Community Support Resources

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As family members we often think we can care for our children forever.  But as we age, our children get bigger and may need support we can no longer provide.  This is where long-term supports come in.  There are a variety of long-term support services for people with disabilities and ways to access those services.

Learn More Here: 

Family Supports – What are they?  How do I access them?

Family Resource Guide – Created by UT Texas Center on Disability Studies

Health & Human Services Commission (HHSC) – The State Agency responsible for many State/Federal Programs that help people with disabilities

Your Texas Benefits:

Call 211 Texas or visit Your Texas Benefits - Click on the Start Tool.  This is a good place to start understanding what services and supports your child or family may be eligible for.  You will find information on Medicaid, CHIP, Family Services, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food assistance), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

There are three agencies under HHSC that provide services:

  1. Department of State Health Services (DSHS) - Mental and Behavioral Health Services for Children and Adolescents.  There is a Youth Empowerment Waiver (YES) for children under age 19 with severe emotional disturbances. 
  2. Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) – Child & Adult Protective services, Foster & Kinship Care, as well as some Family Support programs.
  3. HHS Aging and Disability Services:

Texas Dept. of Aging & Disability Services (DADS) and certain Texas Dept. of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (DARS) programs either have moved or are in the process of moving to Texas Health & Human Services.  By Sept. 1, 2017, HHS will administer all long-term services and supports for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Disability service categories include:


The main number for HHS services is 855-937-2372.  You will be asked to enter your zip code and this will direct you to the closest Aging and Disability Resource Center.  These centers can answer your questions.


This program primarily serves low income families and children.  Often the children also receive supplemental security income (SSI).

If your child has a disability and receives Medicaid, you still need to get your child’s name on the “interest lists” for long-term services and supports (see “Medicaid Waivers” below).

If your child is under 20, receives Medicaid and has a disability, they will move to STAR Kids as of Nov. 1, 2016.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIP covers children in families who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford to buy private insurance.  Your child must be under age 19. 

Medicaid Buy In:

If you make TOO much money for Medicaid or CHIP, but need health insurance for your child, the State of Texas has a Medicaid Buy In Program.  If your child is under age 20 and receives Medicaid and has a disability, they will move to STAR Kids as of Nov. 1, 2016.

STAR Kids:

STAR Kids is a new Texas Medicaid managed care program that will provide Medicaid benefits, beginning Nov. 1, 2016, to children and adults 20 and younger who have disabilities.  This program is mandatory for any child with a disability under age 20 who is on Medicaid because they receive SSI, participates in a Medicaid buy in program, or participates in a waiver program (DBMD, MDCP, YES, CLASS, HCS, or TxHL).


This is a Texas Medicaid managed care program for individuals who are over age 21 and have disabilities.  There are some exceptions.  See the website. 

Community First Choice

This is NOT a Medicaid waiver program, but an entitlement program for personal attendant/habilitation services through your Medicaid Star Plus program.   Your child MUST already be Medicaid eligible.  For many, this means your child is an adult and receiving SSI & Medicaid (STAR Plus) and you are waiting for a waiver slot. 

For more information on seeking services through this program, please contact your Managed Care Organization (MCO).  The MCO will do an initial assessment and refer you to the local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority (LIDDA) for a Determination of Intellectual Disability (DID), Level of Care, and Functional Assessment.  The Local Authority will complete the DID and a level of care assessment and submit the level of care assessment to DADS/HHS.  DADS/HHS will either approve or disapprove the level of care.  If approved - the LIDDA will perform a functional assessment to determine the services needed and give this to the MCO.  The MCO will authorize services and the LIDDA will provide service coordination (case management).  

Medicaid Waivers 

Medicaid Waiver programs are a key part of long term support for people with disabilities.  Waiver services are services for your child (young or old). 

While the long-term services are for those who are Medicaid eligible, your child will automatically become Medicaid eligible when they receive a Waiver slot in one of the programs that do not include parent income (all except TxHL).  To understand the different waivers, this Comparison of Medicaid Waiver Programs is helpful.  

In Texas, there is a waiting or “interest” list to receive Medicaid waivers that is years long (5-10 years).   It is important to add your child's name to the Medicaid Waiver interest lists as soon as possible. 

For those with intellectual or developmental disabilitiesHome & Community Services (HCS) & Tx Home Living (TxHL) Programs

To register for these "Interest Lists" (HCS, Tx Home Living, etc.), contact the local authority agency for your county.

For those with medical or physical disabilities: Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS), Medically Dependent Children’s Program (MDCP), Deaf Blind Multiple Disabilities (DBMD), Community Attendant Services (CAS), and Personal Attendant Services (CMPAS) Programs –

For these programs, please contact your local Aging & Disability Resource Center.   To find the office closest to you go to  or - or call 855-937-2372.

Please note - if you move while on the interest list, please call the agency and update your information so that the agency can find you when a waiver slot becomes available.

For most of these programs, there will be an assessment for services.  Remember to answer as if you were not there to do things for your child or provide the level of support you may give (Can they do something independently?).  Here are links to various Assessments

The Quality Reporting System is a searchable data base where you can find and compare providers of long-term services and supports. These include nursing facilities, home health agencies, adult day care and others. You can also see reports on specific providers and any possible violations.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC):

Vocational Rehabilitative Services (helping people with work) have moved from DARS to TWC.  See:



Centers for Independent Living

Community Coordination Resource Groups – Interagency groups that come together to create plans for individuals whose needs cannot be met by one group alone.

Navigate Life Texas – Resources for kids with disabilities and special health care needs.

Parent Companion: First Five Years – Information, inspiration and resources for Texas parents of children with disabilities, birth to 5 years of age

Social Security – How to Qualify & Apply; “Blue Book”  Listing of Childhood Disabilities ,  Listing of Adult Disabilities

Texas AgriLife Extension


Guide to the ARD/IEP Process, Procedural Safeguards, and Legal Framework

2016 IDEA Manual – The Arc of Texas & Disability Rights Texas

Partners Resource Network - The State Parent Training & Information Center