Funding for Waiver Slots for the Disabled

Funding for Waiver Slots for the Disabled 4Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced an additional $300 million over the biennium to fund enough priority one waiver slots for every Virginian with a developmental disability on the waitlist today. There are currently over 3,400 Virginians on the priority one waiting list for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Developmental Disability (DD) waiver slots, meaning these individuals urgently need the services and supports offered by the waiver in a year or less.

Increasing waiver slots and reducing the waitlist has been a key priority in Governor Youngkin’s transformational Right Help, Right Now plan and the administration continues to deliver on those commitments today. Earlier this year, Governor Youngkin signed a budget funding 500 new waiver slots, on top of the 600 new slots that were approved in the FY 2024 budget by the General Assembly.

“One year ago, I promised to enhance our support for Virginians with developmental disabilities and their families,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Today, I am proud to announce we are one step closer to the goal of providing enough priority one slots for everyone in urgent need of services by the end of my term. Through these improvements, we are giving Virginians with disabilities the supports and services they need to live their best lives in their communities.”

“We’ve heard from Virginians and their families about the important difference a DD waiver can have in their life or the life of a loved one,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. “Whether it be paying for in-home care or the kind of assistive technology that can help an individual avoid living in a hospital, nursing home, or other institution, we know that these waivers can change lives.”

Waivers can cover services such as medical care, employment supports, assistance for community living, behavioral interventions, and other items like medical goods and assistive technology.

DD Waivers are administered jointly by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). Virginia has three waivers for individuals with a developmental disability: Building Independence for individuals 18 and older; Family & Individual Support; and Community Living. There is a waiting list for these waivers, and the slots are assigned based on urgency of need. Local community services board (CSB) staff assesses each individual that meets the criteria for a waiver to establish their priority needs level of 1, 2, or 3 on the waitlist.

“We have been making plans through Right Help, Right Now to address the priority one waitlist, and we believe community providers will have the capacity to deliver services for this critical infusion of waiver slots,” said DBHDS Commissioner Nelson Smith. “Waiting for urgently needed help on a long list is unacceptable – we are working hard to get these families the help they desperately need.”

Launched in December 2022, Governor Youngkin’s Right Help, Right Now plan is a comprehensive approach to improving Virginia’s behavioral health and developmental disability systems. The plan is built on six pillars, sets clear and achievable three-year goals, and includes immediate action to get people the “right help, right now.” Addressing the priority one waitlist is a goal of Workstream Three, which seeks to expand the capacity of community services to better serve individuals with mental health, substance use, and developmental disabilities.

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