Long-Term Services and Supports Programs

Help Staying in the Community

Cash benefits, health coverage, personal care attendants, adaptive transportation, and other programs and services can help you live successfully and independently in the community. This section introduces some of these and shows how they can help.

Cash Benefits

Money is a key for being able to live on your own in the community. Money pays for rent, food, and the other things you need. When you live in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, they usually take care of your budget. But when you live in the community, you need to manage your own money or get somebody who can help you manage it.

If you qualify, cash benefits are monthly payments from government programs that can help you pay for your needs. Social Security runs two of the two major cash benefits programs for people with disabilities:

Health Coverage

Health coverage is another key to living in the community. Here are a few ways you might qualify for coverage:

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

If you have Health First Colorado (Medicaid) coverage, you may also be able to get In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), which pays for personal care attendants to help with daily routines and needs. Personal care attendants can help you with things you can’t do on your own, such as help with transfers, dressing and undressing, bathing, bathroom care, cooking, cleaning, and other approved services. The help from an attendant can help you live in your home instead of a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

Long-Term Services and Supports

Colorado has 10 waiver programs for people with disabilities who could be at risk of living in an institution due to their level of care. Six are for adults and four are for children. They offer extra Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) that go beyond the regular Health First Colorado (Medicaid) benefits, including things like assistive technology, mentoring, case management, non-medical transportation, mental health counseling, supported employment services, and homemaker services.

The six adult waivers are:

Learn more about the adult waivers in DB101’s HCBS Waivers article.

The four children’s waivers are:

Learn more about the children’s waivers in DB101’s HCBS Waivers article.

Each waiver program offers a slightly different set of services and supports. Get more information in DB101’s HCBS Waivers article, including who qualifies, how to apply, and more details about the services each program includes.

Long-term services and supports for veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers additional benefits to U.S. military veterans. If you are a veteran in Colorado, you may qualify for long-term services and supports through either the VA Western Colorado Health Care System or the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, depending on where you live. These VA services may include things like transportation assistance, medical services, housing services, and more. For more information, call the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System at 1-303-399-8020 or the VA Western Colorado Healthcare System at 1-970-242-0731.

Nonprofits and Community Organizations

Nonprofits and community organizations can give you advice and support to live independently in the community. Centers for Independent Living, The Arc, The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and Brothers Redevelopment are some of the organizations that can help.

Centers for Independent Living

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) offer advice, guidance, and services to help you live independently in the community. Their services can include:

  • Independent living assistance, where staff gives you advice on what government services can help you live independently, how to apply, how to manage your personal life to stay independent, and how to connect with service providers in your area. You may also get access to free computers and internet so that you can connect to online services, websites and applications.
  • Housing assistance to help you find the right kind of housing, including accessible housing, and to apply to rent or own the home. CILs can also help you apply for affordable housing programs, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers that help you pay rent.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services, where CILs connect you with trained interpreters to help at events you attend or at work.
  • Technology services to explore what types of assistive technology can help you live independently. Many CILs have “technology labs” where you can try different products and learn how to use them. You might also be able to rent or borrow technology, depending on your local CIL.
  • Support groups and mentorship let you share your concerns and learn from other people with disabilities on how to stay as happy and healthy as possible.
  • Youth support to help children with disabilities live in the community. This can help keep families together and support youth as they prepare to live independently as adults.
  • Transition services to provide advice and guidance with moving out of an institution or long-term care facility and into the community.

Find your local Center for Independent Living.

The Arc of Colorado

The Arc of Colorado offers services, supports, and activities that help people with developmental disabilities (DD) live in the community. To get help, contact a local Arc chapter.

Arc chapters offer things like:

  • Self-advocacy training for your general life or a specific problem that comes up (such as housing or job discrimination).
  • Regular group meetings for peer support, fun activities, and more ideas for successful community living.
  • Trainings for organizations and the broader community so the public can better understand the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc of Colorado has more resources, including videos and links to other helpful organizations, in their Self-Advocacy section. They also have resources for families that have a member with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Brothers Redevelopment

Brothers Redevelopment offers affordable, safe, and accessible housing for people who have low income and have disabilities or are elderly.

Brothers operates apartments, which you can explore and apply for through their Affordable Housing section.

Brothers also can help you if you are living in your own place in the community and need modifications to your home, such as installing a ramp or roll-in shower. They have a full list of home modifications and repairs, which both make your home more accessible and help with regular home maintenance. Brothers can help with repairs can like plumbing, painting, and door repairs. Many of the modifications and repairs are completed at no cost to you or at a big discount.

Find a Brothers Redevelopment office near you.

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has several services to support health, independent living, and well-being:

  • Housing support: The Coalition manages housing properties and works with landlords in the community. Most residents also get services like counseling, life skills training, financial literacy, and help finding work. These extra services can help you have a better life in the community.
  • Healthcare: The Coalition runs five health centers that offer medical and behavioral healthcare, substance use treatment, dental, vision, and pharmacy services. The services are for adults and children who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.
  • Other services: For people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, the Coalition offers many of the types of services that CILs and the Arc offer, including things like help finding and keeping work, legal referrals and advocacy, veterans programs, and help with benefits applications.

Contact the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless or call 1-303-293-2217.

More housing programs

Learn more about programs that can help you with rent, buying a home, or paying your mortgage in DB101’s Housing article.

Learn more