Medwaiver Services in Florida

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photo of the disability parking sign

This week post is really geared to those in Florida and if you plan on moving your loved one to Florida. If you are a parent reading this, you have a child with a developmental disability, and you have not applied for Medwaiver, this is for you. Yes, the waitlist is a mile long. Remember the #haveaplan I have talked about in previous posts? This is part of the plan. Don’t leave this piece for siblings and other family members to figure out!! And once you are on the waitlist, you have access to Medicaid regardless of your income. It is based on their disability. So, repeat after me- I will get this done. Also, the state has no clue what the need is if this application is not done.

The application is not that bad. I have attached it here. It’s difficult to find on the Agency for Persons with Disability (APD) Website. It is not user friendly.

Items you will need

  • Item number 4 – you most likely want community based services. My brother is in an Immediate Care Facility (ICF) and doing well but not for everyone. You have to go through this process first before placement in an ICF.
  • you will need your child or person with the disability birth certificate. If under 16, their school id. If over 16, make an appointment at the DMV and a get a government issued ID.
  • if you are coming from out of state and the individual is over 18- you need proof of residency. What I did was become rep payee (meaning I control his social security funds) and open a bank account for him with my address. Then any correspondence with social security came here so I had a bank statement and other mail proving the address for his id at the DMV.
  • if over 18 and has a legal guardian, you will need that paperwork. If their is not a legal guardian, you can still assist with the application but the individual has to sign the document
  • if the individual has a passport, make a copy of that as well
  • if they are still in school, you will need a copy of their IEP. If they are not still in school, hopefully their is an old IEP laying around.
  • You will need proof of diagnosis- this is dependent on the disability. For intellectual disability, a psychiatrist or psychologist is needed and the IQ has to be less than 70. I know people don’t want to see a diagnosis with that on it but it is a way to get services so please take a deep breath. You will need a doctor report with the diagnosis on it.
  • In some sections it will say you need one of the following- send it everything you have. Things get lost. Give as much information as possible. (Tip given to me by APD)
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Few tips

I had to go on a mad search to try to fine proof of my brothers diagnosis. It was months of trying to get people to give me information. The state of NY had lost any admission criteria and he went to school prior to IEPs being a thing. Parents- keep all records, please. My last effort was calling the lawyers office where is initial guardianship was filed and there were reports in it from an MD and psychologist. Thank you record keepers. Parents- do not do this to your neurotypical children.

The other tip I received was that sometimes ICFs can help bypass the waitlist. So if I move my brother tomorrow, he will bypass the waitlist because he is in an ICF and deemed eligible for services. This qualifies him for immediate need. They have a bad rep but he is doing so well so just do your homework. I personally did not have a choice because when I moved him, APD had closed all admissions to Waiver group homes due to COVID.

If you are moving an adult from out of state- plan on being the caregiver or hiring privately until placement happens. We were told 2 weeks and then COVID shut everything down. Still did this in 5 weeks and was not pretty. We hired a caregiver to help us out. (Shout out to Sara at Squared Life. Here is her website There are no direct admissions! The one quote I received for a group home that was private pay was $650 per day. I felt bad but I laughed at the lady.


If you read the application closely, in section number 1 they are asking if you qualify for crisis. We technically did but that would be another 30 days and no group homes were accepting admissions. If you are a caregiver to a elderly family member, your own health issues, and/or another sibling has a disability, over the age of 70, if caregiving prevents employment, and/or the person applying for services was at risk of being homeless, you can qualify for crisis. There are behavioral crisis as well. I know professionals, teachers, BCBAs, and others that have written letters on behalf of the individual explaining the need. Medical bills are getting too high because of high copays- put that in there. Send in as much information as you have.

I managed to get all of this accomplished while running a business. There were (and still are) days that were extremely difficult. Please share this with anyone who will need it. I have been one by one helping personal clients get this done.

This is a lot of information. Please send me an email with any questions.

4 thoughts on “Medwaiver Services in Florida”

  1. Any advise for someone who doesn’t have a caretaker in Florida? I have a intellectually disabled SIL who lives with a roommate who my MIL brought in, who hasn’t been diagnosed since he’s over 60 but is intellectually disabled/perhaps autistic. His remaining family won’t speak to him and he was recently unemployed. My MIL passed two years ago, and we need to make plans for my SIL (possibly moving her to another state we live in), what resources are available for him in FL? Would he qualify for crisis? He’s not cooperative when we tried to get him diagnosed, and he’s got a bad temper? Can an organization step in?I haven’t had much success in reaching the state agencies.

    1. Thanks for your patience. I wanted to think about this for a minute. You will need proof of a diagnosis. If he has ID, you just need documentation of that. With death of a parent, most likely qualify for the waiver. The ARC maybe able to help you. You can fill out the application on his behalf and you will need the sibling to sign if there is not a guardian appointed. If you feel that he is unsafe or a danger to himself or others due to a bad temper, I would call Adult Protective Services and file a report. Feel free to reach out anytime. Please share your story so other families do not go through this.

      1. Thanks for the advice. I think I did contact ARC but didn’t get much information, will try again. I will be sharing my story far and wide, parents shouldn’t leave this for siblings/other people to figure out.

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