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Medical Assistance for People Who Are Age 65 or Older or People Who Are Blind or Have a Disability Certification of Disability (Archive)

Disability or blindness must be certified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT). The certification process is also called a disability determination.

People receiving the following benefits may or may not be certified disabled by SSA or SMRT.

  • Short-term disability

  • Long-term disability

  • Long-term care insurance

  • Veterans' Administration (VA)

  • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)

  • Worker’s Compensation

Only a SSA or SMRT certification of disability is valid for the purposes listed below.

Disability Certification for MA Eligibility

People must be certified disabled and use the disabled or blind basis of eligibility to:

A disability certification is not needed for services under the Developmentally Disabled (DD) waiver. The county case manager determines if the person meets the criteria for a developmental disability.

Children turning 18 need a new disability certification under the adult standards to continue using a blind or disabled basis of eligibility.

Disability Certification for Other Reasons

Some MA enrollees get a disability certification for managed care reasons including:

  • To be excluded from managed care enrollment

  • To enroll in Special Needs Basic Care (SNBC), a specialized managed care plan for people age 18-64 with a certified disability

Additional reasons for needing a disability certification include:

  • Community Support Grant (CSG) eligibility

  • Family Support Grant (FSG) eligibility

  • Aged 65 and older and establishing a pooled trust

  • Establish an asset transfer penalty exception

  • Creating certain trusts

State Medical Review Team Certification of Disability

SMRT completes disability determinations for people not certified disabled by SSA. SMRT certifies disability using the same criteria as the SSA, except they do not look at a person’s ability to work. SMRT only reviews a person’s medical condition.

Referral Process

Since the SSA disability determination process can be long, the county, tribal or state servicing agency completes a SMRT Referral for a Disability Determination (DHS-6123). The person is also referred to SSA for a disability determination and benefits.

Expedited Case Criteria

SMRT expedites the disability determination process in three situations where the person is likely to meet disability criteria:

  • The person has a condition that appears on the SSA Compassionate Allowance Listing (CAL)

  • The person is awaiting discharge from a facility and can be discharged immediately if MA is approved

  • The person has a potentially life-threatening situation and requires immediate treatment or medication

  • The person has had a MnCHOICES assessment within the past 60 days and needs services that can only be provided by a home and community-based services waiver.

Continuing Disability Review

People certified disabled by SMRT need a continuing disability review every one to seven years. Disability standards are different for children and adults, so at age 18, a child must be evaluated under the adult standards. Newborns certified disabled due to a low-birth weight must be reviewed prior to age one.

Legal Citations

Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, sections 404.1501 to 404.1599

Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, sections 416.901 to 416.999d

Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.541

Minnesota Statutes, section 256.01