What Programs Are Available To Assist People With Disabilities in New York?

Is there a Medicaid waiver program in New York? New York has a dozen waivers including:

  • SOMRDD-CAHIV;
  • Care at Home I/II;
  • CAH VI;
  • Traumatic Brain Injury;
  • OMH SED;
  • OMRDD Comprehensive;
  • NY CAH III;
  • Long Term Home Health Care Program;
  • Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver;
  • Bridges to Health for Children w/SED;
  • Bridges to Health for Children w/DD;
  • Bridges to Health for Children who are Medically Fragile

What state department handles the Medicaid waiver program? The NYS Office For People With Developmental Disabilities handles Medicaid waivers for developmental disabilities.

What programs assist people who have developmental disabilities? The OMRDD Comprehensive waiver assists persons with developmental disabilities.

What is the best number to call to get started? The first step in getting started with our services, is a telephone call to our intake number (631) 434-6000. Here we do a preliminary intake gathering general information- name and phone number and other details. Then you will receive a call from an intake worker who will walk you through the process of enrollment into our system and provide an overview to services available in the region.

Is there a website? http://www.opwdd.ny.gov

Who Qualifies For Assistance?

What is considered a developmental disability? Section 1.03(22) of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law is the legal base for eligibility determination and defines Developmental Disability as: A disability of a person that: (a)(1) Is attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment or autism; (2) Is attributable to any other condition of a person found to be closely related to mental retardation because such condition results in similar impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior to that of mentally retarded persons or requires treatment and services similar to those required for such persons; or (3) Is attributable to dyslexia resulting from a disability described in (1) or (2); (b) Originates before such person attains age twenty-two; (c) Has continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely; and (d) Constitutes a substantial handicap to such person's ability to function normally in society.

For applicants with complete documentation of a developmental disability determinations will be made by a DDSO intake personnel. For applicants lacking complete documentation of a developmental disability, the designated DDSO intake personnel will request the needed additional documentation from the referral source.

The Eligibility Review process is the gateway to OPWDD services in New York State. An individual who has a developmental disability and lives in New York State can request a basic eligibility review by: calling an OPWDD office directly; asking a local government agency to assist them in accessing OPWDD-funded services; or having a voluntary agency make a request on their behalf.

Are there income limits to receive services? Parental income and resources are not considered for children living at home and seeking enrollment in the HCBS Waiver. For most other OPWDD services, the individual and spouse, parents or legal guardian (if he/she is under the age of 21) and any fiduciary acting on his/her behalf are liable for the cost of care (Article 43 of Mental Hygiene Law). Parents are not liable if the disabled person does not live at home, even if he/she returns for periodic visits. Some services funded by OPWDD, such as Family Support Services, do not require a contribution to the cost of care. For services requiring a contribution, OPWDD can provide funding on an exception basis if the individual cannot qualify for benefits. Resources can be put into a Medicaid qualifying supplemental needs trust and be exempt for Medicaid purposes.

How old do you have to be to start receiving services? People of all ages can get Medicaid waiver services.

Is There a Waiting List For Services?

How long is the waiting list for New York Medicaid waiver services? There is no waiting list for Medicaid waiver services in New York. Although you are not waiting to get onto the waiver, you still may have to wait for certain services. Many people in New York state that they receive the bare minimal in supports. For example, There is a waiting list for 24/7 residential opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. OPWDD only has limited funding to develop new homes with 24/7 supports. New York State’s residential waiting list has reached 6,800 for people needing placement, new people enter the system every day.

How many people are on the waiting list in New York? There are no people on the waiver waiting list, but there is a wait for certain services, such as 24/7 residential.

How many people are currently receiving Medicaid waiver services in New York? There are 64,000 people currently getting Medicaid waiver services in New York.

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is responsible for coordinating services for more than 126,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, about half through waivers. Most OPWDD services are funded through the Medicaid Program, including a special Medicaid Waiver called the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)Waiver; the cost of room and board in group homes is funded through other benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income. These other benefits are also used to provide a monthly personal needs spending allowance.

What assistance is available while you wait? You shouldn't have to wait long to get at least some services in New York, however without a support network, New York's complicated maze of services is difficult to navigate and the state workers simply might not take the time to explain to you everything you need to know. I would suggest going to www.lifssac.com (a parent advisory board) where you will find more information regarding services, clinics and services, as well as local events. I also recommend that you visit The Parent to Parent Website at www.p2pnys.org for further information about services or call Parent to Parent 631 434-6196. Once eligibility is determined, you will be assigned an intake worker and the intake worker will talk with you and determine what services would benefit your loved ones. The intake worker will link you with a provider agency that can help you navigate the system. It's best to be informed before meeting with the intake worker.

Is there priority preference for people who are in crisis? If an individual wants a new service, the person or their family should talk to the agency they want the service from. The agency will tell you if they can provide the service to the individual and will also explain if the individual has the right Medicaid coverage to pay for the service. If the individual does not have the right Medicaid coverage, he or she must enroll in the right coverage before new services will be provided. If the individual or family does not apply for the Medicaid coverage needed, the agency can deny the request for service. However, in cases where the person’s health or safety would be in danger without the service, the agency may choose to provide the service before the individual has enrolled in Medicaid.

What Services Are Offered & What Are The Service Limitations?

What services does the Medicaid waiver program offer? Some services provided through OPWDD include family support , case management, respite, housing, supported employment, recreation, skills development, training, long term habilitative services, nursing and psychiatric services, respite (short-term caregiver relief).

What services are available to people living in the family home or supported living? Supports for Independent and Family Living include a wide array of services that allow an individual to remain in his or her own home, apartment or family care home. Whether the individual and/or family’s need is respite services, which provide relief for the caregiver, or assistive technology services, which can, for example, provide environmental modifications to the home to incorporate a wheelchair (such as wider doors, ramps or roll-in showers), or provide communication aids (such as speech amplifiers, guide dogs and adaptive computer hardware/software), the goal of these supports and services is to help people with developmental disabilities lead richer lives that include meaningful relationships, good health, personal growth and productivity, and homes in their communities.

Does this state offer community group homes? Residential settings are licensed by OPWDD to provide housing and related services, operated by either OPWDD or nonprofit agencies. These settings include supervised group living (a home with 24-hour staffing and supervision), semi-independent (or "supported") group living (a home with less-than-24-hour staffing and supervision), and other residential options (typically, homes for 15 or more people with 24-hour staffing and supervision).

  • Community Residences (CR) - Provide semi-independent living. There are 2 types of CRs: (1) Supervised; provide housing with staffing available 24hrs. (2) Supportive; which are limited to 3 people, with staff support varying according to individual need.
  • Intermediate Care Facilities (IFC) - Provide a residential treatment option in the community for persons with specified medical and/or behavioral needs. ICFs provide 24 hour onsite assistance and training, intensive clinical and direct care services, professionally developed and supervised activities, and a variety of therapies. ICFs are designed for individuals whose disability severely limits their ability to be independent.
  • Family Care - Is a licensed residential program which provides a family living experience through a structured and stable home environment, including the support, guidance and companionship found within a family unit. Family Care providers are home owners who receive a monthly stipend to provide services within their homes.
  • Non-Certified Housing Options - Includes services that assist persons with developmental disabilities to locate, lease or buy, and access residential arrangements which are 17 alternatives to traditional congregate living situations. Among these types of living arrangements are shared or matched home sharing, independent living, HUD rental subsidies and low income home ownership programs.

Does this state offer supported living? Yes, New York offers supports and services to assist people with disabilities to live in their own homes.

Are there still state owned institutions? New York has 10 state institutions, housing nearly 2000 people with disabilities.

  • Bernard M. Fineson Developmental Center
  • Brooklyn DDSO (Brooklyn)
  • Broome DDSO (Binghamton)
  • Capital District DDSO (Schenectady), Formerly O.D. Heck DDSO
  • Finger Lakes DDSO (Rochester), Formerly Montroe DDSO
  • Staten Island DDSO (Staten Island)
  • Sunmount DDSO (Tupper Lake)
  • Taconic DDSO (Wassaic)
  • Valley Ridget
  • Western NY DDSO (West Seneca), Formerly West Seneca DDSO
How Do You Select A Provider?

Do providers work for the state? No, Medicaid waiver providers in New York do not work for the state, but most work for non for profit agencies.

About how many providers are there in the state? There are nearly 800 providers in New York. Nearly 80 percent of service delivery is carried out by the nonprofit network.

Do you have a choice in providers? Once eligibility is determined, the intake worker will talk with you and determine what services would benefit your loved ones. The intake worker will link you with a provider agency that can help you navigate the system. There is also a provider directory - http://providerdirectory.opwdd.ny.gov/

How Do You Become A Provider?

Is There A Fee?

Additional Information

Resource Guide

OMRDD Main Office: 518-474-9689

OPWDD Eligibility Coordinators

  • Regional Office 1 - (585) 241-5732 or (716) 517-3423
  • Regional Office 2 - (315) 473-6982 or (315) 473-2969 or (607) 770-0507 or (518) 359-2465
  • Regional Office 3 - (518) 370-7539 or (845) 947-6011 or (845) 471-9226 x 114
  • Regional Office 4 - (212) 229-3139 or (718) 642-8629 or (718) 982-1944 or (718) 217-6179
  • Regional Office 5- (631) 493-1714

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