West Chester, Pa (September 29, 2022) – State Senator Carolyn Comitta recently joined disability advocates from across the Commonwealth and Governor Tom Wolf to mark the passage of legislation supporting Pennsylvania workers with disabilities.
Act 69 of 2021 (Senate Bill 156) increases the earnings allowance for workers with disabilities who rely on the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program. MAWD pays for vital home and community-based services, like care attendants, which are not covered by private insurance.
“Today we’re empowering more individuals with disabilities to more fully pursue their career goals while maintaining access to the vital support services they need to lead healthy, independent lives,” Comitta, who serves on the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee, said. “None of this would have been accomplished without the hard work of disability advocates from across Pennsylvania who continue to strive to create a more accessible and equitable society for all.”
Specifically, Comitta credited the persistent efforts of Chester County-based disability rights activist and West Chester Area School District teacher Jessica Keogh for helping push the bill, introduced by Senator Bob Mensch, over the finish line.
“Being part of such a historical moment means so much to me as I strive to be the best advocate and educator for my students,” said Keogh.
Before the passage of Act 69, the MAWD program was only eligible to individuals with disabilities with an income of less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level and less than $10,000 in savings.
Since the legislation took effect, the earnings cap was raised to 600 percent of the federal poverty level and allowed individuals to accrue more than $10,000 in countable assets since their initial eligibility.
Comitta said she hopes the new law will continue to encourage more individuals with disabilities to consider new job opportunities or return to work without fear of losing vital benefits.