State & Federal Programs

There are many state and federal programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The availability of programs will vary depending on age, disability, individual and family income and waiting lists for services.

Family and Social Services Administration Resource Guide 

First Steps/Early Intervention Services

First Steps is a program offered by the State of Indiana that provides early intervention services for families who have infants and toddlers (birth to third birthday) with developmental delays or who show signs of being at-risk of delays in the future. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, or know that your child has a disability, Call: 800-441-STEP (800-441-7837).

Special Education

Pre-school and school-age children with a disability are eligible for a free and appropriate education through the public school system, beginning at age three and continuing through their 21st birthday. Eligibility for special education services is determined through the local school corporation. Contact your local school corporation, or the State Division of Exceptional Learners. Call: 317-232-0570 or 877-851-4106.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides federal financial assistance, in the form of a monthly check, for eligible individuals who have a disability and who have little income or assets. Children with disabilities may be eligible for SSI, depending on their level of disability and family income. Eligibility is determined through your local Social Security office.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The Social Security disability insurance program (SSDI) pays benefits to individuals and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Your adult child also may qualify for benefits on your earnings record if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.

Watch:  An Introduction to Applying for SSI and SSDI 
Reloj: Una Introducción a la Solicitar de SSI y SSDI

Employment and Day Programs

Employment and Day Programs are provided in communities throughout Indiana. These programs are provided by organizations, including local chapters of The Arc, approved through either the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services or the Bureau of Developmental Disabilities.

Apply for employment services through your local Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.

Day program services are funded through Indiana’s Medicaid Waiver program.

Learn more about Employment.

Health Related Services

Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS)

Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) is a program to help Indiana children ages birth to 21 years old with severe chronic medical conditions. It helps pay for treatment related to the child’s condition. Autism is also a condition that may qualify a child for services from CSHCS. Families who apply for CSHCS must also apply for Medicaid; however, they do not need to be eligible for Medicaid to be eligible for CSHCS. A family with an income before taxes no greater than 250% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for the program. Call: 800-475-1355.

Healthy Indiana Plan

The Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) covers adults age 19-64 whose incomes are less than approximately 138% of the federal poverty level and who are not eligible for Medicare or another Indiana Medicaid category. HIP requires you to make a minimal monthly contribution to your coverage based on the amount of your income.


Medicaid provides health insurance to eligible low income individuals. There are several programs available under Medicaid  in Indiana. Each program has different eligibility criteria. Unless otherwise noted, eligibility determination is made by the Division of Family Resources (DFR).

Traditional Medicaid

Traditional Medicaid covers the following individuals:

  • Medicaid Waiver program recipients
  • Dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid
  • Residents of nursing homes, intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities and state-operated facilities
  • Members in the hospice program
  • Undocumented aliens
Hoosier Care Connect

Hoosier Care Connect covers individuals who are aged 65 years and older, blind, or disabled and who are also not eligible for Medicare. It also covers people enrolled n M.E.D Works.

Hoosier Healthwise

Hoosier Healthwise covers children, pregnant women, and families with low income. Based on family income, children up to age 19 may be eligible for coverage.

M.E.D. Works

M.E.D. Works, Medicaid for Employees with Disabilities, covers working people with disabilities.  Individuals eligible through M.E.D. Works will be enrolled with the Hoosier Care Connect program. Eligibility for M.E.D. Works is determined by a Medicaid medical review team for disability eligibility.

Generally, the following services are covered by Medicaid programs. This list does not include everything Medicaid covers.

Preventive Services
  • Family planning
  • Prescription drugs
  • Doctor office visits
Behavior and Mental Health Services

Coverage includes outpatient mental health services you receive from:

  • Physicians
  • Local center for mental health
  • Social workers in your community
Eye Care

Coverage includes eye exams and eyeglasses.

Diabetes Self Care Management Training
  • Nutrition
  • Medication counseling
  • Blood glucose self-monitoring
  • Insulin injection
  • Foot, skin, and dental care
Inpatient/Outpatient Hospital Care
  • Rx Drugs
  • Laboratories
  • X-rays
  • Other diagnostic tests that are considered medically necessary during the stay
Home Health Care & Services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Medical supplies, equipment, and appliances

Medicaid will pay for up to 20 one-way trips without prior authorization


Covered services include annual exams and preventive care.

Emergency Care
  • Hospital admittance
  • Transportation
  • Medically necessary screening services

Medicaid funds long term care services in Medicaid funded facilities and home and community-based services through the Medicaid Waiver. Parental income and resources are not counted when determining Medicaid eligibility for children for receiving services through a Medicaid Waiver or Medicaid funded facilities.

Home and Community-Based Services / Medicaid Waiver

Home and Community-Based Services, funded primarily through Indiana’s Medicaid Waiver program, provide supports to families to care for a loved one at home, and supports to adults to live in their own home or small residential program. Because there are waiting lists for Home and Community-Based Services funded by the Medicaid Waiver, it is important to apply and get on a waiting list, even if you do not need services right now.

Residential Services

Residential services are provided in a variety of settings, from residential programs funded through a Medicaid Waiver, to Medicaid funded group homes, to large congregate facilities – including nursing homes and large Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled (ICFs/DD). Indiana can be proud that all state institutions for people with developmental disabilities have closed, and former residents have transitioned successfully to small, community based programs. The Arc of Indiana led this effort.

Medicaid Waiver Program

Medicaid Waivers allow Medicaid to pay for services that support families in caring for a loved one at home, allow adults with disabilities to live in the community with up to 24 hour supports, and supports to help people move out of nursing homes or ICFs/DD. Family income and resources are not counted when determining Medicaid eligibility for children receiving Medicaid waiver services. Because there is a waiting list to get Medicaid Waiver services, it is important to apply and get on the waiting list, even if you do not need services at this time.Contact your local Bureau of Developmental Disability Services office to apply.

Group Homes

Group homes, funded by Medicaid, typically serve six to eight people. Contact your local Bureau of Developmental Disability Services office to apply.

Large Intermediate Care Facilities

Large Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs-ID/DD) are funded by Medicaid and are licensed specifically to care for adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Contact your local Bureau of Developmental Disability Services office to apply.

Specialized Children’s Facilities

The Department of Children’s Services or Department of Education may place children in specialized children’s facilities that provide 24-hour care. Placement in these facilities may require a “Child In Need of Service” petition to the court, and/or recommendation for placement through the special education system, if it is determined that the school cannot meet the child’s educational needs.

Nursing Homes

People with developmental disabilities need not live in nursing homes unless they have a very serious medical condition.The closure of all of Indiana’s state institutions for people with developmental disabilities, and the successful transition of people who once lived in those institutions to community base programs, is strong proof that people need not live in large facilities. If your loved one is currently living in a nursing home, he or she can move to a community-based residential program, funded through the Medicaid Waiver program, with 24 hour supports. If you are considering placing your loved one in a nursing home, or if someone is recommending a nursing home as an option, it is important to explore other residential options. Contact The Arc at 800-382-9100 and ask to speak to a Family Advocate. Watch Moving from a Nursing Facility to a Home in Your Community. Read “A Guide to Transitioning to a Home with Medicaid Waiver Supports in Your Community.”