The Florida Legislature has supported Governor Rick Scott’s recommendation and approved $1.2 billion in funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) for the 2015-16 state fiscal year. The budget includes $40 million to offer Medicaid waiver enrollment to more than 2,000 people who are on the APD waiting list. Additionally, the budget contains $1 million for employment programs for people with developmental disabilities. With all this positive news, there is one program that saw a dramatic reduction in funding for the upcoming year.
The Adults with Disabilities (AWD) program within the Department of Education Division of Vocational Rehabilitation was appropriated $750,000 for next year by the Legislature, down from the annual amount of $10 million that was included in the Governor’s recommended budget. With this cut in funding, the program may no longer be able to provide services to many adults who have a variety of disabilities. Some of the people who received services through the AWD program have developmental disabilities and may be eligible to receive services from APD. Those individuals who are currently served under the APD iBudget Florida Medicaid waiver will continue to receive allowable services under the waiver program.
APD is committed to assisting individuals who are eligible for APD services and who may be affected by the reduction to the AWD program. People eligible for APD services must have one of the following developmental disabilities as defined in Chapter 393, Florida Statutes:
- Intellectual Disability
- Down Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spina Bifida
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
For more information regarding the eligibility criteria and the services that are available from APD, please visit http://apdcares.org/customers/application/ Individuals affected by this situation may contact the Regional APD office for a review of allowable services that may be available. Attached is a map of the APD Regional Offices and the contact information for the Regional Operations Manager.
The Regional Office will need the following information in order to assess whether assistance can be provided to the individual:
- If the individual is not the person calling the region, the region will need a signed release by the individual/legal representative to discuss the individual’s situation
- Name of person who was receiving services from the AWD program, name of the program from which the person was receiving services, the specific service the person was receiving from the AWD funding and the amount of service being provided, and
- Information on whether the person is already a client of APD or if the person needs to apply for eligibility determination for APD.
The APD Resource Directory at http://apdcares.org/resourcedirectory is a great resource to identify local community organizations that provide services to individuals with a variety of needs and can be another option to address this loss of funding.