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Video: Applying for HWD Training

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Introduction

This training for Case Resource Managers with the WA Developmental Disabilities Administration provides information about the HWD application process, so they can support the people they serve in applying.

Susan Harrell (00:05):
Hi, I’m Susan.

Scott Leonard (00:06):
And I’m Scott.

Susan Harrell (00:07):
And we’re back again to talk about how public benefits support employment. And in this session, we’re talking about Apple Health for Workers with Disabilities or HWD, and about applying for benefits. This is guidance for DDA Case Resource Managers and others that support individuals in providing information and assistance to help people get what they need. So we wanted to give you kind of the backstory around applying for HWD, what that process looks like. So that you’re able to provide information to individuals. First piece that we wanted to talk about is the eligibility considerations for HWD. HWD is for working individuals. So an individual must be working at the time of eligibility and they must be working at the time of their eligibility anniversary date. Now, what does this mean? This means that if I become eligible for HWD in August, that if I lose my job the following January, I need to figure out what I’m going to do about employment before my anniversary date of August again, or I will no longer be eligible for HWD.

Susan Harrell (01:21):
So often I talk to people about having a backup job, something that they can, they can fall back on in order to be employed if they happen to lose their job a few weeks before or a month before, or some short time span timeframe before their anniversary date, just to be sure that they are okay with maintaining their eligibility. And there are some provisions about what qualifies as employment, but in Washington, we have fairly loose provisions around employment for HWD. When I say fairly loose, I don’t mean that you can have a job where you’re paid under the table. It needs to be a job that is reportable to the IRS.

Scott Leonard (02:04):
Right. That’s a good point, Susan. So a person can work as an employee or be self-employed to be considered working for HWD purposes. Now I know that there are some additional considerations for what constitutes as self-employment. So if a person is self-employed and applies for HWD, there may be some additional questions brought up to ensure that the applicant satisfies those working requirements.

Susan Harrell (02:29):
In addition, people on HWD must qualify under the Social Security disability definition, and there are some exceptions around Substantial Gainful Activity and medical improvement, but you still have to meet the other parts of the definition that Social Security has for disability, and that means that if you don’t receive Social Security benefits as a person with a disability, that you’ll have go through a process to determine if you meet the definition of disability through a disability determination office in Washington State.

Scott Leonard (03:07):
There are a few ways that people can apply for HWD and the case manager can help with this process. If the person is already receiving non-MAGI Medicaid, Case Resource Manager can simply send a referral through DDA form 15-345. Once we received, a public benefit specialist worker will do a comparison of the Medicaid programs the person may be eligible for. The worker will then open HWD if it’s a better program for the client after the client agrees to switch and pay the premium. We’ll talk a little bit more about this process later in this presentation. Now, if the person is not currently receiving Medicaid, or if the person has MAGI Medicaid, then the person will need to fill out a full application for the HWD program. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, people can do this online through washingtonconnection.org. They can also submit a paper application either by mail or in person to their local CSO office. The application for HWD via Washington Connection is I think pretty straight forward, but I want to point out a couple of tips for those folks who haven’t gone through this application process yet. First, I recommend that people create an account before they begin the application process. And you can see where they would do this at the top of this slide, where it reads “create account”. So this way, if they need to, they can stop the application and then log back in and pick up where they left off. That could be really helpful for folks. They can also log in to see the status of their application. So just know that there is some authenticating questions that are part of this process. For example, a person will receive an email that comes with a link that must be clicked on to finish the process of setting up an account, and some people may need some support with those steps. The next tip is regarding one of the first pages of the application. This is where the person requests Apple Health for Workers with Disabilities. This screen can be a little confusing because there are so many programs listed, including healthcare coverage. Now, a person can use this application to apply for any of these benefits, but if they’re just applying for HWD, they only need to check that box at the bottom there for HWD. Now there will be a summary page at the end of the application that assesses what other programs the person may be eligible for. And if the person wants to apply for any of those programs, they can also do so at that time. Because eligibility for other programs is assessed during this application process, even if only HWD was selected, the applicant will need to answer a variety of questions around income, resources, rent, and utility costs, et cetera. So here on this slide are examples of the information that people will be asked about when filling out this application. If an applicant has all this information handy, the application may only take about 15 minutes, but we wanted you to be aware of the types of information that are requested so that you can gauge what level of support your client might need in order to complete the application.

Susan Harrell (06:25):
We wanted to talk a little bit about Medicaid and the Eligibility Workers’ Responsibilities, mostly to give you a viewpoint about what this process really looks like from the worker’s standpoint. The State is required to compare all options for Medicaid and determine which program costs less for the individual, as well as, is most advantageous to the individual. And so this is a piece where it gives you a window into the experience of the individual. For instance, a person who’s on SSI and they receive Medicaid and they become ineligible for SSI. Let’s say because they have over $2,000 in resources, they get a letter from Social Security saying you’re no longer eligible for Medicaid. And then on the heels of that, they are probably going to get a letter from the state saying, Hey, we want to check out whether you’re eligible for Medicaid, please fill out this paperwork. And from the individual standpoint, it seems like, why would I do that? Social? Security’s already told me I’m not eligible for Medicaid. Why would I bother applying? But a Case Resource Manager can always encourage an individual, (A) to let them know if they get letters about Medicaid, so that they’re aware of what’s going on in the communication that the individual is getting about this critical program, but also they can let the individual know that it’s very important for them to complete those application pieces in order to be considered for another Medicaid program. So many times in the work that I’ve done, I’ve come across individuals that somewhere back in the foggy recesses realize they did receive some paperwork, they just didn’t realize what it was for. So it’s really important to provide that information in order to support individuals, to get to what they need.

Susan Harrell (08:15):
The other thing is, is that the Medicaid Eligibility Workers have to send someone who is not currently on a federal cash benefit… SSI, SSDI…something that’s related to disability. They have to send them to disability, determination, to be able to make sure that they meet that definition that Social Security has of disability for HWD, as well as any of those other Medicaid programs that are attached to a disability program. We also wanted to share with you the DDA HWD specialist number, so that as a Case Resource Manager, if you needed additional information, you could call +1 800-871-9275.

Scott Leonard (08:58):
Lastly, if individuals need additional support with HWD or other benefits, here are some resources that may be able to offer assistance.

Susan Harrell (09:33):
[Acoustic guitar plays softly]

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