Employment First Initiatives

if everybody works

There is growing consensus in Iowa and around the country that employment in the general workforce should be the expected and preferred outcome of employment-related services. A job establishes someone as a contributor to, and full participant in, the community. In addition, the US Department of Justice has affirmed in numerous settlements that the Olmstead community integration mandate applies not only to where one lives, but to what one does during the day.

For more than 10 years, CDD has administered Iowa's Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) on behalf of Iowa's Department of Human Services, with funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. MIG has helped Iowa Medicaid members to learn about work incentives, benefits planning, and increasing economic self-sufficiency. In collaboration with many Iowa partners, thousands of Iowa job seekers with disabilities were introduced to Iowa's Medicaid Buy-In program, Social Security Work Incentives, Home and Community-Based Services that support employment, Small Business/Microenterprise Development, Ticket-to-Work, AmeriCorps, and other employment services and supports that are available to people with disabilities. Iowa now has several success stories of people with disabilities who are employed and earning wages or who are self-employed as small business owners. Follow the links below to view their stories:

Medicaid Claims and Employment Research

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center researched the effects of employment on health care costs of Medicaid members. The dramatic results show that Medicaid members with disabilities participating in Iowa’s Medicaid for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MEPD) program and covered only by Medicaid have $161 per month lower Medicaid claims than Medicaid members who are not participating in MEPD. By multiplying the average saving of $161 per month by the 129,259 eligible months for MEPD members covered during the study period, we estimate the cost reductions are over $20 million during 2011. Cost reductions for MEPD participants also covered by Medicare are estimated to be twice that much. Read more about the Costs of Health Care study.

Iowa Initiatives Assisted by CDD

Read a summary of current Iowa employment systems improvement efforts.

Read summaries of asset development resources available to people with disabilities.

Read helpful hints about employment-related supports for people with disabilities.