What Programs Are Available To Assist People With Disabilities in Massachusetts?
Is there a Medicaid waiver program in Massachusetts? Massachusetts has several waivers including:
  • The Children’s Autism Home and Community‐Based Services Waiver Program - ages 3-9;
  • Adult Residential Waiver - Age 18 and older;
  • Community Living Waiver;
  • Adult Supports Waiver;
  • Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (HCBS) for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Age 18 and over;
  • Frail Elder Home and Community-Based Services Waiver - age 60 or older

What state department handles the Medicaid waiver program in Massachusetts? The Department of Developmental Services handles the Medicaid waiver program in Massachusetts.

What programs assist people who have developmental disabilities in Massachusetts? MassHealth, run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pays for health care for people living in Massachusetts who have medium, low, or no income. Because the waiver program brings federal funds into the services system, Massachusetts has a “waiver mandate”. This means that the waiver is the first source of funding for services for anyone who is--or can become--eligible for the waiver. Because the waiver covers the same types of services as would be covered by state funds, it makes sense to get federal money for those same services. And it makes financial sense for Massachusetts to get as much federal funding as possible for services, allowing the state to use their funds for individuals or services not allowable under the HCBS waiver, or to save those funds for other uses in the state.

What is the best number to call to get started with services in Massachusetts? To learn more about services in Massachusetts, call Liz at (617) 727-5608. If unable to reach Liz,contact Central Office (617) 727-5608. There are also four regional offices: Central West Region (413) 205-0800; Northeast Region (978) 774-5000; Metro Region (781) 314-7500; or Southeast Region (508) 866-5000.

To apply for services, applicants must complete the Application for Eligibility Form. Application forms are available at the area offices, regional offices and on the website. Applicants can fax or mail the completed application, along with all the required documentation to the regional eligibility team that covers the geographical area where applicants live.

Before getting services, and assessment called MASSCAP is done. MASSCAP stands for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Process. The MASSCAP process consists of two major components: the Inventory of Client and Agency Planning (ICAP), and the Client and Caregiver Assessment profile.

Is there a website?

Who Qualifies For Assistance?

What is considered a developmental disability in Massachusetts? All individuals with developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities must meet the level of care rules for eligibility to an ICF-MR—an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded-- the type of Medicaid funded institution that serves individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Are there income limits to receive services in Massachusetts? The Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (HCBS) is a program for low-income Massachusetts residents who qualify for nursing facility or other institutional care but want to live at home. The Waiver allows MassHealth members to get needed health care and support services at home rather than in an institution. MassHealth does not cover these home-based services without a waiver. For adults, the income and asset limits for the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver program are: Your countable income must be no greater than $2130 per month in 2013. Note: This income limit is three times the federal SSI benefit amount. In 2013, the federal SSI benefit amount is $710 per month. Children must meet the eligibility requirements for MassHealth Standard based on family income.

How old do you have to be to start receiving services in Massachusetts? In most cases, you have to be age 18 or older to get services. There is a very small waiver for children ages 3-9 who have autism, but it's capped at 157 children and children can only remain on the waiver for three years. Also, some waivers only allow you to stay on their waiver for three years.

Is There a Waiting List For Services?

How long is the waiting list for Med Waiver services in Massachusetts? Massachusetts does not keep a waiting list for services. Qualified persons might not get waiver services, but can get some services through Mass-Health. For example, Day Habilitation Programs are funded and licensed by MassHealth.

How many people are on the waiting list in Massachusetts?Massachusetts doesn't have a waiting list, but that does not mean that there are not people waiting for waiver services. Each year, there is an open application period. Mass-Health must get your application during this period to be considered for one of the waivers.

How many people are currently receiving services in Massachusetts? There are about 32,000 people, children and adults, currently receiving services in Massachusetts

What assistance is available while you wait for services in Massachusetts? Mass-Health provides some healthcare services while you wait.

Is there priority preference for people who are in crisis?Is is some priority placement if you are in crisis. ?” Individuals with the greatest functional and cognitive limitations will be offered, when requested, residential support options ranging from an array of supports in the family or individual’s home to out of home placement. First priority to individuals in crisis such as people who are homeless or who have lost a caregiver.

What Services Are Offered & What Are The Service Limitations?

What services does the Medicaid waiver program offer in Massachusetts ? Massachusetts offers specialized services and supports including: day supports, employment supports, residential supports, family supports, respite, and transportation.

What services are available to people living in the family home? The majority of persons served in Massachusetts live with their families. Massachusetts offers a flexible array of supports to help families keep their loved ones at home. These supports may include community oriented resources, respite, special activities, and other supports.

Does Massachusetts offer community group homes? Massachusetts does offer group homes to adults over 18 years old. There are not group homes for children. Children are offered some support in the family home if needed. There are both provider and state operated homes.

Does Massachusetts offer supported living? Massachusetts supports people in a wide range of living arrangements in the community. They can be homes, apartments, condominiums, or others such as small family settings to group living situations. These residences are managed both by state and provider organizations.

Are there still state owned institutions in Massachusetts? Massachusetts continues to serve individuals in its six Developmental Centers. These centers provide 24-hour support in compliance with federal regulations. Massachusetts assists individuals and families who choose to move to homes in the community.

How Do You Select A Provider?

Do providers work for the state in Massachusetts? Massachusetts is contracting with 235 private provider agencies.

About how many providers are there in Massachusetts? Massachusetts provides services through facilities and community-based state operated programs and by contracting with 235 private provider agencies.

Do you have a choice in providers in Massachusetts? In Massachusetts you decide who you want to provide services.

How Do You Become A Provider?

Is There A Fee? There is not a fee to become a provider, but you need a license to do most services. You need a license to provide: Residential/Home Supports and Day/Employment Supports. You do not need a license to provide: transportation, family support services, or clinical teams. Most license expire after two years, and the provider needs to be reviewed to continue providing services.

Additional Information

Massachusetts provides specialized services and supports to approximately 32,000 adults with intellectual disabilities and children with developmental disabilities. Currently, the Department is serving more than 8600 children with developmental disabilities and their families. A child is a person who is younger than 18 years of age.

MassHealth provides health care benefits to low- and moderate-income people with disabilities. MassHealth offers benefits directly, or by paying part or all of your other health-insurance premiums.

Each waiver has a limit on the number of people who can be served in a waiver year. In addition, DDS has the authority to limit enrollment into the waivers based on availability of funding for new waiver participants.

MA Providers

Massachusetts Providers


Charles River Center ARC 781-972-1000
The Therapeutic Day Services Division provides structured activities designed to increase functional skill development for adults who have disabilities.

Delta Projects 781-449-8545
Delta is hiring! Check our Job Opportunties page. We are seeking Direct Support staff and Coordinators for several homes in SE Massachusetts.


Massachusetts Waivers
  • The Children’s Autism Home and Community‐Based Services Waiver Program: The Autism Waiver Program at the Department of Developmental Services Autism Division serves children, birth through age 8, with an autism spectrum disorder who meet the eligibility criteria. Only 157 children may participate in the Autism Waiver Program at any one time.The Autism Waiver allows children to receive Expanded Habilitation, Education, in‐home services and supports, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Floor Time, for a total of 3 years. At the conclusion of the 3 years of the intensive in‐home services, a child may access ongoing Supplemental Services (for example respite and goods and services, etc.) that meet the child’s needs and help with the transition out of the intensive Autism Waiver Program— until the child’s 9th Birthday. All waiver services require that the child (and the child's family) continues to meet the financial and clinical eligibility requirements for the Waiver Program, 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Contact 1‐888‐367‐4435 for more information.
  • Adult Residential Waiver: The Residential Waiver is for individuals who need a residential placement that has supervision and staffing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week due to significant behavioral, medical, and/or physical support needs and the absence of available, natural, generic and Medicaid services. The Waiver is a program run by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through MassHealth that pays for health care for people living in Massachusetts who have medium, low, or no income. Call 1-888-367-4435
  • Community Living Waiver The Community Living Waiver is for individuals who can live in their family home, in the home of someone else, or their own home and do not need supervision 24 hours a day, seven days a week due to the combination of natural, generic and Medicaid services.
  • Adult Supports Waiver: The Adult Supports Waiver is for individuals who can live in their own home or apartment or family home due to the combination of a strong natural/informal generic and Medicaid services.
  • Frail Elder Waiver: For frail elders, waiver services may include personal care services, housekeeping and chore services, laundry, home health aide, skilled nursing, companion services, supportive day program, home delivered meals, grocery shopping, transportation, wander response system, respite care, environmental accessibility adaptation, and transitional assistance. 1-800-243-4636
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver: Services for TBI clients may include day programs; respite; supported employment; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; transportation; personal care and homemaker services; specialized medical equipment, and home accessibility adaptations. The TBI waiver participant and a case manager work together to develop a plan of services. Contact MassHealth Waiver Information at 1-866-281-5602.