Everything You Need to Know About Waiver Care Services in Arkansas

Arkansas provides a network of support for individuals and families who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) believes that children and adults with disabilities should have choices when choosing support services in their communities.

Often times, people are forced to overpay or get involved with services that don’t meet their particular needs, which is why waiver care services in Little Rock and around the state can be so beneficial and life-changing.

The DDS provides several local services to individuals with disabilities who are accepted into the waiver care program in Central Little Rock, as well as manages, develops policies, plans, and provides administration for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver.

So, what exactly can the waiver care program offer?

Children and adults who are intellectually or developmentally disabled can thrive with the right resources and personalized care. A specialized support system can actually improve their lives in great strides and make them feel more confident and independent. Medicaid offers waiver care to these individuals in Arkansas, which provides a number of home and community-based services (HCBS).

Individuals must undergo an application process and qualify for the different services depending on what their needs require for overall success and the greatest quality of life. Some of the waiver care services you could be eligible for include respite care, supportive living, adaptive equipment, specialized medical supplies, non-medical transportation, case coordination, consultation services, and developmental day treatment care services.

The application process, and how to see if your loved one qualifies

To apply for the waiver care program, expect a bit of a lengthy and time-consuming process. Many individuals apply, and the number selected and cared for under the DDS waiver service is limited. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should simply give up and not apply. Even if your application is initially denied, you can file an appeal to have it reconsidered.

Here’s the beginning-to-end process to apply for the waiver care program:

  • Obtain a qualifying diagnosis from a doctor to confirm the disability and gauge the level of care required.
  • Some of the qualifying diagnoses include intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, autism, or a similar condition.
  • Contact the Arkansas Department of Human Resources (DHS) to initiate the intake process.
  • Gather the necessary documents for the waiver care application.
    • You’ll want to include your ID, birth certificate, diagnosis, and evaluation form.
  • File the application with the DHS to join the waiting list.
    • Be prepared: Your application could be pending for several months, as 4,100 families statewide are currently served by a DHS waiver program service. You can also expect that an assessment will be completed on the recipient to determine that individual’s level of need in the Tiering system.
  • If deemed eligible, DHS will offer you the choice of a direct service provider agency and a case management agency.
  • If deemed ineligible, file an appeal right away to have your application reconsidered.
    • If, after a second attempt, the individual is still deemed ineligible, the DHS will provide some different options for your consideration.
  • Once accepted, you will be assigned a care coordinator with a managed care entity who will assist in developing, implementing, and monitoring your care plan to live as independently and healthily as possible.

The benefits of home and community-based services

Home and community-based services, or HCBS, allow Medicaid beneficiaries to receive assistance and services in their own homes or communities, rather than living full-time in institutions or other isolated environments. An individual’s quality of life is often much greater with HCBS. These services allow individuals with developmental disabilities to feel more autonomous, as well as interact with their loved ones on a more regular basis.

Home and community-based services are also much cheaper than housing a disabled person in a Human Development Center. With waiver care services provided at home or within their community, the annual cost is about $43,000 on average. On the other hand, it costs almost twice that to live in a care facility full time.

If you have questions about waiver care services offered for adults and children with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Arkansas, we want to help. Please reach out to us today at (501) 406-0442 to learn more about how you or your loved one can get a personalized care plan and improve day-to-day living.

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