Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2024


Brigid Beachler

Cornell Affiliations:

Industrial and Labor Relations


Opportunity Description

The WISC unit has three faculty members that provide fee for service training and technical assistance for the Work Incentives Planning and Utilization for Benefit Practitioners Credential (WIP-C). This course allows students to gain the knowledge and tools required to provide benefits counseling to Social Security beneficiaries, receiving benefits due to a disability and who want to re-enter the workforce. The course covers all federal public benefit programs that are utilized by people with disabilities to transition back to the workforce. These public benefit programs include Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, TANF and many others. 

Our mission is to empower working people with disabilities by teaching benefits counseling strategies that promote work preparation, attachment, and advancement, allows informed choice, and increases the worker’s financial well-being.

One of the biggest barriers to the re-employment for people with disabilities who are on Social Security benefits is healthcare. Medicaid is often the best healthcare coverage for individuals with disabilities. The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities (Medicaid Buy-In) allows higher income individuals to maintain Medicaid by charging a monthly premium based on income. Not all income and resources count in the income and resource methodology, allowing more working people with disabilities to qualify. Our WIP-C coursework includes a unit on Medicaid with an emphasis on Medicaid Buy-In. 

States can choose to participate in the Medicaid Buy-In. Those that choose to participate, can set their income and resource limits within the federal guidelines. Due to this, income and resources for the Medicaid Buy-In vary from state to state. 

To implement the Medicaid Buy-In, states amend their Medicaid State Plans adhering to federal guidelines and minimum requirements. When a state is planning to make a change to its program policies or operational approach, it sends state plan amendments (SPAs) to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for review and approval. 


Our summer research will create a spreadsheet with information about the Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities in all 50 states and U.S. Territories. We will collect specific data about each program, including each state’s program name, income thresholds and resource methodology, administration, premium payments, changes to the state’s plan and implementation of the program based on the state plan and amendments submitted to CMS. This data will be shared with benefits counselors across the country