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SD Freedom to Work Project - Medicaid Infrastructure Grant

The Freedom to Work Project is funded by a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) in South Dakota to support competitive employment of people with disabilities. The Freedom to Work Project is focused on encouraging individuals with disabilities to return to work, to help them understand and use the many work incentives that are currently available within the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs, to decrease cash payments from SSI or SSDI, to provide supports when they go to work, and to retain medical insurance through Medicaid.

Specific Goals Include:

Expanding the availability of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) into the work environment:

Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are provided outside the home in the work place as of January 1, 2004.

The Freedom to Work (FTW) Steering Committee and project staff worked with the SD Department of Social Services, the state's Medicaid agency, to request a Medicaid State plan amendment to bring PAS to consumers in their places of employment. Support services of this nature are critical in keeping individuals with disabilities employed.

Developing a Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) program for Medicaid recipients who would lose Medicaid coverage because of earnings:

The Freedom To Work Steering Committee, MBI Workgroup, and FTW staff have worked together and reached consensus on the elements needed to build the foundation of a South Dakota MBI. (See: SD Medicaid Buy-In.)

Since the implementation of a Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) is a systems change effort requiring much research, legislative and executive approval, and requests for state funds, the process of implementation is time-consuming. Research on program details is ongoing.

Fostering Consumer Involvement:

From the onset of the grant implementation, a Steering Committee has functioned as the guiding and directing force behind the grant. The majority of members are persons with disabilities or family members, and the remainder of the committee is comprised of representatives from various key State agencies connected to the service delivery system for persons with disabilities in South Dakota. The Steering Committee meets as needed and has averaged three times a year with work groups meeting between whole committee meetings.

A second major activity in the area of consumer involvement has been the provision of training to consumers and families on currently available work incentives under the Social Security benefits system, and appropriate and effective ways to utilize these incentives and broaden their employment options. Over 1,000 persons have received this training over the course of the past couple of years, and similar training is currently being provided statewide.

In addition to the training, participants receive a newsletter on a quarterly basis that provides them with updated activities from the project and additional, more in-depth information on the social security work incentives.

Fostering Employer Involvement:

Employer education and training has been another major focus area for the project. Over the past year the project has provided training to over 180 CEO's and Human Resource managers on issues related to the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce, disability management and return to work strategies for people with disabilities.

Contact information:

Freedom to Work PROJECT
221 South Central Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-0143

Voice/TTY: (605) 945-2207
Toll Free: (800) 210-0143

Staff listing:

See Also:

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)


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Welcome and Introduction to the South Dakota Benefits Information System

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