In many states, a child or transitioning young adult must pass eligibility requirements for Medicaid before they can be eligible for Medicaid Waiver Services, i.e., they need to be impoverished. I'd like to see Transition Services kept separate from Medicaid and extended to youth with disabilities beginning in their final year of high school so that more of them have a chance to become independent.
We discovered that "waiver" does not mean the state is waiving its income restrictions to extend services to more individuals with disabilities (as we had been told years ago when our son was litle); it actually means that parents are waiving their right to institutional care for their child in exchange for receiving community-based services. And in most states, that means young people with disabilites are not allowed to keep more than $1,500 in assets.
Transitioning youth have a choice between dependence on the system--just as they begin working--and having access to supports, or spending all of their money (and usually their families' money) to piece together supports on their own. Unfortunately, many providers don't even offer out-of-pocket services, so access to supports is limited at best.
By establishing separate Transition Services (which should include family transition training, by the way) we would eliminate the Medicaid maze. And, under the Affordable Care Act, many transitioning students can remain on their parents insurance now until the age of 26, so Medicaid as a means of delivering health care is no longer an immediate necessity for families when their child leaves high school.
By means testing Transition Services, they could be offered to all transitioning youth so that more families could obtain services. We would be willing to pay a contributing share if it meant that our two children on the spectrum wouldn't fall through the cracks as they are now.