Allocations available for some waitlisted disability waivers
June 18, 2019 10:09 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Winton Wood has a young daughter with Down syndrome, who has been on a financial waitlist for 13 years.
It's the same situation many New Mexicans with disabilities find themselves in.
"Mom, caregiver, coordinator, financial advocate, secretary, planner, nutritionist, driver, you name it," said Winton Wood.
For the first time in several years, legislators have allocated money for people with disabilities. For some families this is a very big deal because it means appropriate and life-changing care, but it’s been a long time coming. Many families may not even know they are eligible now.
"I am a mom to a young lady, named Lilia and she is 13-years-old," Wood said. "She was born to us with Down syndrome, developed autism and she also has several medical conditions, she’s a lovely person.”
As much as Lilia loves to sing and dance she is also non-verbal.
"It can be challenging to say the least,” Wood said.
Her family is a part of The Arc New Mexico. The organization serves as advocates to those with developmental disabilities.
They shared the news that New Mexico legislators just allocated money to 340 people who’ve been on the waitlist.
"These are life-changing services with individuals with disabilities," said Pamela Stafford, with The ARC New Mexico.
Services like access to Medicaid, transportation, employment support, community access and more – making for a better quality of life.
"We’ve been waiting for 12 and a half years for services," Wood said. "It’s a very long time. Thank goodness, thank goodness, theoretically, we could have gone broke if she didn’t have coverage.”
Pamela Stafford has called lawmakers hundreds of times working to get the money off the table and into the hands of people with disabilities.
"Allocations don’t happen every year, last year we had 70, the year before there weren’t any," she said.
This year, $7.5 million of state funds were allocated to move people off the waitlist. The federal government match money will be over $18 million.
Wood says it's as if the state finally recognized her daughter.
She says the move validates people with disabilities
"We feel as though she is a person and she is valuable in the eyes of the community," Wood said.
But there's a problem – notices were sent to addresses and nearly 200 people haven't responded
"If you’ve waited 13 years and didn’t respond to a letter and you have to wait 13 years longer, that would be hard to imagine,” Stafford said.
She says if anyone applied for the disability waiver before 2006, they need to check their eligibility. It's critical to update contact info with the Developmental Disabilities Supports Division.
There are still another 4,000 people on the waitlist.
Updated: June 18, 2019 10:09 PM
Created: June 18, 2019 09:22 PM
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