If you’re in the disability-world, you’ve probably heard rumblings about waivers or the new waiver waiting list. But what exactly is a waiver and how could a waiver help your family? Here’s a quick overview.
Waivers are administered through the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and county Boards of Developmental Disabilities. In order to be eligible, you must have a developmental disability and be eligible for Medicaid. Waiver rules on financial eligibility are different in that a parent’s assets and income are NOT counted as income/assets of their children. Therefore, as long as there are no assets in the child’s name, the child can qualify for a waiver even if their parents are wealthy.
Your county DD Board will conduct a needs assessment in order to determine whether you qualify for one of the three waivers they offer. The DD Board will determine if you have no need for a waiver, an immediate need (where there’s a risk of substantial harm if action is not taken within 30 days), or a current need (meaning you’ll need it within the next 12 months). Even still, there is no “entitlement” to a DD Waiver because the number of waivers available is limited by funding availability. The DD Boards’ goal is to give the waivers to those who need them most. You can only get one waiver at a time and they have varying levels of support. The different types of waivers available are:
I/O Waivers (Individual Options Waiver) pay service providers to provide necessary supports such as homemaker/personal care, transportation, money management, nursing, home delivered meals, etc. I/O Waivers provide the highest level of service supports of all three DD waivers.
Level One Waivers can provide some of the same types of services as an I/O Waiver, but they’re intended for people who don’t need as many caretakers or paid services providers because they have family/friends who are able to provide a lot of the supports without payment. There are dollar amount caps on these services, depending upon the type of service being rendered.
SELF Waivers (Self-Empowered Life Funding Waiver) give people control over who they hire to help them, so they have to manage their own budgets. Available services include things like equipment needs, personal care services, therapeutic intervention, and transportation. The dollar limit for services is $40,000 per year for an adult, and $25,000 per year for a child.
DODD created the chart below to show the different types of services that are available under the various waivers.
What about the Ohio Home Care Waiver? That waiver is actually administered through the Ohio Department of Medicaid and county Departments of Job & Family Services, not DODD. It provides persons with physical disabilities or unstable medical conditions to get help in their homes so that they don’t have to go into a nursing facility or rehab center. To apply, go to the ODM’s website to complete an application and submit it to your county DJFS. If you don’t receive Medicaid, you’ll have to complete an application for Medicaid as well.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be! The more information you expose yourself to, the better equipped you are to seek out help and ask the right questions. If you learned what waivers are and where to go to find out more, you’re one step further ahead.