Welcome to The Journey
A news magazine created to connect, inform & inspire
Issue: May 2022, Voices of IDD
Carol Pearson

The process of creating a shared living solution for your adult Loved One is challenging; it’s basically a jigsaw puzzle with a thousand tiny parts -- and no box top to show you the “big picture."

Piece by piece, we help families through the journey. One important step is to apply for Medicaid Waiver services from the state. Medicaid waivers pay for needed care and services. Qualifying for these waivers is a big part of supporting your Loved One and the resilient housing solution you hope to create.

A mom's experience with the Medicaid assessment

We recently talked with Sheree Maxwell, mom to Conor, who graciously shared her experience with their recent state assessment. Although she said it was stressful, even exhausting, she felt it went well overall … thanks in large part to being prepared in advance.

“Conor was happy because, thanks to Pam [Blanton], I learned that he didn’t have to be present for all of the meeting,” said Sheree.

This often comes as a welcome surprise to families, who usually assume their Loved One must be there during the entire assessment.

“I’ve never been able to really do this before with Conor there,” she noted, and feels having this one-on-one time with the case manager helped her paint a truer picture of her son’s challenges.

Sheree thinks this may have opened up some new avenues for services that will help Conor thrive in a more independent living situation.

“I’m hopeful! And... I will have an opportunity to review the final assessment and discuss with his case manager anything I don’t agree with,” Sheree said. “The Case Manager really likes Conor and I believe she has his best interests at heart.”

Great advice for your Loved One's assessment

When asked what other advice Sheree would give families preparing for their Loved One’s state assessment, she had two great suggestions.

“First, get a copy of the document ahead of time to help prepare your answers and make sure to have examples to offer,” she said. While she admits she may have been over-prepared (which added a bit to her stress level), it was helpful to know ahead of time what specific information she should bring to the discussion.

Secondly, she understands that it’s natural for parents or guardians to want to present their Loved One in their best light during an assessment but explains that it’s important to paint a realistic picture.

“This is not the time to brag about accomplishments,” she noted, and urges families to be truthful about their Loved One’s needs. Ultimately this is the best way to help maximize potential Medicaid benefits to make an independent living solution a reality.

We are so grateful to Sheree for sharing this look into Conor’s assessment. While everyone’s situation is unique, we hope this will help your family feel a bit more confident going forward.

One final note: Every state has its own eligibility requirements for obtaining Medicaid waivers. We recommend looking to your local Arc or other advocacy groups to connect with someone who can help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

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