If you have a child with a developmental disability or other special needs disability, you need to know about Medicaid waivers. Very broadly speaking, a waiver is a program available to persons with a disability and other specific qualifications (depending on the type of waiver) that provides supports and services intended to help the person continue living in a community setting rather than a nursing home or institutional setting.
Waivers may be available to people who don’t otherwise qualify for regular medicaid because their income or assets are above the limit. They may also be available as additional support for people who are already receiving Medicaid.
Medicaid is a federal program, but each state administers the program, makes some of the rules, and kicks in some of the money to pay for it. This means each state handles waivers differently.
Our firm has clients in three different states. Here’s what you need to know for each state.
Massachusetts: The Massachusetts waiver program is administered by the Department of Disability Services. The majority of waivers are for persons age 18 or over, but there are some waiver services for children. You must submit an application to DDS for services. This application is in addition to your Medicaid (MassHealth) application. Placement in waiver programs occurs during the open enrollment period each year.
Information on applications and available Medicaid waivers in Masschusetts is here: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-developmental-services
New Hampshire: New Hampshire has several waivers covering both children and adults. The application process is integrated into the Medicaid application at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, here: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dfa/apply.htm There is sometimes a waiting list for waivers, but it is typically less than a year and may be far shorter.
Texas: Texas has a number of different waiver programs that serve both children and adults. Children who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid due to family resources may qualify for one or more of the waivers. Texas has very long waiting lists for most of its waiver programs, however, several as long as ten years. It is recommended that all persons with a developmental disability have their name placed on the “interest list” which allows them to apply for the waiver as spots come open. This means you can place your child on the interest list without knowing whether they will actually qualify for it or not at the time they come to the top of the waiting list. If they no longer need the waiver when a spot is open, you can simply decline to apply. Two different state agencies handle waivers and each has their own interest list, so you must get on all that may apply to your child. You can find the information you need to get on these lists here: https://www.navigatelifetexas.org/en/insurance-financial-help/texas-medicaid-waiver-programs-for-children-with-disabilities
Medicaid and the waiver programs are critical benefits for persons with serious disabilities that prevent them from supporting and caring for themselves. Parents should seek out and obtain any relevant government benefits such as these as part of their complete plan for their child’s lifetime. These benefit programs generally provide the foundation of care that can then be supplemented by the resources of the parents. For more information on leaving money or assets to care for your child with a disability without endangering their eligibility for Medicaid and waiver programs, give us a call at 833-RED-BOOT (833-733-2668) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.