How to Access DDS Services

Once I am eligible for the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), how do I access services?
When you first become eligible for DDS services, the region in which you live will be notified so that a case manager can begin working with you and your family.  If you are on Medicaid, you will be assigned a case manager.  If you are not on Medicaid, you will be assigned to the DDS Help Line to receive assistance with accessing services.  The DDS Help Line staff will assist with DDS Family Support Services including family grants and respite.  In addition, DDS Help Line can help with medical appointments, transition education and referrals to appropriate community resources.  
Once you have a case manager, you can begin to plan for services.  Your case manager will meet with you to assess your level of need and listen to what you need to support your life in the community and develop a plan.
There is no entitlement or guarantee for services provided by the department.
If you need in- or out-of-home residential support, your case manager will help you complete a priority checklist for residential services.  This information is reviewed by the region’s Planning Resource and Allocation Team (PRAT) and they will inform you of your priority status.  Based on the department’s assessment of your urgency for services, you will be placed on either the Waiting List or the Planning List.  The Waiting List is for people who have an emergency situation or need residential support within one year.  The Planning List is maintained for people who will need in or out-of-home residential support within two or more years.
If you need assistance finding employment, being trained for a job or some other day program, you will be put on a list for this type of service.  If you are in high school, your case manager will begin discussing employment or day supports with you at age 16 and will start the planning process so that you will be considered for funding the year you graduate from high school.  If you have already graduated and now want day support from the department, you will be placed on a day service waiting list.
Once I am notified that the department has funding for the services I’ve requested, what happens?
The PRAT will inform your case manager that you are being given funds for either residential or day supports based upon your level of need.  You and your case manager will refine your individual plan and will develop an individual budget, which will need to be approved by the region.  You will also be required to apply for Medicaid and to enroll in one of the department’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers.
How do I find appropriate services and supports to meet my needs?
Funding for supports and services is now provided directly to individuals and their families so that you are in charge of deciding how best to meet your needs.  You have the option to hire staff directly or to use the services of a provider agency, also known as a vendor agency.  DDS has set qualifications that all providers must meet.  These include education, training and experience requirements for direct support, clinical and professional staff.  If you are interested in working with a provider agency, your case manager will give you a list of qualified providers in your area who can offer the services you have identified in your plan.  If you want to hire staff directly, you will work with a support broker.  You have the right to select an independent support broker or a DDS broker who is a specially trained case manager who has a smaller caseload.  A support broker works with you to blend your natural supports with paid supports to implement your plan.  They help you develop your budget, locate and train staff and coordinate your services and supports.
What do I do if I am dissatisfied with my service provider?
You have control over the funding allocated to you by DDS through your individual budget.  You can secure services from a different provider for any reason including but not limited to, dissatisfaction with your supports or the need to move to a new area.  You can also decide to use your funding to hire staff directly.  If you have a need to change providers, please contact your case manager who will guide you through the process.
Why am I required to apply for Medicaid?
The majority of services offered by DDS are part of the department’s Home and Community Based Services Waiver (HCBS).  These waivers are offered by the federal government through the Medicaid program.  The state receives reimbursement from the federal government for half of the service cost.  This reimbursement allows Connecticut to serve more people who need services through DDS.  A state law requires individuals to enroll in any federal program that covers supports and services provided by DDS.  Your case manager can help you apply through the Department of Social Services.