Can someone just tell me where to start…..
Like most of you parents of children with special needs, I was constantly researching ways to help my son Brandon get the services he needs. Also, like most of you parents I ran into many stumbling blocks in getting those services due to income restrictions, asset restrictions, lack of information, lack of funding availability, not knowing the right person or even not knowing how and what to ask for on top of all the lengthy, complicated paperwork that had to be filled out in its entirety without mistake or said mistake would cost you months or even years of non-service. Totally frustrating system. Let me help you!
What does HCBS mean?
Home and Community Based Services. This is person centered care delivered in the home and community. It is designed to allow for individuals to stay in their homes instead of receiving services in a facility for care. This program is housed under Agency for Persons with Disabilities. It is considered the payer of last resort. Meaning all other means to pay for service has been exhausted.
What can it cover for my child (under 21)?
- Respite Care so you can take a break
- Personal Care Supports
- Environmental Modifications such as making a bathroom handicapped accessible
- DME (Durable Medical Equipment)
- Consumable medical supplies such as vitamins
- Medicaid for as long as child is on waiver and more
Must be diagnosed with one of the following: Intellectual Disability (Full Scale IQ of 70 or below) Severe forms of Autism, Spina Bifida cystica or myelomeningocele, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome
Must live in Florida, must be at least 3 years of age or more and have a disability that started before the age of 18. This is not based on income of the parents/guardian, but it is based on the income of the child. (There are ways to safeguard this income criteria for your child that we will talk about in another blog post)
Now you have qualification, and you get excited, but hold on they now tell you there is a 7 to 10-year waitlist. What to do next.
What is the Waitlist?
The Waitlist is exactly what is says. I list of individuals waiting for services. Due to budget issues not all people that qualify for the waiver will get services right away. This depends on if you have an emergent need. Even though they tell you it will take 10 years to get off the waitlist, apply and get on the waitlist. Periodically they will give temporary services to people on the waitlist. Also once you are on the waitlist your can apply for a crisis defined as homeless, exhibit life-threatening behaviors that place them or others in extreme danger, or have a caregiver who is in extreme duress and can no longer provide for the applicant’s health and safety. Examples of this can be a caregiver that is having difficulty transferring a child due to back problems, a child that runs out of house or away from the parents putting himself in danger, a child that is aggressive to others causing injury or a self-injurious child. My son got services due to PICA (he eats un-edible items.)
How to apply
Click on the link below and get your application
After completing the application, include proof of eligibility (i.e. medical records showing diagnoses, psychological evaluations etc.). Also, must send proof of domicile such as driver’s license, voters’ registration, homestead exemption etc.
Call 1-844-865-1172 Easter Seals for directions to send documents.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, take it one application at a time. You are a superstar!