DIDD Expands Enrollment Due to Change in Aging-Caregivers Law

Monday, April 11, 2016 | 10:05am

NASHVILLE – The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is starting the process of enrolling persons with intellectual disabilities into its Home and Community Based Waivers in compliance with the change to the Aging Caregivers Law.

The General Assembly passed the law, signed last week by Governor Bill Haslam, that requires enrollment of any person on the intellectual disabilities waiting list  if the person’s primary caregiver is 75 years of age or older.  This is a change to the original law, which took effect last July and previously required enrollment for those who have a primary caregiver 80 years of age or older.

The costs associated with this law change can be absorbed within the $4.1 million budgeted for this program.

“This law was designed to give relief to people who have taken care of their loved ones for decades, and may even now require care themselves,” DIDD Commissioner Debra Payne said.  “The assistance provided through DIDD will help people remain in their homes, while lessening the burden on caregivers who have worked tirelessly for the ones they love.”

Persons who meet the criteria will be enrolled into DIDD’s Self-Determination Waiver, which has an annual expenditure cap of $30,000.  Upon implementation of TennCare’s Employment and Community First CHOICES program, expected this summer, enrollment will move to that program.

The state plans to notify all people on the waiting list about the change in the law.  The current DIDD waiting list is approximately 5,900, although 2,200 are not seeking services at this time.

The law was originally sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Bob Ramsey.  It passed both chambers unanimously, and became law when the governor signed it.