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Public Benefits

Medical Assistance Programs

How do I determine if I am considered disabled for the purpose of receiving appropriate medical assistance in Minnesota?

For the purpose of meeting the eligibility requirements for Minnesota Medical Assistance programs, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) State Medical Review Team (SMRT) makes the determination of disability. The determination process for adults (persons over the age of 18) consists of a statutorily-defined, five-step evaluation of the applicant's situation. If at any step in the process it can be determined that you are or are not disabled, the process ends at that step.

In general, the five steps are as follows:

Is the applicant working?

Minnesota medical assistance law requires that assets and income limits are NOT taken into account when determining disability.

Is the applicant’s medical condition severe?

This step has two parts: a severity test and a duration test. The applicant’s medical condition must significantly limit his/her ability to perform basic work-related tasks such as:
- Physical functions such as walking, lifting, reaching, carrying, etc.;
- Understanding, carrying out and remembering simple instructions;
- Using judgment
- Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and typical work situations; and
- Dealing with changes in a routine work setting.
- Unless the applicant’s impairment is expected to result in death, it must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months

Is the applicant’s medical condition on the List of Impairments, and does the applicant meet the duration requirement in Step 2?

The List of Impairments is a regulatory list of medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean that the applicant is disabled as defined by law.

Of specific interest to those with cancer is Section 13.00 of the list which covers Malignant Neoplastic Diseases. This section contains crucial details describing the required information and process used to evaluate a cancer patient’s disability determination.

Click on the following link to view the entire list.

If the applicant’s condition is not on the list, SMRT will look to see if the condition is as severe as a condition on the list. If the severity of the medical condition meets or equals that of a listed impairment, SMRT will find that the applicant is disabled.

Can the applicant do the work he/she did before?

If the applicant can still do past relevant work, the person is not disabled, regardless of age, education or work experience.

Can the applicant do any other type of work?

If the applicant can do any other kind of work, the person is not disabled.

The agency will consider the applicant’s residual functional capacity (information provided by the applicant’s physician describing the type of physical activity that the applicant is capable of doing), age, education, past work experience and skills that may be used to do other work.

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