Parent Focus: Four Ways Benefits Support Work

Your Child Can Save More

As your child makes more money, he or she can start saving for bigger goals, like college, a car, or someday buying a home. Building assets will be a key to comfort and security for your child’s entire life.

SSI and Medi-Cal Rules Help People who Work and Save

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has a $2,000 resource limit and disability-based Medi-Cal has a $130,000 limit. However, your child can save way more money than this if he or she gets a job.

SSI resource rules for people who work:

  • Not all resources are counted, so your child can own a car or get certain types of financial aid for school that won’t be counted against the resource limit.
  • ABLE accounts will let you and your child put money into a special account where the first $100,000 will not count against the SSI resource limit.
  • Savings in a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) or Individual Development Account (IDA) are not counted. These special types of accounts let your child save for specific expenses, like school tuition.
  • Assets in certain types of trusts do not count.

Medi-Cal resource rules for people who work:

  • The SSI resource rules also apply to Medi-Cal.
  • None of the money in an ABLE account is counted against Medi-Cal resource limits.
  • If your child has income from a job, he or she can pay a premium to get coverage through Medi-Cal's Working Disabled Program (WDP) program. It also has a $130,000 resource limit, but with WDP, if your child saves money from earnings in a separate account or in a retirement account, that money won't count against the resource limit.
  • There is no resource limit for income-based Medi-Cal, no matter how old your child is.
The bottom line

Saving money for the future is important. Talk to a benefits planner to figure out which asset-building strategies will let your child keep getting SSI.

Read more about asset-building strategies.

Medi-Cal/MSP asset limit changes

Big changes for disability-based Medi-Cal categories with asset limits:

  • On July 1, 2022, Medi-Cal asset limits increased to $130,000 for individuals, $195,000 for couples
  • On January 1, 2024, these asset limits will be removed completely.

This applies to Medi-Cal through A&D FPL, the Working Disabled Program, and ABD–MN, as well as Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). If you've been denied Medi-Cal or an MSP because you had too much in assets, try applying again.

Note: This doesn't change SSI-linked Medi-Cal or Medi-Cal through SSI 1619(b), as they still have SSI's $2,000 asset limit. And it doesn't change income-based Medi-Cal, which doesn't have an asset limit.

Get more info from Justice in Aging.

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