Connecticut’s Disability Services Need Improvement

A bipartisan bill to expand resources and support services for residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities won unanimous passage Tuesday in the Connecticut House of Representatives on a 148-0 vote.

House Bill 5001 — An Act Concerning Resources and Support Services for Persons With an Intellectual or Developmental Disability — addresses Medicaid waiver program waitlists and establishes plans to meet the needs of residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a variety of areas, including education, employment, housing, and transportation.

According to the fiscal note submitted Tuesday morning, the law will be supported over the next two years with $30 million from the General Fund and $400,000 from the Special Transportation Fund.

Nationwide, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can qualify for Medicaid waivers. The waivers allow them to receive services at home or in the community. Medicaid waivers are often seen as an alternative to long term care facilities. However, long waitlists for waiver programs prohibit many residents from accessing services they require.

The legislation aims to address this issue by, among other things, requiring state agencies to provide recommendations on how to reduce the number those on waiting lists and to report the number of people currently waiting for services on a regular basis.

According to Rep. Lucy Dathan, D-New Canaan, there are presently 2,000 persons on the autism waiver waitlist alone. It is overseen by the Department of Social Services. There are also over 900 people on the Department of Developmental Services’ waiting list for home and community-based services. The DDS waiting list comprises 685 individuals who are currently receiving no care and another 200 or so who are receiving some services but require more. Another component provides grants to groups that employ people with intellectual disabilities, which are originally funded with a $1 million grant.

In addition to directly addressing waiting lists, the bill intends to address the issue through collaborating with the state Department of Education to give transition planning resources to all students requiring special education beginning at the age of 14. This will help students and parents understand the resources that will be accessible to them once their child has graduated from school. One of the most expensive measures introduces a DDS grant program for supportive housing providers.

A provision included in the Human Services Committee’s version of HB 5001 would have raised the income and asset limits for HUSKY C. Husky C is Connecticut’s Medicaid program for those who are disabled or over the age of 65. However, that provision was not included in the final bill that was passed on Tuesday.

Disabled people nationwide need to home and community-based services. The system is in crisis and on the verge of collapse. Disabled people have a right to live alongside their family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Home and community based services make living the community possible.


Golvala, Katy. “CT House Passes Expansion of Autism, Disability Services.” CT Mirror, 31 May 2023,

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