TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida is the first state in the country to offer Medicaid waiver services to active military families deployed from another state where they were already receiving services. The Florida Legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed the 2014-2015 It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget which created this program.
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) provides Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver services to individuals with developmental disabilities so that they may participate in their local communities. The Medicaid waiver services are funded with state and federal tax dollars. All states provide Medicaid waiver services, however, because they are very popular programs there is a waiting list in most states including Florida.
Military families are frequently transferred and as a result their family member with a developmental disability loses Medicaid waiver services they were receiving at their previous post. This new program will prevent that from happening and will be a huge help to individuals with disabilities and their families transferring to Florida. It is receiving unanimous praise from disability stakeholders.
APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I am very excited that Florida is the first state in the country to offer this benefit to military families. Men and women in the military sacrifice many things to serve our country. Offering community services to their loved one with a developmental disability is the right thing for our state to do. This idea came from people who attended our APD Military Town Hall meeting cohosted by Governor Scott at Eglin Air Force Base earlier this year. I am very happy Governor Scott and the Legislature took the nationwide lead to enact this measure to benefit military families.”
Eglin Air Force Base Airman & Family Readiness Center Director Mark Wilke said, “We appreciate Florida’s plan, which will reduce delays for military families with members who have disabilities so they may receive the APD Medicaid waiver when relocating to Florida. It will be a tremendous help.”
Family Care Council Florida Vice-Chairperson Pauline Lipps said, “I sincerely thank Governor Scott and the Florida legislators for being the first in the country to allow Military families, who are transferred to Florida, the ability to enroll in Florida’s Medicaid waiver program. The continuity of services for individuals with developmental disabilities in military families will help them realize a smooth transition to Florida while continuing to serve our country and preserve our freedom.”
“The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (Florida ARF) says thank you to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for passing legislation that will make Florida the first state in the country to allow military families who are already receiving waiver services in another state and are transferred to Florida to enroll in Florida’s Medicaid waiver. What a fitting way to serve those who give so much to serve our great country! We hope to see similar legislation in all states within the near future,” said Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Executive Director Suzanne Sewell.
The Association of Support Coordination Agencies of Florida chairperson Janice Phillips said, “Our association fully supports Governor Scott and Legislature’s initiative to provide support to those military families who serve our country. Military families are stressed with frequent transfers. These families with members with developmental disabilities are particularly challenged. This groundbreaking legislation will help alleviate the hardship of added bureaucracy when these military families move to Florida, often leaving behind their sources of paid and natural support in other states. Florida’s willingness to facilitate assistance for service members’ loved ones with developmental disabilities is not only very commendable and deeply appreciated, but will help our economy by integrating them more rapidly into the community.”
Area 2 Family Care Council Chairperson Lou Ogburn said, “It is a good thing to allow Florida’s military families to continue on the Medicaid waiver program if they were on it in another state when transferred. The military personnel usually have no say in where they are stationed and families need the consistency that the waiver provides their loved one.”
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1‑866‑APD‑CARES (1‑866‑273‑2273).