TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas’ disability waiver waitlist has become extensively packed over the years, preventing some people from getting adequate services.
Lawmakers are now weighing solutions to get people off the list, KSNT reports.
“We just want to see how many people would that be… we’re estimating that we could at least get between 3600 and 7000,” said state Sen. Beverly Gossage, who chairs the state’s Special Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) Waiver Committee.
The committee met Monday to hear from state agency officials and people impacted by the disability waiver waitlist.
The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) partnered with the University of Kansas Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD) to conduct a study on where the waitlist stands.
According to Evan Dean, an associate professor from KUCDD, the waiting list was at 4,831 as of last December. Dean said the average wait time is now five years, and some have waited for as many as 11.
While those on the waitlist may receive some services, they do not receive enough services that cover their care needs.
KDADS Commissioner Michele Heydon said one of the potential solutions to help free up the waitlist is developing a community support waiver, which could be approved by 2026. The agency estimated that the program would require a per person cap on services at $20,000.
“A community support waiver for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities provides a limited set of supports for those that have a place to live in the community and receive a substantial unpaid support for family and friends. A community support waiver could serve both youth and adults,” Heydon said.
The community support waiver program would be tailored to meet the needs of individuals that have fewer support needs. According to KDADS, because it would have a limited menu of services, it would cost less per person to operate.
Fully implementing the program could range from $72 million to $149 million. The cost would be split with 60% from federal funds and 40% from the state.
The number of potential participants ranges from 3,600 to 7,461, which could change upon completion of the KUCDD study.
“This is an issue that we talk about every year, so I think it’s good to have an interim, where we can come forward with some recommendations,” said state Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City.