Medical Assistance Referral for Other Benefits

Medical Assistance (MA) enrollees who appear to have eligibility for other programs are required to apply for those programs to continue MA eligibility. Enrollees must apply for benefits from other programs if it could increase their income or help pay medical expenses. Enrollees must apply within 30 days of when the county, tribal or state servicing agency notifies them of their potential eligibility, unless they can show good cause for not doing so.

To meet this requirement, an enrollee must:

  • Submit an application for the program they appear to be eligible for, following the rules of that program

  • Provide any requested information needed to determine eligibility for the program

  • Provide documentation of the decision about their eligibility for the program

    • If a person is denied because they do not meet the eligibility criteria for the program, they are not required to appeal the decision. However, a person may need to appeal a denial of certification of disability in order to maintain a basis of eligibility. See Bases of Eligibility and Certification of Disability for additional information.

    • If a person is denied because they did not provide necessary documentation, or did not cooperate in the eligibility determination, they have not met this requirement.

The requirement to apply for other benefits is post-eligibility, unless the person previously had eligibility closed because of non-cooperation with the requirement to apply for other benefits. If the person previously had eligibility closed due to non-cooperation with the requirement to apply for other benefits, and still appears to be eligible for the other benefits, the person must verify they applied for those benefits before they can be determined eligible for MA.

Social Security benefits

Enrollees, potentially eligible for the following benefits, must apply to maintain MA eligibility.

Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance

The federal Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits. RSDI provides a monthly income based on payroll contributions made via Social Security taxes.

The following people, if qualified under a Social Security number having at least 40 work quarters, may be eligible for RSDI:

  • Retired people who meet SSA age requirements

  • People certified disabled by SSA

  • Dependents of a wage earner who is disabled or retired

  • Dependent survivors of a wage earner who has died

RSDI eligible MA enrollees at full retirement age must apply for benefits. MA enrollees who are family members of RSDI eligible people must also apply for potential benefits.

People who are eligible for RSDI may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if their RSDI payment is less than the SSI income standard.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal supplemental income program operated by SSA and funded by general tax revenues. It provides monthly cash payments to people aged 65 or older and people certified disabled by SSA, who have little or no income, to help them meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. MA enrollees, potentially eligible for SSI, must apply for benefits.


Enrollees who are potentially eligible for Medicare must apply to maintain MA eligibility. MA will not pay for Medicare-covered services for people who are eligible for, but do not enroll in Medicare Part A without a premium. MA enrollees who meet one of the following may qualify for Medicare:

  • People age 65 or older who qualify for RSDI or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits

  • Citizens and qualifying non-citizens age 65 or older who pay a Medicare Part A premium

  • People certified disabled by SSA, after a 24-month waiting period. People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are eligible the same month they start receiving RSDI benefits.

  • Widows and widowers and divorced widows and widowers with a SSA certified disability, after a two-year waiting period

  • People with 1619(a) or 1619(b) status

  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) defined as permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant

DHS previously evaluated Medicare premiums for cost-effectiveness, but Medicare premiums are no longer evaluated for cost-effectiveness. People whose premiums were evaluated under the previous policy and determined not cost-effective have good cause for not meeting the requirement to enroll in Medicare if eligible.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is federal hospitalization insurance. People who are eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A may not refuse to apply or turn down this coverage to gain or continue MinnesotaCare or Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) eligibility.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. There is a monthly premium for Part B. MA enrollees must apply and maintain Medicare Part B coverage, even if they are required to pay a premium. Medicare Savings Programs (MSP), the Medicare Buy-In and MA-EPD can help eligible clients with premiums and other costs. People who are in an Institution for Mental Diseases (IMD) may also receive help paying for premiums and other costs. People have a wide variety of Medicare-approved plans from which to choose.

MA enrollees enrolled in Medicare Part A are not required to enroll in Medicare Part B or enroll in an MSP if they have primary coverage under an employer group health insurance plan through:

  • Their own current employment or their spouse's current employment
  • A parent's current employment where the enrolee is a disabled child (of any age).

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. Enrollment in Medicare Part D is not required as a condition of MA eligibility. However, there are specific rules established for clients eligible for Medicare Part D who fail or refuse to enroll in, or opt out of, that program. MA cannot pay any prescription drug costs for eligible Part D beneficiaries regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in Medicare Part D. However, prescription drug bills that are not covered by Medicare can be used to meet a medical spenddown.

Medicare eligible MA and MSP enrollees qualify for a full Extra Help subsidy automatically and must select a Medicare Part D benchmark plan. Medicare beneficiaries of all ages can get free assistance with selecting a Part D plan by calling the Senior LinkAge Line® at (800) 333-2433.

Railroad Retirement Benefits

The federal Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) administers railroad retirement benefits and Medicare for railroad workers and their families. People who work for a railroad have railroad retirement withheld from their earnings instead of Social Security. If a person has earned enough Social Security credits to receive Social Security benefits as well as railroad retirement benefits, the beneficiary receives the larger of the two.

Retiree benefit amounts are based on the number of years of service. Railroad workers who meet certain service requirements are eligible for:

  • Retiree benefits

  • Disability benefits

  • Dependent benefits for spouses, ex-spouses, and children who meet certain criteria, and

  • Survivor benefits

RRB eligible MA enrollees at full retirement age must apply for benefits. The railroad worker’s family members must also apply for potential benefits if the railroad worker is currently receiving RRB benefits or was receiving or eligible to receive benefits but is now deceased. People turning age 65 who are receiving railroad retirement benefits must apply for Medicare through the RRB.

Financial Needs

Enrollees, potentially eligible for the following benefits, must apply to maintain MA eligibility.

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provide a temporary partial wage replacement to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

Workers’ Compensation provides benefits for people injured or ill from their job.

MA enrollees who are veterans or a spouse of a veteran, using the People Aged 65 or Older, Blind or Disabled basis, living in a long-term care facility, must apply for the federal Veterans’ Aid and Attendance program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA).


Enrollees are not required to reapply for benefits that were previously denied unless there has been a change in circumstances or eligibility requirements of the benefit program.

Legal Citations

Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.608