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

Is there a Medicaid waiver program in Wisconsin? Wisconsin has several waivers including:

  • Children's Physical Disability Waiver;
  • Children's Developmental Disability Waiver;
  • Children's Mental Health Waiver;
  • Community Integration Program - DD;
  • Family Care - Aged / Physical Disability;
  • Community Options Program;
  • Brain Injury;
  • Family Care MR / DD;
  • Self Directed Support Waiver - DD;
  • Elderly and Physically Disabled

What state department handles the Medicaid waiver program in Wisconsin for persons with developmental disabilities? The Department of Health Services is the primary state agency responsible for the development and implementation of statewide policy, services and supports for people with developmental disabilities.

What programs assist people who have developmental disabilities in Wisconsin?
• The Community Integration Program is a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waiver for adults with developmental disabilities.
• The Children's Long-Term Support (CLTS) Waivers are three separate waivers that serve children who have a developmental disability (DD), a severe emotional disturbance (SED), or a physical disability (PD).
• Community Options Program Waiver (COP-Waiver; COP-W): Provides Medical Assistance funding for home and community-based care for elderly and individuals with physical disabilities who have long term care needs and who would otherwise be eligible for Medical Assistance reimbursement in a nursing home.

What is the best number to call to get started? (608) 266-1865

Is there a website? https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/

Who Qualifies For Assistance?

What is considered a developmental disability in Wisconsin? Wisconsin's definition of DD is broader than the Federal definition, in that it does not include the restrictive clauses "b" (onset before age 22) and "d" (substantial functional limitations) of the Federal definition. In order to be eligible for the home and community-based waivers for DD persons; the consumer must meet the Federal definition of DD.

Are there income limits to receive services? Yes. Each applicant to the Medicaid waivers must also be found to be financially eligible for Medicaid. If Medicaid financial eligibility is not present, the individual is not eligible for the waiver program. Eligibility for the Medicaid waiver programs is based on Section 1915 (c) of the Social Security Act, Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules and Wisconsin’s Medicaid state plan.

How old do you have to be to start receiving waiver services in Wisconsin? Age requirements vary by waiver. There are programs for both children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Is There a Waiting List For Services?

How long is the waiting list? You can expect to wait at least one year before receiving waiver services in Wisconsin.

How many people are on the waiting list in Wisconsin? There are about 4,000 people currently waiting for waiver services in Wisconsin.

How many people are currently receiving waiver services in Wisconsin? There are 22,815 people currently receiving services through the IDD Waiver. There are 30,428 people currently waiting receiving services under the Aged & Disabled Waiver. There are 335 people receiving services through the TVI/SCI waiver. There are 4,041 people receiving services through the Children's waiver.

What assistance is available while you wait? There are many resources available for those who need assistance. This listing provides links to some of the essential human services.

Is there priority preference for people who are in crisis? Yes.

What Services Are Offered & What Are The Service Limitations?

What services does the Medicaid waiver program offer in Wisconsin?
Services vary by waiver.
The Self Directed Support Waiver-DD provides services for individuals w/DD and MR ages 18 and over. Services include: adult day care, daily living skills training, live-in caregiver, prevocational, respite, supported employment, nursing, 1-2 bed adult family home, 3-4 bed adult family home, adaptive aids, CBRF, communication aids vendors/interpreter, consumer education and training, counseling and therapeutic services, customized goods and services, day services, home delivered meals, home mods, housing counseling, PERS, relocation housing start up and related utility costs, residential care apartment complex, specialized medical equipment and supplies, specialized transportation 2, specialized transportation, support broker, supportive home care, vocational and futures planning.

Does Wisconsin offer community group homes? Wisconsin offers community based homes called Adult Family Homes and Community Based Residential Facilities.

Does Wisconsin offer supported living? Yes. Wisconsin offers supports and services designed to assist persons with developmental disabilities to live in their own homes.

Are there still state owned institutions? How many people are living in institutions? Wisconsin has three large state facilities housing 450 Americans. The Division of Long Term Care, under the support of the Department of Health Services, currently operates three centers for people with intellectual disabilities in Wisconsin: Central Wisconsin Center, Northern Wisconsin Center, and Southern Wisconsin Center.

How Do You Select A Provider?

Do providers work for the state of Wisconsin? No, providers are agencies contracted by the state.

About how many waiver providers are there in the state of Wisconsin? There are over 500 waiver providers in Wisconsin.

Do you have a choice in providers? Yes, you are encouraged to interview and select your own providers.

How Do You Become A Provider?

Call (800) 947-9627 to learn more about becoming a waiver provider in Wisconsin.

Additional Information

Community Options helps people who need long term care to stay in their own homes and communities. Its purpose is to provide cost-effective alternatives to expensive care in institutions and nursing homes. Elderly people and people with serious long-term disabilities receive funds and assistance to find services they are not able to get through other programs. Community Options care managers know what services are available in the community, and learn what families and friends are able to do. A care manager will talk to you, or your family member about how to arrange the services and supports you need to avoid going to a nursing home.

Community Options serves people who need long term support, regardless of age or type of disability, who need the same levels of physical or mental health care as nursing home residents do. There are no income limits for a Community Options assessment and care plan. However, income guidelines are used to determine if Community Options will pay for part or all of the cost of services that the assessment determines are necessary. People who can afford to pay may receive help finding the services they need after an assessment is completed.

WI Providers

Wisconsin Providers


Wisconsin ARC (608) 222-8907
Serving Wisconsin
Arc-Wisconsin provides assistance to people with developmental and related disabilities and their families.