Tennessee has switched to a unified program for people of all ages with intellectual or developmental disabilities, the Employment and Community First CHOICES program, which is part of its 1115 demonstration waiver, TennCare II. Their three previous Medicaid waivers have been phased out, and all applicants are being processed through the new program.

While in theory parent income is not considered for children who meet a certain level of institutional care in the Employment and Community First CHOICES program, we have numerous reports from families of children with disabilities that they have not been allowed to participate in the program, as it prioritizes adults, particularly those seeking or maintaining employment.

Tennessee has proposed a "Katie Beckett"-like program as part of its TennCare Demonstration Waiver, but this program has not yet been approved or implemented. This program would expand Medicaid access and grant additional services to a small number of children who do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid based on income, but it also includes parent payments, insurance coverage requirements, and waiting lists.

Advocacy Organizations in Tennessee:

Last updated 1/24/20

Programs in Tennessee

  • Target Population: Children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
  • Ages: all ages
  • Levels of Care: Intermediate Care Facility
  • Income Waiver: Eligibility is based on the child's income only if the child requires a nursing home level of institutional care. However, families have reported that they are repeatedly being turned down by this program due to prioritization of adults.
  • Waiver Type: Processed through an 1115 waiver
  • Spots: unknown
  • Expiration Date: 6/30/2021
  • Description: Integrated Employment Path Services, Community Integration Support Services, Independent Living Skills Training, Community Transportation, Assistive Technology, Adaptive Equipment and Supplies, Minor Home Modifications, Respite, Supportive Home Care, Family Caregiver Stipend, Family Caregiver Education and Training
  • Online State Information: Employment and Community First CHOICES
  • Official Federal Information
  • How to Apply: Follow the instructions based on your program on this page.
  • Waiting List: There are 7428 people with developmental disabilities on Tennessee's waiting list.