The Waiting List

Posted on by TheArcHC

The Waiting List

The demand for supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee is greater than any time in the past. Children and adults remain on waiting lists for years after requesting necessary services and supports. Many are desperate and under extraordinary stress.

The Arc Tennessee is a launching Waiting List Campaign called “It’s not too late….End the Wait!” to provide information to Legislators about the needs of Tennessee citizens with intellectual disabilities. The goal of our Campaign is to seek more funding for programs provided by the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for supports that are needed by people to live meaningful lives in their communities and at home.

We need families and self-advocates statewide to join us in spreading the word that the waiting list must be addressed – that more money must be spent on supporting people with intellectual disabilities (ID). The Waiting List is now over 7,000 people and each year only a few hundred from that list may actually begin receiving Medicaid Waiver supports and services.

Nothing will change if we sit around and “wait.” We must take control of the situation and educate the people that control the money about the needs of people with ID and the impact of not having supports and services available to them.

Commissioner Jim Henry and his staff have worked hard to raise awareness of the need for supports and services for people with (ID) with the governor, legislators and the community. Advocacy agencies have done the same. But we will never see change unless government officials hear from the people impacted by the lack of supports and services – individuals with ID and their families.

Please attend one of our “It’s not too late….End the Wait!” call to action meetings near you. Learn more about the status of the waiting list, how you can help bring attention to the needs of people on the waiting list and their families, and about other resources that may be of help to you. Each meeting will last about ninety (90) minutes and snacks will be provided. All family members welcome.

Click here for a schedule of meetings throughout the state. 


Waiting List Lawsuit History and Settlements

Many thanks to those of you who volunteered to assist us in educating legislators and other leaders about why they should support funding for the Waiting List.

The Federal District Court Judge provided approval of settlements in the two class action lawsuits filed by Tennessee Protection & Advocacy and People First. A fairness hearing was held April 12, 2004 in the Courtroom of Judge Echols. These settlements ended December 31, 2009.

Summary of Settlement in People First Lawsuit:

  • Requires outreach and education to persons who are potentially eligible for community-based waiver services.
  • Requires the State to assess needs of eligible persons and plan for necessary services.
  • Removes prohibition in State interagency agreement that prevented the provision of waiver services to school age persons.

Summary of Settlement in Brown (DLAC Case) Lawsuit:

  • Provides for enrollment of up to  600 persons in a Self-determination Waiver during 2004-2005. The waiver  has an annual budget cap of $30,000 for an enrollee.
  • Provides for enrollment for an  additional 900 persons in the Self- determination Waiver during 2005-2006.
  • If enrollment does not begin in Self-determination Waiver by July, 2004, provides that State of Tennessee will pay $500,000 per month in services for each month until enrollment begins.
  • Provides for enrollment of approximately 200 new enrollees in the existing Home and Community Based Waiver in 2004-2005.
  • Provides for enrollment of approximately 200 new enrollees in the existing Home and Community Based Waiver in 2005-2006.
  • For those on the waiting list that are eligible for enrollment in the waiver but are waiting and not receiving services under the Family Support program, the State will provide up to $2,280 in a Consumer Directed Support Program on an annual basis per person, with a maximum annual expenditure under this program at $5 million. These services may be respite services, transportation, etc.
  • Provides targeted case management for those on the waiting list that are eligible for waiver services but are waiting to be enrolled. Case manager will assist in accessing other services and plan for enrollment in waiver.
  • Provides for planning by parties for additional necessary services for persons eligible for waiver services that are on the waiting list until December, 2009.

If you know anyone who may be eligible for services, encourage them to contact the DIDS office in their region:

  • East Tennessee (Knoxville)
    • (888) 531-9876       (Toll Free)
    • (865) 588-0508       (Local)
  • Middle Tennessee (Nashville)
    • (800) 654-4839       (Toll Free)
    • (615) 231-5049       (Local)
  • West Tennessee (Memphis)
    • (800) 308-2586       (Toll Free)
    • (901) 745-7005       (Local)
  • Central Office (Nashville)
    • (800) 535-9725       (Toll Free)
    • (615) 532-6530       (Local)



County Specific Waiting List Information

Click on the county link for Waiting List information specific to that county in Acrobat Reader.

Anderson Bedford Benton
Bledsoe Blount Bradley
Campbell Cannon Carroll
Carter Cheatham Chester
Claiborne Clay Cocke
Coffee Crockett Cumberland
Davidson Decatur DeKalb
Dickson Dyer Fayette
Fentress Franklin Gibson
Giles Grainger Greene
Grundy Hamblen Hamilton
Hancock Hardeman Hardin
Hawkins Haywood Henderson
Henry Hickman Houston
Humphries Jackson Jefferson
Johnson Knox Lake
Lauderdale Lawrence Lewis
Lincoln Loudon Macon
Madison Marion Marshall
Maury McMinn McNairy
Meigs Monroe Montgomery
Moore Morgan Obion
Overton Perry Pickett
Polk Putnam Rhea
Roane Robertson Rutherford
Scott Sequatchie Sevier
Shelby Smith Stewart
Sullivan Sumner Tipton
Trousdale Unicoi Union
Van Buren Warren Washington
Wayne Weakley White
Williamson Wilson



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