On or around January 14, 2016, The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (“DDS”) sent a letter to all individuals that are on the waiting list for the ACS Home and Community Based Waiver (“the ACS Waiver”). The letter stated that, “We are conducting follow up to determine if you are still interested in the ACS Waiver and wish for your application to remain current”. The letter further stated that, “If we do not have a response by [ten days following the date of the letter], we will consider that you are no longer wanting or needing services through this program and your application will be subject to closure”.
After having had an opportunity to review the letter, members of the AWA Board immediately contacted Melissa Stone, Director of DDS, with our concerns about the statement indicating that a failure to respond to the letter within the allowed time period might result in an individual being removed from the waiting list. Were this to happen, individuals could reapply for the ACS Waiver but, if again determined to be qualified and eligible for the ACS Waiver, they would be placed at the end of the current waiting list.
Ms. Stone quickly responded that removing people from the waiting list was not DDS’s intent. She will be sending a new letter out to everyone that was sent the original letter. The new letter makes it clear that DDS is simply trying to ensure that they have accurate and current information on those individuals on the waiting list. If DDS does not receive a response to the letter, they will make additional efforts to locate the individual. The new letter further explains that if an individual does not respond, and DDS is not otherwise able to locate them, the individual will be moved to a deferred list.
A person that is placed on the deferred list WILL NOT lose their place on the waiting list. If DDS is subsequently able to locate the person, or the person contacts DDS with current contact information, they will be placed back on the active waiting list in the same order they were previously. The only way an individual will be permanently removed from the waiting list is if they request to be removed. In order to ensure that individuals at the top of the waiting list are enrolled in the ACS Waiver as soon as an open slot becomes available, DDS must be able to contact the individual. As such, we strongly encourage everyone to promptly complete and return the form, or otherwise contact DDS.
We would like to commend Ms. Stone for her quick response to our concerns, and for committing to sending out a new letter that is significantly clearer and more informative.