HCBS Waiver Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Colorado’s waiver programs give an extra set of benefits and supports beyond those usually offered by Health First Colorado (Medicaid). These benefits and supports can help you stay in the community, rather than living in an institution or hospital. Waivers have some extra program rules and certain waivers may have waitlists.

There are a total of 10 different waiver programs in Colorado. Six of those programs are for adults with disabilities and four are for children with disabilities.

For waiver programs, you need to qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and also, separately, meet the waiver’s own additional eligibility requirements.

If you already have Health First Colorado (Medicaid) coverage, you can go ahead and apply for any waiver program. Depending on the waiver, contact your local Community Centered Board, Single Entry Point Agency (SEP), or the Member Contact Center.

If you don’t have Health First Colorado (Medicaid) coverage, you may be able to apply for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) at the same time as you apply for waiver benefits – it depends on the waiver rules. If you aren’t sure about this, contact the Member Contact Center.

Depending on your situation, you may need to apply for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) (or the Medicaid Adult Buy-In) separately, before you can apply for the waiver you need. You can apply:

Not everybody with Health First Colorado (Medicaid) qualifies for a waiver program. Waiver programs are for people who need a level of care that would usually be provided in a nursing home or other institutional setting. That’s why waivers are designed to give you the benefits and services to keep living in the community. Each waiver program has a different threshold for the level of care you must need.

Note: The Spinal Cord Injury Waiver does not mention a level of care similar to that provided in an institutional setting. However, it is meant for people with spinal cord injuries who need services and supports to keep living independently in the community.

Yes, you can apply for a waiver if you live in a nursing home or institution! Waivers are meant to help you live in a home in the community. A waiver could let you move out of your nursing home, hospital setting, or other institution into a house or apartment. Learn more about transitioning from a facility to your own home in DB101’s Long-Services and Supports Programs article.

This depends on the waiver. Every adult waiver has an income and resource limit. Each children’s waiver has its own financial eligibility requirements: some are based on the income and resources of the child, and some are based on the income and resources of the parents.

The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver and Supported Living Services (SLS) Waiver include:

  • Pre-Vocational Services, which can help you learn good work habits and skills and connect you with an employer.
  • Supported Employment Services, which help with training, job development, and getting a job.

The other waivers do not have employment support. However, many services are helpful when looking for work and once you get a job. For example, you could use non-medical transportation to go to school, a training program, career fairs, or to your place of work.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) can help you with education, training, finding a job, and building your career. You can work with DVR counselors to understand how waiver services can help build your career.

You can still qualify for most waivers if you have a job that meets the income requirements. For example, most adult waivers allow you to earn up to $2,523 per month. If you earn more than that amount, most waivers let you qualify through the Health First Colorado Buy-In Program For Working Adults With Disabilities (Medicaid Adult Buy-In).

Note: The Medicaid Adult Buy-In will not help you qualify for the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver, but it could help you qualify for other waivers like the Supported Living Services Waiver (SLS).

For more information on waiver programs, visit Colorado’s website on Long-Term Services and Support Programs and browse the pages on Home and Community-Based Services (HBCS) Waivers.

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