Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


The federal Medicaid program provides medical and other program benefits to eligible groups of low-income people who are also categorically eligible, such as people with intellectual disabilities (formerly, "mental retardation") and developmental disabilities. Although the Federal government establishes general guidelines for the program, the Medicaid program requirements are actually established by each State. Most Medicaid services for people with intellectual disabilities are considered optional, that is, provided at the option of a state.

This list of “optional” services for persons with intellectual disabilities includes basic health care needs such as clinic services, dental care, physical therapy, prosthetic devices, and specified medical and remedial care. 

Long term care "optional" benefits include home and community based services (HCBS) waiver, personal attendant care, case management, and Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Mental Retardation (ICFs/MR).

VOR has prepared a chart that compares optional v. mandatory benefits.

Federally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the Medicaid program.

Additional Resources:

Medicaid: A Primer (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured)

Medicaid Program Overview (CMS)