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How the Adult Autism Waiver Program Works in Pennsylvania

How the Adult Autism Waiver Program Works in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Adult Autism Waiver is a statewide program designed to help adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) participate in their communities in the way they want to, based on their identified needs. The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) directly manages the program through the state. However, there are agencies who are the providers of the services offered by the waiver. Here’s how the waiver works.


1. Intake

The intake process begins the day someone requests an application and ends the day the Status Letter is received which can take about 2 weeks. The request for an application can be done by the person who would like to apply or by someone who would like to do it for them.


When a new application request is received by the BAS team, they send it off to the regional office to complete the intake process which involves checking basic demographic information as well as some other background information about the individual. The enrollment coordinator from the regional office will also help explain important details along the way. Once all of the information is collected, the record will be added to the Interest List and a Status Letter will be sent out.


2. Application

There are three steps of the application process which include the application packet, functional eligibility assessment, and financial eligibility determination. Application requests are handled on a first-come-first-served basis and are only sent to people who are 21 years of age or older. The application process begins the day someone, who is on the Interest List, receives the application packet.


3. Enrollment

If you meet all of the eligibility criteria to be enrolled in the Pennsylvania Adult Autism Waiver, then you will be notified with an acceptance letter and will begin the enrollment process.  If you have been noted as ineligible, then you will be notified with a denial letter.


The full enrollment process can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months and involves supports coordinator selection, meeting with the supports coordinator, and developing and approving the Individual Support Plan (ISP).


The Drawback

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Autism Waiver brought only 718 participants into the state program — a disappointing figure when you consider that there were over 55,000 Pennsylvanians living with autism in 2014, a number that has since grown. That's less than one percent.


ECCM's Alternative

ECCM strives to help any individual in Erie or Crawford County living with autism or an intellectual disability achieve their highest potential. To do this, we created our own application called the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Waiver. Although the basic requirements are the same, a greater acceptance rate translates to a more substantial community impact — more individuals placed in jobs suited to their needs and abilities, and more overall community involvement. To learn more about autism supports coordination and fulfill your or a loved one's promise, get in touch with ECCM today.