Medicaid: Depending on the type and degree of disability, you or your child may be eligible for a variety of medical services through programs like Medicaid. For persons already receiving Medicaid, recent program changes may have caused a reduction in necessary services, or requests for new services may have been denied. Children receiving Medicaid have special status that entitles them to services beyond those available to adults.
Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver: For children and adults with developmental disabilities, Florida offers home and community-based services through a special “Medicaid Waiver” program with limited enrollment. While this program has a long waiting list, there are options for applicants in crisis.
Long-Term Care Medicaid Waiver: Adults with disabilities over age 18 and the elderly (age 65 and up) who meet a nursing home level of care receive services and supports to enable them to stay in a home or community setting. This program also has limited enrollment, but the waiting list priority is based primarily on severity of need.
Special Education: Children with disabilities that impact their involvement and progress in education may be entitled to services, modifications or accommodations to assure that they receive a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE.)
Guardian Advocacy and Alternatives: Guardian advocacy is a special type of guardianship under §393.12 of the Florida Statutes, available only for persons with developmental disabilities. For individuals 18 or older who need help with decision-making, this may be an option, but when reviewing alternatives, it is important to find the least restrictive way to meet the needs of the individual without taking away rights unnecessarily.
Civil Rights: The Americans with Disabilities Act (and the closely-related Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) is a federal law with wide application to persons with disabilities. In my practice, the ADA and Section 504 have special application to both Medicaid home and community-based services and accommodations at schools.