Supports for People with Disabilities in WA State

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The service systems for people with disabilities can be difficult to understand and navigate. The following comparison (and printable side by side bulletin) show the many services available to individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities and those with other/functional disabilities.

Start Here

If You Have a Developmental Disability…

Lead Agency: Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) for Ages 3 and Up.

DDA is the first stop for children and adults with a developmental disability age 3 or older. Adults have the option of applying to Home and Community Services as an alternative (see below under HCS). DDA also conducts CARE Assessments for non-DDA eligible children who need personal care.

To Get Started: Contact your local DDA office (or fill out the online form) to apply for DDA eligibility.

DDA Services at a Glance

Individuals living in their own home or a community-based residential setting receive services through Medicaid waiver programs that provide:

  • case management;
  • community guide and engagement;
  • assistive technology;
  • respite;
  • crisis stabilization;
  • skilled nursing;
  • therapies;
  • home modifications;
  • specialized medical equipment;
  • employment services;
  • personal care and other services covered by Community First Choice (CFC).

Residential & Facility-Based Settings

  • Supported Living
  • State Operated Living Arrangements
  • Adult Family Homes
  • Group Homes
  • Community Crisis Stabilization Services
  • Alternative Living
  • Companion Homes
  • Residential Habilitation Centers

If You Have a Functional Disability…

Lead Agency: Home and Community Services (HCS), a Division of Aging and Long Term Supports Administration (ALSTA), for adults age 18 and older.

HCS is the first stop for adults who need services at home and in the community due to functional disability, but who can’t afford to pay for needed supports on their own. Adults with developmental disabilities may apply for assistance through HCS as an alternative to DDA (see above).

To Get Started: Find your local HCS office through Community Living Connections.

HCS Services at a Glance

In addition to case management, many services provided by HCS are offered through a program called Community First Choice, which includes:

  • personal care;
  • assistive technology;
  • skills acquisition training;
  • personal emergency response system;
  • relief care.

Other services may be provided by a Medicaid waiver program and can include:

  • skilled nursing;
  • adult day health;
  • adult day care;
  • community guide, and more.

Residential & Facility-Based Settings

  • Adult Family Homes
  • Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living


Free Information, Referral and Assistance

If You Have a Developmental Disability…

Parent to Parent (P2P)
Support and information for families of children with developmental disabilities.

Local Arcs
Programs vary by chapter; however, all chapters help connect individuals and families to state and local resources.

WithinReach (for families)
Find health care, child care, nutrition programs and other supports for families.

Informing Families
News & information on developmental disabilities.

If You Have a Functional Disability…

Community Living Connections
A network of organizations (such as local Area Agencies on Aging, Independent Living Centers and Community Living Connections sites) that provide information, referral and assistance to individuals of all ages, disabilities and income levels, as well as their caregivers, legal representatives and families.

WithinReach (for families)
Find health care, child care, nutrition programs and other supports for families.


Caregiver Respite and Support

If You Have a Developmental Disability…

Developmental Disabilities Administration
DDA’s Individual & Family Services, Basic Plus, Core, and Children’s Intensive In-home Behavior Supports waivers provide respite at home or in a community setting. Other DDA services include overnight planned respite, enhanced respite services, and staff/family consultation & training.

Lifespan Respite
(see below, under Functional Disability)

Kinship Care
(see below, Functional Disability)

If You Have a Functional Disability…

Support for unpaid family caregivers (e.g., education & training, support,
assistive equipment, consultation, respite, and more).

A respite voucher program for unpaid family caregivers of all ages.

KINSHIP CARE (for children)
Support for grandparents or other family members caring for a relative’s child.


Health Care

Apple Health (Medicaid)
Medical and mental health care for low income children and adults.


Printable Version (PDF)


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