HCBS Waiver Programs

The Basics

A Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver is an extra set of Health First Colorado (Medicaid) benefits that you could get based on your disability and living situation. These benefits are meant to help you live in the community, either in your home or a supported living environment.

Colorado has six waiver programs for adults and four waiver programs for children. Each program has its own eligibility rules around types of disabilities, personal needs, housing, and financial situation. They also have different ways to apply and some waiver programs have waiting lists. Some people may qualify for more than one waiver program and can choose the best waiver for their life situation.

The six waiver programs for adults are:

  • The Brain Injury Waiver (BI), which supports people 16 years or older who have had a brain injury since before they turned 65 and who need a level of care normally provided in a nursing home or hospital.
  • The Community Mental Health Supports Waiver (CMHS), which is for qualifying adults who have severe and persistent mental health needs that require a level of care normally provided in a nursing facility.
  • The Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD), which is for adults with developmental disabilities that require a level of care normally provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID).
  • The Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD), which is for seniors and people with disabilities who require a level of care normally provided in a nursing facility.
  • The Spinal Cord Injury Waiver (SCI), which is for adults with spinal cord injuries who meet certain criteria and live in specific counties in the Denver Metro Area.
  • The Supported Living Services Waiver (SLS), which is for people with developmental disabilities who need a level of care normally provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID) and do not need 24-hour supervision.

The four waiver programs for children are:

  • The Children with Life Limiting Illness Waiver (CLLI), which is for children with disabilities who are 18 years old or younger and at risk of needing to live in a hospital setting.
  • The Children’s Extensive Support Waiver (CES), which is for children 17 years old or younger with developmental disabilities who need a level of care normally provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID).
  • The Children’s Habilitation Residential Program Waiver (CHRP), which is for children 20 years old or younger with developmental disabilities who need a level of care normally provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IID).
  • The Children’s Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (CHCBS), which is for children with disabilities who need a level of care normally provided in a skilled nursing facility or an acute care hospital.

If you qualify for a waiver, you get benefits and services that help with health and independence. Benefits can include medical and professional services, adaptive equipment and technology, recreational and daytime programs, help with independence and training, personal care, behavioral supports, supported employment, and more. Each waiver program offers a different set of services, so it’s a good idea to check which waiver works best for you. Learn more about waiver benefits and services.

Waivers are meant to help you live in the community. As such, they can help you if you:

  • Live in a long-term care facility and want to move into your home
  • Are recently disabled and are leaving the hospital or rehabilitation center
  • Live at home and need more services to stay in the community.

Different waivers have different application processes. You can learn how to apply for each waiver by visiting the sections on Waivers for Adults and Waivers for Children.

Learn more