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Application Process

Any person believed to be developmentally disabled or a legal guardian, relative, school district, or a provider agency may make written application to the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilitites and Hospitals' Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) for a determination of eligibility as a developmentally disabled adult in accordance with statutes and regulations.

To being the eligibility process, call DDD's main number at 401-462-3421 and ask to speak with an eligibility committee member. After regular business hours, you may leave a message, and, in most cases, your call will be returned within two business days. Applications should be requested at least three months prior to when DDD services are needed. Whenever possible, an application, one year before services are needed, is advisable.

Requests for applications may be made by the individual seeking services (applicant) by the applicant's legal guardian or relative, by school districts or staff from the Department of Children, Youth and their Families when the applicant is in the custody of that agency or a provider agency, professional or advocate, with the permission of the applicant. If you are requesting the application for someone else, you should be prepared to give basic information, including the applicant's name, address, phone number, birth date, social security number and the nature of the disability. During the phone conversation with the eligibility committee member, you may be asked to provide the names of agencies and/or other professionals who may have information or records that will assist DDD in the eligibility determination. Examples of agencies or professionals who may have information are school departments, physicians, vocational agencies, mental health agencies and counselors. During the phone conversation with the eligibility committee member, you may also be advised of other agencies that you should be in contact with or resources that might be helpful to the applicant. These referrals will facilitate the application process and insure that the proper agencies are involved.

If you are making a referral on behalf of someone else, DDD can send the application packet directly to you so you can assist the person in completing the application and the releases of information/consent forms. There is no legal or fiscal responsibility incurred if you assist someone with the application. If you request that the application packet be sent directly to the applicant, you should inform the applicant or his or her family that you have made the referral to DDD.

The application packet consists of the application form, releases of information/consent forms, an informational brochure regarding DDD services and a cover letter with instructions for completing the application and the releases of information/consent forms. Releases of information/consent forms will often be made out to the professionals or agencies identified during the initial phone call as having information concerning the applicant's eligibility. In some cases, the releases of information/consent forms will be blank and will require you to complete the forms with the names and addresses of other professionals or other agencies that have information concerning the applicant's eligibility for services. It is very important that DDD obtain copies of all relevant records, reports and evaluations prior to making the eligibility determination. An eligibility committee member is available by phone to answer questions and/or to help complete the application and releases of information/consent forms. The application and the releases of information/consent forms must be signed and dated by the applicant or the applicant's legal guardian or relative.

The application and releases of information/consent forms must be sent back to DDD with a copy of the applicant's birth certificate, a copy of the applicant's social security card and, if applicable, a copy of the Probate court's order of appointment of a guardian for the applicant. Upon receipt of the completed application, the Eligibility Committee will send a letter to the applicant acknowledging receipt of the information. The letter will indicate if any further information is needed and will give the name and phone number of the eligibility committee member assigned to the applicant's case.

When DDD receives a completed application and the evaluations, medical and school records and other reports requested by the releases of information/consent forms, and if it has been determined necessary, a personal interview with the applicant has been conducted, the information will be presented to the DDD Eligibility Committee. The Eligibility Committee will make a determination regarding the person's eligibility for DDD services using the statutory and regulation criteria. »

If the Eligibility Committee determines that an applicant is eligible for DDD services, notice of the determination will be sent to the applicant, the applicant's legal guardian or relative and, when appropriate, the agency, advocate or professional who referred the applicant. The notice will state the name, address and phone number of the DDD social worker who should be contacted to begin the process of developing the individualized plan for the applicant.

If the Eligibility Committee determines that an applicant is ineligible for DDD services, notice of the determination will be sent to the applicant, the applicant's legal guardian or relative, and when appropriate, the agency, advocate or professional who referred the applicant. The notice shall include a statement as to the reasons why the Eligibility Committee determined that the applicant was not eligible for services and a statement regarding the applicant's appeal rights.

A determination regarding eligibility cannot be made until all of the necessary information and records have been received by DDD and a personal interview, if necessary, has been conducted. When all of the necessary information and records are received, the Eligibility Committee shall make a determination within thirty days.

When information is not readily available or is inconclusive or the applicant has not yet completed the appropriate evaluations needed to make the determination of eligibility, the process takes a longer period of time. If this is the case, the eligibility committee member will notify you and discuss options or make further recommendations.

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Steps for receiving for Services

  • Step 1

    Apply to the Rhode Island Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to see if you are eligible to receive support. Call 401-462-3421 to get an application.

    DDD will send you an application and will help you complete the application if you need assistance. You will be visited by a member of DDD's eligibility unit, in most instances.

    Usually you will find out if you are eligible within 45 days after DDD has reviewed your complete application.

    If you are not eligible, you can appeal or DDD will refer you to other places where you may be eligible.


  • Step 2

    You will get connected with your DDD Social Worker within 30 days after you have been found eligible. Your Social Worker will get to know you and your family. He or she will help you think about your plans for the future and the supports you may need.

    Your Social Worker will talk with you about the service system in Rhode Island, and give you a list of certified service provider agencies, if you choose to have a provider agency assist you.

    He or she will complete a Personal Capacities Inventory (PCI) and Situational Assessment with you. This will help determine the amount of funding that DDD can make available for your services.

    Your worker will help you apply to the RI Department of Human Services (DHS) for Medicaid and Title XIX Waiver eligibility if necessary.


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  • Step 3

    DDD will tell you how much funding will be made available for your services.


  • Step 4

    Choose your service provider that best meets your needs and complete a support agreement between you and the service provider. The Support Agreement will give a brief description of the services you plan to purchase, and how the agency will provide them. It will also list the outcomes that are most important to you. Alternatively, you may decide to choose a Fiscal Intermediary to help you manage your own plan.

    Send your Support Agreement to DDD and you should receive authorization within 45 days in most instances. Once you have the authorization, services can begin!


  • Step 5

    After your services begin, you have 90 days to develop an Individualized Plan and submit it to DDD.

    If you are working with a service provider agency, they will help coordinate this for you.


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  • Step 6

    DDD will review your Individualized Plan and the services you are receiving throughout the year to find out how it's going. Your funding will automatically be re-authorized every year on July 1st. Contact your DDD Social Worker right away if something major happens in your life and your support needs change.

    You much submit your updated Individualized Plan every year on the anniversary date of the plan. For example: if your plan was submitted on November 21st, that is your anniversary date, so that is when you should send in your updated plan.


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