Aged and Disabled Waiver

Published on
July 11, 2023
Last updated
April 24, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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Learn about the Aged & Disabled Waiver, its services, eligibility, and impact on the elderly and disabled population in accessing home and community-based care.
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The Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver is an essential program in healthcare that provides support and services to elderly individuals and adults with disabilities. This waiver program aims to enhance access to long-term care, promote independent living, and improve the overall well-being of eligible individuals. 

This blog post will delve into the purpose and specifics of the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver, shedding light on its significance in improving healthcare outcomes for those who qualify.

Overview of Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver 

The Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver is a program that falls under the Medicaid system and provides crucial support and services to eligible elderly individuals and adults with disabilities. The primary purpose of the A&D Waiver is to assist individuals in maintaining their independence, living in the community, and avoiding institutional care settings whenever possible.

The Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver encompasses several goals and objectives, including:

  • Community-Based Care: The waiver aims to provide care and services in a community-based setting, enabling eligible individuals to receive support and assistance while remaining in their homes or community settings.
  • Independence and Autonomy: The A&D Waiver strives to promote individual independence and autonomy by offering a range of support tailored to the specific needs of each participant. This includes assistance with activities of daily living, access to home modifications, and necessary adaptive equipment.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: The waiver seeks to improve eligible individuals' overall quality of life by ensuring access to necessary healthcare services, social engagement opportunities, and support systems. This can include access to medical care, transportation assistance, and opportunities for community integration.
  • Care Coordination: The A&D Waiver emphasizes effective care coordination among healthcare providers, caregivers, and support agencies. This coordination helps ensure that participants receive comprehensive and integrated care, focusing on person-centered planning and ongoing assessment of needs.
  • Delay or Avoidance of Institutional Care: The A&D Waiver aims to delay or avoid institutional care whenever possible by providing community-based support. The program recognizes that individuals can thrive in a community setting with the appropriate services and support, maintaining their dignity and overall well-being.

Other names for the Aged & Disabled Waiver

The Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver may be known by different names depending on the state or program. Some alternative names for the Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver include:

  1. Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver
  2. Elderly and Disabled Waiver
  3. Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) Waiver
  4. Community Choices Waiver
  5. Waiver for Persons with Disabilities
  6. Long-Term Care Waiver
  7. Aging Waiver
  8. Community Living Waiver
  9. Independence Waiver

The specific name and terminology may vary from state to state or program to program. However, the underlying purpose and goal of providing Medicaid-funded services and support to aged and disabled individuals in their homes and communities remain consistent.


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Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements for the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver vary by state, as the program is administered at the state level under the Medicaid system. While specific criteria may differ, here is a general overview of factors commonly considered when determining eligibility:

  • Age Requirement: The waiver generally targets individuals who are elderly, typically defined as being 65 years or older. Some states may have a lower age threshold.
  • Disability Criteria: Eligibility may require individuals to have a physical or cognitive disability that meets the criteria outlined by the state. This can include limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
  • Functional Assessment: Some states may conduct functional assessments to determine an individual's level of disability and care needs. This assessment evaluates an individual's ability to independently perform specific tasks and activities.
  • Income Limits: The A&D Waiver often has income limits or financial eligibility requirements that individuals must meet. These limits may be based on a percentage of the federal poverty level and can vary by state and household size.
  • Asset Limits: Some states may have asset limits or requirements that individuals must meet to qualify for the waiver. This includes considering the value of property, savings, and investments.

Application Process and Determining Eligibility

The application process for the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver typically involves several steps and may vary by state. Here is a general outline of the application process:

  • Contact the Medicaid Office: Contact your local Medicaid office or the designated agency responsible for administering the A&D Waiver in your state. They can provide guidance and information regarding the application process.
  • Request an Application: Obtain the A&D Waiver application form from the Medicaid office or agency. You may request it online, by mail, or in person.
  • Gather Documentation: Collect the necessary documentation to support your application. This may include proof of age, disability, income, assets, and residency. Refer to the specific requirements outlined in the application form or provided by the Medicaid office.
  • Complete the Application: Fill out the A&D Waiver application form thoroughly and accurately. Ensure all required fields are completed, and provide detailed information about your needs and circumstances.
  • Submit the Application: Submit the completed application form and any required documentation to the Medicaid office or designated agency. Follow the instructions to determine the preferred submission method, such as in-person, by mail, or online.
  • Application Review: The Medicaid office or agency will review your application, verifying the information provided and assessing your eligibility based on the established criteria. They may contact you for additional information or clarification if needed.
  • Eligibility Determination: Once your application is reviewed, the Medicaid office or agency will determine your eligibility for the A&D Waiver. This process may take some time, and you may need patience during the evaluation.
  • Notification of Decision: You will receive a written statement regarding the outcome of your A&D Waiver application. This notification will inform you if you have been approved for the program, denied eligibility, or if additional steps are required.

Follow the instructions the Medicaid office or agency provides throughout the application process. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to contact the appropriate office for clarification and support.

States where the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver is available

The availability of the Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver varies by state, as each has its own Medicaid program and waiver options. Similar waiver programs for the aged and disabled population exist in all 50 states though the specific name may differ.

If you're seeking information about the Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver or similar programs, contact your state's Medicaid agency for detailed and up-to-date information.

Services and supports 

Under the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver, a wide range of services and supports are available to eligible individuals. These services aim to promote independence, enhance the quality of life, and enable individuals to remain in their homes or community-based settings. Here is an overview of the services and supports commonly provided under the A&D Waiver:

  • Personal Care Services: Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting.
  • Homemaker Services: Help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and errands.
  • Home Health Care: Skilled nursing, medication management, wound care, and other medical services provided in the home.
  • Respite Care: Temporary relief for caregivers, offering them a break from their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Adult Day Services: Structured programs and activities provided in a community-based setting.
  • Assistive Technologies: Access to devices and equipment that promote independence and improve functionality, such as mobility aids or communication devices.
  • Home Modifications: Adaptations to the home environment, such as ramps, grab bars, or bathroom modifications, to enhance accessibility and safety.
  • Care Coordination: Assistance in coordinating and managing healthcare services, including developing care plans and accessing appropriate resources.
  • Transportation Services: Assistance with transportation to medical appointments, community activities, and essential errands.
  • Case Management: Support navigating the healthcare system, linking individuals to appropriate services, and coordinating care.
  • Behavioral Health Services: Counseling, therapy, and mental health support.
  • Nutrition Services: Access to nutritional counseling, meal planning, and home-delivered meals.

Depending on individual needs and state-specific program offerings, specialized healthcare services may also be available under the A&D Waiver. These may include specialized therapies (such as physical or occupational therapy), skilled nursing services, medical equipment, or other healthcare support.

The A&D Waiver prioritizes home and community-based services (HCBS) over institutional care, recognizing the benefits of providing care in the least restrictive environment. By offering a comprehensive range of services and support, the A&D Waiver aims to enhance individuals' independence, support their health and well-being, and enable them to age or live with disabilities in their preferred settings.


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Compensation for caregivers

Caregivers may be eligible for compensation under the Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver program, although the specifics vary by state. To qualify, the care recipient must be enrolled in the program and meet specific care needs criteria. Caregivers must have a family or close personal relationship with the individual. The process involves:

  • Contacting the state's Medicaid or waiver program agency.
  • Completing the necessary documentation.
  • Potentially reporting caregiving hours for reimbursement.

Some states may require caregiver training or certification. 

Limitations and challenges 

The Aged & Disabled Medicaid waiver program faces several limitations and challenges. Funding constraints can result in limited resources and services, leading to waiting lists or gaps in coverage. The demand for waiver services often exceeds the available funding, causing delays in accessing necessary support. Additionally, variations in eligibility criteria and benefits across states can create disparities in the availability and quality of care. These limitations and challenges highlight the need for ongoing efforts to address funding issues, reduce wait times, and ensure equitable access to comprehensive services.

A note from Givers

The A&D Waiver and other Medicaid waiver programs acknowledge caregivers' essential contributions by providing services, resources, and potential compensation. Fill out our survey to determine your eligibility for caregiver compensation and access the support you deserve.

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