Accessing city services for people with ID or DD

Accessing city services for people with ID or DD
A woman in a wheelchair is helped off a van using a chair lift. (file photos)

By Martha Boyer

The Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services was formed in 2010, following the merger of the Community Services Board and the Department of Human Services. Did you know that within the CSB there are services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or developmental disabilities?

For adults to receive ID/DD services from the Alexandria CSB, they must be or have:

-Residents of Alexandria,

-Diagnosis of intellectual disabilities before age 18, or

-Diagnosis of developmental disability before age 22,

-Difficulties in areas of adaptive living skills.

Martha Boyer (courtesy photo)

The Virginia code § 37.2-100 definition of “developmental disability” defines a severe, chronic disability of an individual that

(i) is attributable to a mental or physical impairment, or a combination of mental and physical impairments, other than a sole diagnosis of mental illness;

(ii) is manifested before the individual reaches 22 years of age;

(iii) is likely to continue indefinitely;

(iv) results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living or economic self-sufficiency; and

(v) reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated. (DBHDS, Navigating the DD Waiver, 2017).

ID/DD services begin with support coordination, a.k.a. case management.

Support coordinators can help individuals with applying for benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid, linking to in-home personal care services, coordinating supportive employment services and linking to supportive, group or individual living/housing services.

To obtain ID services, one must be assessed and determined eligible by the CSB Intake staff at the 720 N. St. Asaph St. location. For more information, call 703-746-3535.  To get DD services in Alexandria, the interested individual must also be eligible for the DD Medicaid Waiver. Once an individual has been found to be eligible, the individual is referred for case management services. 

Some individuals are eligible for the Virginia DD Medicaid waiver. Eligibility for this waiver is screened and conducted by an ID/DD support coordinator. The criterion include: 1) Medicaid eligibility, 2) diagnosis eligibility and 3) meeting the functional assessment criteria.  The DD Medicaid waiver can include services such as employment and day services, residential options, crisis supports, behavioral, therapeutic and medical support options. A support coordinator can help the individual navigate these available supports.

Support coordinators help individuals with an intellectual and/or developmental disability develop a person-centered plan that promotes self-direction and community inclusion. These individuals want to live and work in an integrated community and pursue their life choices and dreams. Person-centered planning begins with a team of individuals, family members and providers who care about the client and are invested in helping him or her experience a satisfying and meaningful life.

Martha Boyer is team leader of Developmental Disabilities Support Coordination in Alexandria.