Important alert for parents of special needs children with intellectual disabilities: Make sure your child is IQ tested before age 18.
First, some background: Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities determines if an individual with a disability is eligible for a Medicaid waiver. A Medicaid waiver can permit your special needs child to receive community-based assistance and avoid institutional living. Unfortunately, securing a waiver has never been a walk in the park. According to a recent Miami Herald article, thousands are on the waiting list – and it can take years to get off it. The applicant’s IQ test score is one of the factors used to determine waiver eligibility. The applicant’s intellectual disability must have developed before age 18. Thus, in order to qualify for a Medicaid waiver, your child will need to have an IQ test administered at age 17 or younger. (In contrast to the Social Security Administration, which requires the test to be administered before age 22.)
Due to budget cuts, Florida public schools no longer routinely IQ test students suspected of intellectual disabilities. Therefore, we recommend that if you have a child with a suspected intellectual disability, make sure he is IQ tested before age 18. Private testing is available and generally costs between $1,000 – $2,000. Health insurance does not usually cover such testing, but you have nothing to lose by making the case with your insurance company.