A program designed to help employers pay for the disabled has been extended for two years to June 2019, but many workers are still waiting for the end of the federal disability-pay freeze.
A federal employment-based income-contingent plan is intended to help employees who are disabled and who are working part-time, part-year, or no hours with low-wage employers.
The government has also extended the program to employees with other health conditions or disabilities.
The Extended Employment-Based Income-Contingent Program is designed to meet the needs of those workers who do not have an employment income and who want to make payments toward their benefits.
The program is part of a broader effort to address the nation’s persistent and growing disability-wage gap.
Employers who hire part-timers can get the extended benefit, while part-workers who do so can receive a one-time payment of $1,000.
Employers with at least one full-time employee who have been eligible for the Extended Employment Based Income-contingsent benefit for a minimum of two years and who provide at least $15,000 of compensation to employees are eligible.
Those with a combined annual earnings of $100,000 or more are eligible for a one time payment of up to $1.7 million.
To qualify, an employee must be either disabled or have health conditions that make it difficult to work, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Those who have disabilities and are employed in a non-employment-based employment relationship are also eligible.
The expanded program is designed for employers who are:• Employers that do not offer full- or part-employment services or employment opportunities.• Employer-operated small businesses, such a restaurants, retail shops, or small-business-owned homes.• Small-business owners with fewer than 20 full- and part-employee employees.• Non-profit organizations, which are not owned or controlled by a public or private corporation.
The program is based on the Federal Family Assistance Program, which was expanded to include all workers who are not covered under the federal Disability Insurance program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Under the program, eligible employers must offer full or part employment and be willing to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability or health condition of the employee.
The requirements include reasonable accommodation in the form of:• An employer’s policy of providing reasonable accommodation, including reasonable accommodations related to age, age-related conditions, and the length of time the employee is disabled.• A written written policy explaining the reasonable accommodation and how the accommodation will be accommodated; and• A plan to meet and maintain compliance with the accommodation requirements.
An employer must meet the requirements for an Extended Employment Supported Income- Contingent Benefit or Extended Employment Pay-Contedent Benefit by the deadline for a new qualifying employee or the end date of the benefit year, whichever is earlier.
The extended benefit is not available to the following employees:• Employees who are eligible to receive a Federal Family assistance benefit;• Employees eligible to participate in the Supplemental Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, and• Employees receiving federal assistance for child care.
Employees with disabilities may qualify for the expanded benefit only if they are in a job that requires a high level of intellectual capacity.
In addition, the extended benefits must be paid to an employee who is disabled and has a history of significant impairment.
The expanded program was extended through the Economic Opportunity for All program in December 2019.
The extended benefit has been available since December 2020.
The National Disability Insurance Program has expanded to cover people who are at or below 133 percent of the poverty line, or $23,500 for a family of four.
The eligibility requirements have not changed.