Image courtesy man pikin, flickr creative commons

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By Taylor Sisk

The state Department of Health and Human Resources issued an administrative letter last week that will allow more people living with disabilities to return to work without losing their Medicaid benefits.

Image courtesy man pikin, flickr creative commons

In 2005, the state legislature passed the Health Coverage for Workers with Disabilities law, allowing individuals with disabilities to work without losing their Medicaid coverage. But in 2009, DHHS suspended the law and failed to make Medicaid available to workers with disabilities whose income exceeded 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

So in June 2013, Disability Rights North Carolina filed suit, alleging that the suspension of the law violates the state constitution.

“We’re gratified that more individuals with disabilities can work without losing critical health care coverage,” Disability Rights NC Executive Director Vicki Smith said in a press release.

“There is still more to do,” Smith said. “We intend to ensure that all those who are eligible to participate in the program are allowed to do so.”

Disability Rights NC filed suit on behalf of itself, as a protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities, and on behalf of three individuals affected by DHHS’s action.

According to the press release, “The suit will continue until the issue of full implementation is resolved for those who continue to be excluded from coverage in violation of state law.”

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North Carolina Health News is an independent, not-for-profit, statewide news organization dedicated to covering health care in North Carolina employing the highest journalistic standards of fairness, accuracy...