CT Individual and Family Support Waiver Explained

The goal of the Individual and Family Supports Waiver (IFS) is to connect people with specialized services and supports, while also providing them the choice to self-direct their care, fostering independence, and promoting community engagement.
Published on
August 25, 2023
Written by
Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
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The CT Individual Family Support Waiver is available in:

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Connecticut has established the Individual and Family Support Waiver—a pioneering Medicaid program that extends assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities aged 18 or older and those with intellectual disabilities aged three or older who meet the level of care required in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID).

Overview of Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver

Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver is a Medicaid program that aims to provide crucial support and financial assistance to caregivers who dedicate themselves to caring for individuals with developmental disabilities aged 18 and above and those with intellectual disabilities aged three and older who meet the level of care required in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID).

The waiver's goals and objectives are multi-faceted, aiming to:

  1. Enable Independence: Through various services such as assistive technology, vocational support, and environmental modifications, the program aims to foster greater independence for individuals with disabilities, empowering them to lead more autonomous lives.
  2. Enhance Well-being: By offering a diverse array of services, including behavioral support, health care coordination, and respite care, the program seeks to improve the overall well-being and quality of life for both caregivers and care recipients.
  3. Community Integration: The program emphasizes the importance of community integration for individuals with disabilities, encouraging services that facilitate active participation in their local communities.
  4. Improve Access to Services: Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver endeavors to streamline access to essential waiver services and resources, reducing barriers for eligible individuals and their caregivers.
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Eligibility Requirements for Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver

Applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria to qualify for Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver, ensuring the program benefits those who genuinely require its assistance and support. The requirements are as follows:

  1. DDS Services Eligibility: Before being considered for the waiver, individuals must be deemed eligible for services provided by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The DDS has its eligibility requirements, which applicants must meet.
  2. ICF/IID Level of Care: The person seeking services under the waiver must have an intellectual or developmental disability and require a level of care typically provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID).
  3. Desire for Community Living: The applicant must be willing to live in a community setting, promoting the program's objective of enhancing community integration and independence.
  4. Income and Asset Limits: Eligibility is subject to income and asset restrictions set by the waiver. A person's assets must be less than $1,600, and their income and entitlements must be less than three times their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment. Only the applicant's assets are considered, not those of their family members.

Spend Down Option: In cases where individuals exceed Medicaid's income and asset limits but cannot afford the cost of care, they may still qualify for the program through a "spend down" program. This involves evaluating the individual's care costs and income to determine whether they can meet their expenses. If they cannot, they can qualify for Medicaid by "spending down" their income to cover their medically-necessary care costs.

Appeals Process: If an individual is denied enrollment into the waiver or is denied specific requested services, they have the right to request a hearing from the Department of Social Services. The department provides individuals with a Notice of Fair Hearing Rights and a Hearing Request Form in case of written denial of enrollment or service.

Understanding these eligibility requirements is essential for caregivers and individuals with disabilities to determine their eligibility for the Individual and Family Support Waiver and access the much-needed support and services it offers.

Services and Supports Offered by Connecticut's Individual and Family Support Waiver

The Individual and Family Support Waiver in Connecticut offers a comprehensive range of waiver services tailored to meet the unique needs of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, as well as their caregivers. The following are the types of services available under the IFS Waiver:

  1. Licensed Residential Services: This includes Community Companion Homes (CCH), which provide a supportive living environment for individuals with disabilities within a community setting.
  2. Residential and Family Support Services: Various options are available, such as Continuous Residential Services (CRS), Shared Living, Individual Home Supports (IHS), Live-in Companion, Personal Support, Adult Companion, Respite Care, Personal Emergency and Response Systems (PERS), and Environmental and Vehicle Modifications. These services are designed to enhance care recipients' safety, independence, and overall well-being.
  3. Vocational and Day Services: The IFS Waiver offers Adult Day Health, Individual and Group Supported Employment, Group Day Supports, Prevocational Services, and Individualized Day and Senior Supports. These services focus on skill development, vocational training, and community engagement.
  4. Specialized Support Services: This category includes Health Care Coordination, Behavior Support Services, Nutritional Consultation, Specialized Equipment and Supplies, Interpreter services, Transportation assistance, Individually Directed Goods and Services, Independent Support Broker, Parenting Support, Assistive Technology, Peer Support, and Training and Counseling for Unpaid Caregivers. These services address specific needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.

The Individual and Family Support Waiver's extensive array of services underscores its commitment to improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities while recognizing and supporting the essential role of their caregivers. By providing diverse support, the program strives to foster greater independence, community integration, and overall well-being for those it serves.

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Compensation for Family Caregivers

The Connecticut Individual and Family Support Waiver recognizes the crucial role played by unpaid family caregivers and provides compensation for their services. This waiver offers a self-directed option, empowering caregivers to have more control over their caregiving responsibilities and receive payment for their dedicated efforts.

Through the self-directed option, eligible caregivers can choose to manage and direct the services provided to their family members with disabilities, including hiring and training their support staff. This approach ensures that caregivers are recognized for their valuable contributions and have the flexibility to tailor care to their loved one's specific needs, promoting a more person-centered and family-driven approach to caregiving within the Medicaid program.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>

A Note from Givers

If you are a caregiver in Connecticut, we invite you to fill out this form to determine eligibility for caregiver compensation.

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