State and Federal Services
Understanding state and federal benefits can be really confusing! These pages will provide you a guide on the departments in Massachusetts and the federal government that provide financial supports and/or services for individuals with disabilities and their families. Please note that these services have their own eligibility guidelines and processes. The Arc and its affiliates can be a resource in helping you understand and navigate services.
A free information and referral service for people with disabilities and the coordinator of the Massachusetts Network of Information Providers (MNIP). | http://www.disabilityinfo.org
A booklet for the parents, caregivers, or representatives of children under age 18 who have disabilities that might make them eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Designed to help you decide if your child might be eligible for Social Security or SSI, and to help you apply for benefits if your child is eligible. A publication of the U.S. Social Security Administration. | https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf
Department of Developmental Services (DDS)
This Autism Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Program is designed to provide services to help children with autism remain in their homes and actively participate in their families and their communities. | https://www.mass.gov/dds-autism-waiver-services-0
The DDS DESE Program facilitates effective transitions from school life to more independent life within the community for students receiving publicly funded special education services who also meet the DDS eligibility criteria for services. | https://www.mass.gov/dds-dese-program
DDS provides funding for family support programs and services that provide information, assistance, and an array of supportive services to families with children & adults with disabilities who are living at home. | https://www.mass.gov/dds-family-support
The primary goal of Intensive Flexible Family Support programs is to help support families with one or more members with a disability who are experiencing significant challenges, which are causing the child/individual to be at risk of out-of-home placement. This is a time-limited (6 to 12 months) and goal-oriented service providing more focused and intensive supports in response to identified areas of need and difficulty, and to build family capacity to support their child or young adult at home.
There are nineteen regional or area based Intensive Flexible Family Support Programs funded by DDS across the state. Children/families must meet specific eligibility criteria for participation in this Program and referral for services is made by the local DDS Area Offices. These services are available to children and young adults up to age 22. For more information contact the local DDS Area Office.
Medically Complex Programs provide a family-driven model of care which supports families with children and young adults having significant cognitive, physical, and complex health care needs who are living at home. The goal is to provide comprehensive wrap-around supports, which consist of specialized case management activities that help families integrate the variety of resources and supports they are receiving in order to care for their family member at home.
This Program complements and is supplemental to other MassHealth, state plan and third party insurers and provides vital assistance to families who need help in coordinating all of the in-home care they receive. This program offers an array of support options to families (parents and siblings) to keep their family member at home and allow for a meaningful quality of life for all, and helps to prevent outof-home placements in a pediatric nursing home or residential school.
Children must meet specific eligibility criteria for participation in this Program and referral for Program services is made by the local DDS Area Offices. However, Program staff are available to provide information and referral services to families and/or provide consultation to staff working with families who have a child/young adult with significant medical, physical and cognitive challenges.
For a list of programs, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/pe/family-support-directory.pdf#page=21
There are seven Autism Support Centers throughout the state that provide an array of information and referral services, resources, and supports to children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. | https://www.mass.gov/service-details/dds-autism-support-centers
The DDS HCBS Waivers are a federal state partnership for individuals to receive services in their home instead of an institution. | https://www.mass.gov/lists/dds-home-and-community-based-services-hcbs-waiver
Information for DDS staff, service providers and housing developers for building new housing and renovating existing housing for individuals served by DDS. | https://www.mass.gov/lists/dds-housing
Department of Mental Health (DMH)
Information about services for Adults (19+) offered by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and instructions on how to apply for them. | https://www.mass.gov/department-of-mental-health-adult-services-ages-19
Department of Public Health (DPH)
The goal of the Division for Children & Youth with Special Health Needs is to promote good health and quality of life for all children and youth with special health care needs and their families. | https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-for-children-youth-with-special-health-needs
Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)
Formerly known as the Department of Public Welfare, this is the state agency responsible for administering public assistance programs for needy citizens of Massachusetts. Programs DTA oversees include:
- Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
- Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
- Food Stamp Benefits
- Emergency Assistance (EA)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid Program)
In Massachusetts, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are combined into one program called MassHealth. MassHealth members may be able to get doctors visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and many other important services. | https://www.mass.gov/topics/masshealth
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Adult Foster Care is a state-funded program that transforms lives. Its services allow seniors and persons with disabilities who need assistance with personal care tasks to remain in a home and in the community with a qualified and approved caregiver. | https://massafc.org
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
Learn about the eligibility requirements to access services offered by MCB. | https://www.mass.gov/eligibility-for-mcb-services
Once you are registered with MCB, you are eligible for several benefits. | https://www.mass.gov/benefits-for-individuals-who-are-legally-blind
MCB’s support services include Assistive Technology (AT), Orientation and Mobility (O&M), and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. | https://www.mass.gov/mcb-support-services
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
MCDHH provides accessible communication, education, and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities so that programs, services, and opportunities throughout Massachusetts are fully accessible to persons who are deaf and hard of hearing. | https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-commission-for-the-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) helps individuals with disabilities to live and work independently. MRC is responsible for Vocational Rehabilitation, Community Living and eligibility determination for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federal benefits programs. | https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-rehabilitation-commission