portman said. “The Ticket To Work program’s arbitrary age limit at 65 forces working disabled seniors to make an impossible choice between maintaining their independence and livelihood or their Medicaid coverage. This is unacceptable and that’s why I’m proud to work with Senator Casey to introduce this important legislation to remove this unnecessary and obsolete barrier to working seniors with disabilities.”
“For many older adults, choosing to remain in the workforce or retire is a personal decision. However, adults age 65 and over with disabilities are often stripped of this choice due to Medicaid age restrictions that force them to choose between continuing to work or losing their Medicaid coverage—which supports their daily living needs,” Senator Casey said. “Instead of forcing seniors with disabilities out of the workforce we should be supporting them by removing barriers that reduce their independence. That’s why I worked with Senator Portman to introduce the SENIOR CARE Act, which would allow seniors with disabilities to work and keep their Medicaid coverage.”