My name is Merlande Altesse and I have a son diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. When I found out his diagnosis, it was very difficult to figure out what to do next. I thought to myself, “How will he survive? Will he ever be independent? Will he get married and have children – is that a possibility?” When you are a determined parent and begin the journey of finding the early intervention needed for your child to thrive – NOTHING will get in the way. I struggled paying out of pocket because I was told that my income was high and my own insurance would not cover the expenses because the diagnosis (Autism Spectrum Disorder) was not recognized by the Federal Government. After multiple late night web searches, phone calls to representatives and multiple visits to disability offices – my son was eligible for Medicaid through the Med Waiver Program.
Hopefully, these steps will help another family receive the help that their child needs.
- Every document related to your child’s condition should be kept in a folder for easy access. This includes IEP school documents and progress reports from teachers. This will alleviate the stress of trying to find specific documents in relation to your child’s diagnosis.
- Once you’ve applied for the Med Waiver, don’t be afraid to do follow up calls, leave messages and keep a notebook to timestamp what you’re doing. A lot of times, these agents deal with multiple cases and you can get lost in the shuffle. Call often and you will stand out.
- In my case, I went around the Medicaid process and applied for the Med Waiver. The Med Waiver automatically gives you access to Medicaid. I applied for the Med Waiver because the waiver will help my son with other facets (An example would be life skills and living on his own).
- When you’ve gathered all information to begin this process, you will find your local Agency for Persons with Disability Office. If any of you reading this lives in the West Palm Beach area, your area would be the South East Region area. The contact information would be:
111 South Sapodilla Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: 1 (844) 766-7520, (561) 837-5564
Fax: (561) 837-5598
It has a couple of years since I’ve applied and I noticed that the Agency for Persons with Disabilities website have posted new guidelines for enrolment into the Med Waiver Program – including open enrolment periods (Which only happens twice a year). I had to fight to get my son the help but it was worth it! I hope that this information will help other families…… Talk to you guys soon!