What Programs Are Available To Assist People With Disabilities in California?

Is there a Medicaid waiver program in California? California currently has seven Home and Community Based Services 1915(c) waivers.

  • CA HCBS Waiver for Californians w/DD
  • CA Nursing Facility/Acute Hospital Waiver
  • CA HIV/AIDS Waiver
  • CA Pediatric Palliative Care
  • CA Assisted Living
  • CA Multipurpose Senior Services Program
  • CA In Home Operations

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What state department handles the California Medicaid waiver program? The Home and Community-Based Services for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD) Waiver is administered by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

What programs assist people who have developmental disabilities in California? California's waiver for persons with disabilities is called CA HCBS Waiver for Californians w/DD (DD Waiver).

What is the best number to call to get started? Call (916) 654-1888. For general inquiries.
* The first step to accessing Medi-Cal waiver services is to establish Medi-Cal eligibility. To apply for Medi-Cal, call or visit your local county social services office and request a Medi-Cal application.

Is there a website? http://www.dds.ca.gov

Who Qualifies For Assistance?

What is considered a developmental disability in California? In California, developmental disabilities include: mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or a disabling condition closely related to mental retardation or requiring treatment similar to that required for individuals with mental retardation. The disability must begin before the age of 18 and must be expected to continue indefinitely. (See California Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 4512(a))

Are there income limits to receive services in California? Typically a consumer must have an income of less than $620/mo and with assets that total less than $2000. You must be SSI and Medi-Cal eligible. If, however, your family income is too high, you may still be eligible for Medi-Cal because they will not count your parents’ or spouse’s income or resources. Medi-Cal is allowed to determine your eligibility using “institutional deeming.” This means Medi-Cal will evaluate you for eligibility as if you lived in an institution, and not with your parents or spouse. If the consumer has income and resources of his/her own such as a trust fund or court-appointed child support, the consumer may be assessed with a share of cost or may be denied eligibility.

If the individual is under the age of 18, parents are required by law to contribute toward a share of the cost based on their income. The FCPP does not affect all families and it applies to only three services: respite, daycare and camping. In addition, it is not intended to be so burdensome to families that it would result in their foregoing necessary services for their children. It applies when the family has an income that is at least 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Guidelines based on the number of persons in the family.

How old do you have to be to start receiving services? Waiver services start at age three. California Early Start Program serves children 0-36 months. Persons of all ages can be served.

Is There a Waiting List For Services?

How long is the waiting list in California? A waiver slot must be available for you to get services. There is currently not a waiting list.

How many people are on the waiting list in California? There are no people on the waiting list in California.

How many people are currently receiving waiver services in California? There are currently 95,000 receiving services under The Home and Community-Based Services for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD) Waiver.

What assistance is available while you wait? Medical, Medicare, CHAMPUS, private insurance, California's Children's Service

Is there priority preference for people who are in crisis? N/A because there is no waiting list.

What Services Are Offered & What Are The Service Limitations?

What services does the Medicaid waiver program offer in California? CA HCBS Waiver for Californians w/DD provides the following services: behavioral intervention, community living arrangements, day service, home health aide, homemaker, prevocational services, respite care, supported employment (enhanced habilitation), chore, communication aides, community-based training, dental, environmental accessibility adaptations, FMS, non-medical transportation, nutritional consultation, optometric/optician services, PERS, prescription lenses and frames, psychology services, skilled nursing, specialized medical equipment and supplies, specialized therapeutic services, speech/hearing and language services, transition/set up expenses, vehicle modifications and adaptations.

Who coordinates services? Services are managed by Consumer Service Coordinators who work for the regional centers.

What services are available to people living in the family home in California? Respite care is offered in the family home.

Does California offer community group homes? Regional centers will not approve new licensed community care homes that have 16 or more beds, and not buy services from any home with 16 or more beds unless the home can be homelike and bring in federal money for services.

Does California offer supported living? Yes, California offers supported living services.

Are there still state owned institutions in California? How many people are living in institutions? In California, The Department of Developmental Services currently operates four State developmental centers (DCs) which are licensed and certified as Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), Intermediate Care Facility/Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR), and General Acute Care hospitals (GAC). The Department also operates Canyon Springs in Cathedral City, Riverside County, which is a smaller, state-operated community facility (CF) licensed as an ICF/MR facility.

  • Sonoma Developmental Center - Currently treating 531 adults.
  • Fairview Developmental Center - Currently treating 374 adults with 1500 staff.
  • Lanterman Developmental Center - Currently treating 257 adults and is in the process of closing the facility.
  • Porterville Developmental Center - Currently treating 468 adults.
  • Canyon Springs - Treats up to 63 adults.

How Do You Select A Provider?

Do providers work for the state in California? In California, providers are referred to as vendors. Services are provided through state-operated developmental centers and community facilities, and contracts with 21 nonprofit regional centers. The regional centers serve as a local resource to help find and access the services and supports available to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

About how many providers are there in California? Each region has their own list of providers.

Do you have a choice in providers in California? Yes, in California consumers are given a choice of qualified providers.

Although a regional center must vendor an applicant who meets all the requirements for the service to be provided, vendorization in no way obligates that regional center to purchase service from that vendor.

Service providers are vendored by the regional center in whose catchment area the service is located, known as the vendoring regional center. Although vendors are prohibited from being vendored by more than one regional center, a vendored service provider may be utilized by non-vendoring regional centers, known as "user" or "utilizing" regional centers, as well as the vendoring regional center. Once a potential service provider has obtained all necessary licenses, submitted a complete application and all necessary documentation to the vendoring regional center, the regional center has 45 days to approve or disapprove vendorization.

How Do You Become A Provider?

Is There A Fee? No, there is not a fee to become a provider in California.



CA Providers

California Providers

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Inland Regional Center (909) 890-3000
Serving San Bernardino & Riverside Counties, California
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Located in Los Angeles, Serving All Of California
Provides Respite Care, Diapers & Medical Supplies


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California Waivers
  • CA HCBS Waiver for Californians w/DD (DD Waiver) - For individuals with autism and DD. Currently serving 95,000 people. Provides behavioral intervention, community living arrangements, day service, home health aide, homemaker, prevocational services, respite care, supported employment (enhanced habilitation), chore, communication aides, community-based training, dental, environmental accessibility adaptations, FMS, non-medical transportation, nutritional consultation, optometric/optician services, PERS, prescription lenses and frames, psychology services, skilled nursing, specialized medical equipment and supplies, specialized therapeutic services, speech/hearing and language services, transition/set up expenses, vehicle mods and adaptations.
  • CA Nursing Facility/Acute Hospital Waiver (NF/AH)- For medically fragile and technology dependent individuals of all ages. Currently serves 3032 people. Provides case management/coordination, habilitation, home respite, waiver personal care services, community transition, continuous nursing and supportive services, environmental accessibility adaptations, facility respite, family/caregiver training, medical equipment operating expense, PERS-installation and testing, PERS, private duty nursing including home health and shared services, transitional case management
  • CA HIV/AIDS Waiver - For individuals with HIV/AIDS. Currently serving 4,250 people. Provides enhanced case management, homemaker, attendant care, home delivered meals/nutritional supplements, Medi-Cal supplement for infants and children in foster care, minor physical adaptations to the home/specialized medical equipment and supplies, non-emergency medical transportation, nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, skilled nursing/licensed vocational nurse, skilled nursing/registered nurse.
  • CA Pediatric Palliative Care (PPC) - For medically fragile and technology dependent individuals ages 0-20. Currently serves 1300 people. Provides care coordination, home respite care, expressive therapies, family counseling, family training, out of home respite care, pain and symptom management.
  • CA Assisted Living - For aged individuals 65 and older; and for physically disabled individuals ages 21-64. Currently serving 3,700 people. Provides assisted care services homemaker/home health aide/personal care, assisted living services homemaker/home health aide/personal care, care coordination, environmental accessibility adaptations, NF transition.
  • CA Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP)- For aged individuals ages 65 and older. Currently serving 16,335 people. Provides care management, respite care, supplemental personal care, adult day care, adult day support center, communication, housing assistance, nutritional services, protective services, purchased care management, supplemental chore, supplemental health care, supplemental professional care assistance, supplemental protective supervision, transportation.
  • CA In Home Operations (IHO) -For medically fragile and technology dependent individuals ages of all ages. Currently serving 140 people. Provides case management/coordination, habilitation services, home respite, waiver personal care, community transition, environmental accessibility adaptations, facility respite, family training, medical equipment operating expense, PERS-installation and testing, PERS, private duty nursing-including shared services, transitional case management.
Additional Information

The Home and Community-Based Services for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD) Waiver is administered by the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) who will authorize home and community-based services for developmentally disabled persons who are Regional Center consumers. Twenty-one regional centers throughout California purchase and coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Waiver services make it possible for consumers to live in the community instead of an Intermediate Care Facility for the developmentally disabled or a State Developmental Center. The DD Waiver is currently the largest HCBS waiver in California as well as the nation.

The 21 regional centers are charged with the responsibility to coordinate, provide, arrange or purchase services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities in California. The regional centers were created under the Lanterman Act and receive their funding through contract with DDS. DDS has delegated responsibility to the regional centers for assuring that HCBS Waiver requirements are met.

Each regional center contracts directly with DDS to provide services that meet the needs of their DD population. In order to become a vendor, the potential provider of service (a person, program or facility) must be approved to provide services to regional center clients by becoming a vendor. Service Providers who desire to be vendored must submit a complete vendor application to the regional center that covers the area of the state in which the service is provided (vendoring regional center). Each Regional Center is responsible for a defined geographic area. Regional Centers may approve only those service provider applicants whose business addresses are within that Regional Center's assigned service area. However, once a prospective service provider has completed the application and approval process, their services can be utilized by any Regional Center (referred to as a Courtesy Vendorization).

Who determines whether a service is purchased? The Interdisciplinary Team (ID Team) has this responsibility. The ID Team carefully examines the individual needs of each person in relation to the goals stated by California law (Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act). The Individual Program Plan must be compatible with this law.