AL Community Waiver Program

Published on
August 16, 2023
Last updated
February 29, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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Learn about the Community Waiver Program in Alabama, a Medicaid program that offers home and community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities and their family caregivers.
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The Community Waiver Program in Alabama is a Medicaid program that offers home and community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities. We will also discuss how this program can benefit family caregivers who provide unpaid care to their loved ones.

Overview of the Community Waiver Program

Breaking ground in 2020, the Alabama Department of Mental Health unveiled a transformative initiative called the Community Waiver Program (CWP). In a departure from conventional approaches, the CWP takes proactive strides to engage with individuals bearing intellectual disabilities, steering them away from the precipice of crisis and guiding them toward a life steeped in community vitality.

The program embraces five distinct enrollment groups, sculpting services with precision to meet their unique needs.

  1. Group 1: Children aged 3-13 with intellectual disabilities living with family or natural support.
  2. Group 2: Transition-age youth (14-21) with intellectual disabilities, living with family/natural support or independently (18-21).
  3. Group 3: Adults (22+) with intellectual disabilities, living with family/natural support or independently.
  4. Group 4: Individuals (3+) with intellectual disabilities unable to rely on family/natural support or live independently.
  5. Group 5: Adults (22+) with intellectual disabilities needing community-based services for community living/work, not meeting Group 3 care level.

The CWP is currently available in 11 counties in Alabama: Baldwin, Elmore, Houston, Jefferson, Limestone, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Morgan, Tuscaloosa, and Walker.


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Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the CWP, an individual must meet the following criteria1:

  • Have a diagnosis of intellectual disability or a related condition.
  • Meet the criteria required for an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Be a resident of Alabama and a U.S. citizen or qualified alien.
  • Be enrolled in one of the five groups based on age and living situation.
  • Have income and resources below the Medicaid limits.
  • Choose to receive HCBS as an alternative to institutional care.
  • Have an individualized service plan that can be met within the CWP service limits.

Services and supports

The CWP offers various services and supports to help individuals with intellectual disabilities live independently in their homes and communities. Some of the services and supports include:

  • Case management
  • Personal care
  • Respite care
  • Supported employment
  • Supported living
  • Day habilitation
  • Behavioral support
  • Environmental accessibility adaptations
  • Specialized medical equipment and supplies
  • Transportation

The CWP also allows individuals to self-direct some of their services, which means they can choose their providers and manage their budgets. Self-direction gives individuals more control and flexibility over their services and supports.


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Compensation for caregivers

One of the benefits of self-direction is that individuals can hire their family members as paid caregivers meaning that if you are a family caregiver who provides unpaid care to a loved one with an intellectual disability, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your caregiving work under the CWP. To do so, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete the required training
  • Not be the spouse or legal guardian of the individual receiving services
  • Not be paid by another source for providing the same service

If you meet these requirements, you can apply to become a paid caregiver under the CWP by contacting your loved one's case manager. The case manager will help you complete the necessary paperwork and enroll you as a provider. You will then be able to receive payment for providing personal care, respite care, supported employment, or supported living services to your loved one.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>

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