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Financial implications of half- and full-time employment for persons with disabilities: a response to Schloss, Wolf, and Schloss.

Financial Implications on Half-and Full-Time Employment for Persons with Disabilities: A Response to Schloss, Wolf, and Schloss

I read with a great deal of concern the Schloss, Wolf, and Schloss article, "Financial Implications of Half- and Full-Time Employment for Persons with Disabilities" in the November 1987 issue of Exceptional Children (pp. 272-276). The analysis is faulty in at least one major respect--the treatment of Medicaid at the full-time employment level. The authors state that at the full-time employment level, "This individual is no longer eligible for SSI, Food Stamps, or Medicaid" (p. 274).

Recent amendments to the Social Security Act (P.L. 99-643) made two demonstration provisions of the act permanent effective July 1, 1987. The second of these provisions, known commonly as 1619(b), "protects Medicaid benefits wen earnings are too high for cash payments but not high enough to offset the loss of Medicaid" (A Summary Guide to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Work Incentives for the Disabled and Blind, Social Security Administration, July 1987, pp. 45-49).

In conversations with representatives of the Social Security Administration, the threshold for even checking whether "earnings are too high" is over $14,000 per year. As a result, Figure 3 should be amended to retain Medicaid, thus reducing the Medical Insurance cost to "0."

In a telephone check with the Internal Revenue Service, I learned that the federal income tax figures were incorrect. They should have been $674 and $1,424 for Figures 2 and 3, respectively. Therefore, Figure 4 should have the following respective net disposable income values for no earned income, part-time employment, and full-time employment: $416, $2,101, and $3,275. Clearly, net disposable income increases with full-time employment.

In addition to the financial incentive of full-time employment, the individual will no longer have to deal with the Food Stamp program--an incentive not to be underestimated. Clearly, independence from excessive intrusion into government system is a desirable outcome for people with disabilities. It is generally with full-time employment that fringe benefits become available as well.

The authors' conclusion--"This provides evidence that there is an absence of financial incentives for full-time employment"--is plainly incorrect. Many dedicated individuals working with people with severe disabilities may draw incorrect conclusions from this article and mistakenly counsel families and students away from full-time employment to the detriment of the individual. Too many people have worked too long for productive futures for people with severe disabilities to allow this article to go unchallenged.

STEPHEN F. KNAPP is Planning Coordinator, New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council, Concord.
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Author:Knapp, Stephen F.
Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Oct 1, 1988
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