What Is the Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program?

Woman with prosthetic arm works on computer.Medicare Savings Programs help people with disabilities obtain assistance from their state in covering their Medicare costs. The Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program (QDWI) is one such Medicare Savings Program. It helps disabled, low-income individuals who want to return to work continue to receive Medicare Part A benefits.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for QDWI benefits if you live with a disability but are still able to work. The QDWI Program has the following requirements:

  • You are under the age of 65.

  • You are not currently eligible for Medicare benefits because you successfully returned to work.

  • You have limited income (income limits are discussed in more detail below).

  • Your individual resources are worth less than $4,000 and less than $6,000 if you are married.

  • You have previously applied for Medicare Part A (premium hospital insurance) benefits.

  • You continue to have a disability.

Income Requirements for the Qualified Disability Working Individuals Program

To continue to qualify for the QDWI Program, your Social Security benefits cannot exceed the threshold income allowed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The income limits for QDWI are as follows:

  • Individuals cannot earn a monthly income higher than $4,249.

  • A married couple cannot earn a monthly income higher than $5,722.

  • An individual cannot have resources valued at more than $4,000.

  • A married couple cannot have resources valued at more than $6,000. 

Trial Work Period

You may want to test the waters and return to work temporarily. The QDWI Program allows people to return to work on a trial basis. This way, they can determine their ability to return to work while retaining their benefits for nine months. The nine months during the trial work period do not have to be consecutive.

According to the SSA, any work you complete during the trial will not end your disability benefits.

As of 2022, a disabled working individual can earn up to $970 per month during their trial work period. You must report your wages to the SSA during your trial work period.

How to Apply for QDWI?

It is important to ensure your benefits are protected as you try to get back into the workforce. Fortunately, there is a way to protect your access to Medicare Part A benefits. If you think you qualify for the QDWI Program, reach out to your state’s Medicare office. For additional guidance, connect with your special needs attorney.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or estate planning advice as individual situations will vary. Neither Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., nor its registered representatives or employees, offer tax or legal advice. As with all matters of a tax or legal nature, you should consult with your tax or legal counsel for advice.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Special needs consulting services are not offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.

Content provided by the Academy of Special Needs Planners, Copyright 2022

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