IL Intellectual Disabilities Waiver

Published on
August 17, 2023
Last updated
February 29, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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The Intellectual Disabilities Waiver (IDW) is a Medicaid program that provides home and community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities or related conditions at risk of institutionalization.
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Are you a family caregiver for a person with intellectual disabilities in Illinois? Do you want to know how much you can get paid for your caregiving work? If so, this blog post is for you. We will explain what the Intellectual Disabilities Waiver is, how it works, and how it can benefit you and your loved one.

Overview of Intellectual Disabilities Waiver

The Intellectual Disabilities Waiver (IDW) is a Medicaid program that provides home and community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities or related conditions at risk of institutionalization. The IDW allows eligible individuals to receive services in their own homes or other settings of their choice rather than in nursing facilities or intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).

The IDW aims to promote the independence, dignity, and quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. It also helps reduce the cost of long-term care by providing alternatives to institutional care.

The IDW serves about 22,000 people in Illinois as of 2020. The IDW is one of the state's largest and oldest Medicaid waivers.


Can you get paid to care for your loved one?

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Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the IDW, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a resident of Illinois and a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • You must be diagnosed with an intellectual disability or a related condition, such as autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or Down syndrome.
  • You must have an IQ of 70 or below or a significantly impaired adaptive functioning consistent with an IQ of 70 or below.
  • You must require a level of care equivalent to that provided in an ICF/IID.
  • You must meet the income and asset limits for Medicaid eligibility. As of 2021, the income limit is $2,382 per month, and the asset limit is $2,000 for an individual. (*We recommend contacting the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) for the most reliable and current information about Medicaid eligibility in Illinois.)
  • You must choose to receive services in your own home or community instead of an institution.

Services and supports

The IDW offers a variety of services and supports to help you and your loved one live independently and comfortably in your own home or community. Some of the services and supports available under the IDW are:

  • Case management: A case manager will help you plan, coordinate, and monitor your needed services and support.
  • Residential services: These include group homes, supported living arrangements, host family homes, and shared living arrangements. These services provide housing and personal care for people who need 24-hour supervision and assistance.
  • Day services: These include adult day care, developmental training, supported employment, and prevocational services. These services provide socialization, education, skill development, and employment opportunities for people who need daytime activities and support.
  • Personal support: This includes personal assistants, homemaker services, respite care, and intermittent skilled nursing. These services assist with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management.
  • Behavioral support: This includes behavior intervention and treatment, counseling, crisis intervention, and psychotropic medication monitoring. These services help people with behavioral challenges affecting their safety and well-being.
  • Adaptive equipment: This includes devices and supplies that help people with physical or sensory impairments perform daily living activities more easily and safely.
  • Home modification: This includes changes or additions to your home that make it more accessible and comfortable for you and your loved one.

Who are you caring for?

Compensation for caregivers

One of the benefits of the IDW is that it allows you to hire your family member as a personal assistant or a homemaker. This means you can get paid to be a caregiver for your loved one with intellectual disabilities.

To do this, you must enroll in the self-direction option under the IDW. Self-direction gives you more control over the type, amount, frequency, and provider of personal support services you receive. You can choose who will provide these services to you or your loved one, including yourself or another family member.

To become a paid caregiver under the self-direction option, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must pass a criminal background check.
  • You must complete a training program on how to provide personal support services.
  • You must not be the legal guardian or spouse of the person receiving services.

The amount of compensation you can receive as a caregiver depends on several factors, such as the number of hours you work, the type of service you provide, and the wage rate set by the state. As of 2021, the average hourly wage rate for personal assistants and homemakers under the IDW is $13.48.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>

A note from Givers

If you are interested in finding out if you or your loved one are eligible for this program, please fill out this form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We are here to help you get the compensation and support you deserve as a family caregiver.

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