What Qualifies as Income When Applying for MassHealth?

MassHealth is the name for the Massachusetts Medicaid program that offers free or low-cost healthcare or health insurance to low and moderate-income households within the state. Eligibility for MassHealth is based on household size and income.

Working Income

Massachusetts considers any money you make from employment to be working income. This includes the wages your employer pays you plus tips and bonuses, or your earnings from self-employment after qualified deductions for business expenses. When you apply for MassHealth benefits, you must provide details about your employer, how long you have been employed and how much you earn. You'll also need to provide proof of your income. Your W-2s, or tax returns from the previous year, and pay stubs are acceptable documentation.

Nonworking Income

Nonworking income is also factored into your eligibility for MassHealth. Nonworking income includes unemployment compensation and rental income, as well as alimony, child support, workers' compensation and dividends or interest payments. Annuities, pensions, trusts, veteran's benefits and retirement income also need to be reported with supporting documentation. If you receive Social Security or SSI, it needs to be reported, but you do not have to provide proof.

Asset Test

If you are under age 65, or over age 65 and eligible for SSI, there are no asset limits when you apply for MassHealth. For anyone else over age 65, the value of your assets can affect your eligibility. In general, your home, one vehicle and prepaid funeral or burial arrangements are not counted. The state does consider the value of any additional property or vehicles; your pension and retirement funds, if you can access the money; the cash value of life insurance policies and bank accounts as assets. The asset limit varies according to the MassHealth plan you're applying for: for MassHealth Standard, Essential and Limited, you can have up to $2,000 in assets; for the MassHealth Buy-In Program, you can have up to $6,600 in assets.

Income Eligibility

In determining eligibility, MassHealth compares your income to the income thresholds established by the Office of Health and Human Services. As of 2011, a family of four must earn less than $891 per month, or $10,692 annually, which is approximately 50 percent of the federal poverty level. However, if your income is higher, you may still qualify for other health insurance assistance programs in Massachusetts. There are special programs designed to cover children, pregnant women, disabled residents, certain people over age 65 and people who have been unemployed for a long time or who cannot get insurance through their employer.

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