Ages 40+: Services


At this point in your journey through the service system, the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is your son or daughter’s main vehicle for reaching most destinations. This is where case management and a range of services are contracted or provided directly by the state.

One thing that’s important to know is that adults over age 40 living with a family caregiver who becomes unable to continue providing care are typically considered a higher priority for services from the Developmental Disabilities Administration DDA. As your son or daughter’s situation and needs change, be sure to contact his or her DDA case manager for a re-assessment to see if he or she has moved into a higher priority category.

DDA administers an assessment to all new clients as well as current clients who are not receiving a paid DD service. The DD Assessment gives a snapshot of your son’s or daughter’s needs and determines his or her level or priority for services.

Depending on the results of this assessment, your son or daughter may be referred to a more comprehensive evaluation, bringing them one step closer to receiving the services they need.

At the very least, the majority of adults who apply for DDA services will be referred to something called a CARE assessment, which determines eligibility for Personal Care Services. If your son or daughter is eligible for Medicaid services, they may be entitled to receive personal care hours determined by the assessment.

Personal Care

Through Community First Choice (a Medicaid state plan), personal care provides assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, meal preparation and housework. Personal care is generally provided in your own home by individual or agency providers who are contracted with the state. As a parent, you can also become a personal care provider for your adult child.

Keep in mind that if your son or daughter’s situation and needs change, be sure to contact their DDA case manager for a re-assessment to see if they have moved into a higher priority category.

As you’ve likely discovered, very few services are offered as an entitlement. The majority of DDA programs are based on funding appropriated by our state legislature. As a result, thousands of people have been waiting years for DD services, such as employment or day programs, family support, or supported living services provided outside the family home.

DDA Home and Community Based Services Waivers

Essentially, there are several streets, checkpoints and detours through the adult service system. The best ticket to have is the one that gets your son or daughter on a Medicaid home and community-based services waiver. These are service packages that provide a range of in-home and out-of-home habilitation supports in your own community rather than a state institution. Access to these waivers, however, is limited based on available funding. Most people find themselves placed on waiting lists and/or limited services such as in-home personal care.

DDA has five waivers: Individual & Family Services, Basic Plus, CORE, Children’s Intensive In-home Behavior Support, and community protection. Individuals living with their parents are most likely placed on either the IFS or basic plus waiver. Some individuals with intensive support needs may be placed on the CORE waiver and receive services within your family home, although most CORE waiver enrollees live outside the family home in a supported living setting.

If your son or daughter is not currently on a waiver, ask to have him or her added to the “waiver enrollment database”, which is the official waiting list for waivers. If he or she is already receiving services through a waiver, be sure all service needs are included in the individual support plan. Do not approve a plan that does not fully address your son or daughter’s needs.

Other out-of-home services include adult family homes and state-run residential habilitation centers. Adult family homes provide basic Medicaid personal services, plus room and board, but no habilitation or support to access the community. Residential habilitation centers are state-operated institutions founded before community alternatives were developed.

If your son or daughter is living with you, one of your biggest concerns is probably finding something for them to do during the day. Perhaps they have physical care needs, require supervision or simply need help finding a job. There are two ways to get support if this is the case. Talk to your DDA case manager to find out what’s available.


Apple Health/Medicaid
Health care for individuals at or below 138% of the poverty level (formerly known as Medicaid). 1-800-562-3022

WA Healthplanfinder
Find, compare and enroll in health insurance.

WA Prescription Drug Discount Card
Free to anyone who lacks prescription drug coverage. 1-800-913-4146

Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities (DECOD)
A special program of the School of Dentistry that treats persons with severe disabilities.


Apply for HUD federal housing assistance. Contact your local Housing Authority to find out how long the waiting list is. (visit locator)


For financial assistance, contact the social security administration about disability benefits. Eligibility for supplemental security income, known as SSI, is the gateway to additional services, such as Medicaid. For more information and to apply for disability benefits, call toll-free 1-800-772-1213.

After becoming eligible for SSI, contact your local community services office in the blue pages of your phone book for information about applying for Medicaid and other services with the Department of Social and Health Services, known as DSHS. It is listed in the blue pages of the phone book under the state government section.


Basic Food
Monthly benefits to help low-income individuals and families buy food. 1-877-501-2233

Washington Assistive Technology Act Program
Information, referrals, training and device loans.

Northwest Access Fund
Low interest loans and matched savings accounts for low-income households.

Get Involved in Your Community
Local parks and recreation departments administered by the county or city you live in offer many activities, such as Special Olympics or other community opportunities from bus tours to ballgames and classes. Look in the blue pages of your phone book for more details or call your local city or county information line. Community colleges are another great resource to explore for personal enrichment and education.


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