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Q: What is the, “waiver” and how do I sign up for it?

A: For children under 18, the waiver “waives” the requirement that you have to get services in an institution and provides them in the home and community instead; it also "waives" the family income and assets and only considers the income and assets of the eligible child. The child will probably have little to no income; but a child's assets (like savings, bonds, etc) are also considered and must be under $2000. You might hear people refer to this as Senate Bill 30; that is the provision that allows the parental income and assets to be waived. This means that a lot of children who would not otherwise be eligible for Medicaid will be able to access that in addition to waiver services once they are targeted for the waiver.

Children who already have Medicaid because they are income eligible should still apply for a waiver because it provides services above and beyond Medicaid.

There are two categories of waivers in Indiana: medically based and developmentally based. A child with Down Syndrome might be eligible for both types of waivers, depending on the child's needs. 

If your child has a medical need for skilled care in absence of the primary caregiver: a complex medical condition that might include a gtube, or uncontrolled seizures, then you probably want to call the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). You can describe the child's needs, and if appropriate, the agency will screen him/her for the Aged and Disabled waiver. To find your local AAA, call 1-800-986-3505.

With a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, your child is probably eligible for the Family Supports waiver, which is developmentally based. This waiver looks at the child's ability for learning, independent living, etc. If you would like to apply for this waiver, you can call the Bureau of Developmental Disability Services and ask for an application packet to be mailed to you. You can find your local BDDS office by calling 1-800-545-7763. There is currently a waiting list for this waiver, so you'll want to apply as soon as possible.

If you think your child needs greater support and s/he meets priority criteria, you can ask BDDS about the Community Integration and Habilitation waiver, which is more limited in access. 

Jennifer Akers

Project Director

Family Voices Indiana

www.fvindiana.org