On April 27, 2010 we attended a conference in Austin, Texas designed to address disability issues and discovered a valuable local program, Project Access Austin. This is a philanthropic program wherein the Travis County Medical Society Foundation provides coordinated health care, essentially free of charge for low-income, uninsured residents of Travis County.
Claimants applying for SSA are often in a bind. Unable to work, disabled and in need of health care, they face waiting periods of months if not years. Where do such applicants turn for health care? Approximately one-third of the Travis County Medical Society Foundation members provide volunteer services for individuals with low incomes (including those applying for but not currently receiving disability benefits).
Individuals applying for enrollment must provide documentation to ensure they meet eligibility criteria. Subsequently, applicants sign a patient responsibility agreement that requires them to be on time for appointments, follow the physician's treatment plans, and inform the program if there are changes in income, address and/or phone numbers. Eligibility includes Travis County residence for six months, US citizen or legal permanent residence. The applicant must have no medical insurance, or be unable to afford medical insurance and, may not be currently eligible for governmental assistance. Thus, an individual who receives SSA disability would likely be ineligible. However, it appears they would be eligible during the application periods (contact the program for more specifics).
Income limits are based on Federal Poverty guidelines or below. Federal Poverty Limits are roughly annual earnings of $11,000 for an individual, $14,500 for a couple and $ 22,000 for a family of four. The program allows for income of up to 200% of these figures. We congratulate the Travis County Medical Association for this innovative and compassionate initiative and ongoing advocacy. The initial application consists of a 3-page form in both English and Spanish and can be downloaded from the website at Projectaccessaustin.com. Applicants may also contact the program volunteers at (512) 206-1164, or mail to Project Access PO Box 4679 Austin, TX 78765.