Utah DSPD Medicaid Waiver


Have you heard people rattle off the acronym DSPD and not quite understand what it means or what they are talking about? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Utah DSPD medicaid wavier.

What does DSPD mean?

DSPD is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can apply for if you or a loved one have a disability in the State of Utah. DSPD stands for the Division of Services for People with Disabilities within the Utah State Department of Health and Human Services. If you or someone you know has a disability then start to get to know this logo. Click on their logo below to visit the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Services for People with Disabilities website to apply for services.

A Personal Story

My son was young and I took him to a psychiatric visit up at the University of Utah Neurobehavior HOME Program. The HOME Program is a multi-disciplinary clinic for individuals with disabilities. Back then we saw his psychiatrist every 6 months, the first question she asked me was “Have you applied for DSPD”? I had no idea what DSPD was but I knew it must be important if it was the first question she asked each time he saw her.

Right before leaving the house for the 3rd visit to see this psychiatrist, I scrambled and looked up the phone number for DSPD. Sitting in my car, before the appointment, I made that call.

I don’t know why it was such a hard phone call to make or why I put it off. I had heard of a “years-long waitlist” and any help we needed we needed NOW. Maybe I just didn’t want to think about anything in the long-term future for my son.

At the psychiatric appointment, sure enough, her first question was did I call DSPD. I was relieved to finally answer yes.

Following the phone call, DSPD paperwork arrived in the mail that I filled out and mailed back in. Why are some things just so difficult?

I still wasn’t sure what I was applying for. Every 6 months, I would receive a light envelope from DSPD with a form to answer basic questions for my son to remain on the waitlist. If I didn’t fill out the form and mail it back, then he would be removed from the waitlist.

Seven years later, I went out to my mailbox and saw another envelope from DSPD. I opened the envelope and read we were awarded a temporary grant to hire respite caregivers to help my son. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face knowing I wasn’t completely alone and someone wanted to help us.

I knew well enough that if we didn’t use the temporary grant, he wouldn’t be considered for any future DSPD funding. I started to learn everything I needed to properly get help for my son. The next year, we were awarded additional funding and have been funded every subsequent year.

How does Utah DSPD funding work?

DSPD funding is earmarked based on your needs. For instance, you may be funded to receive respite or supporting living caregivers to come into your home for assistance. You may receive a UTA bus pass for free paratransit services. When a child ages out of school, based on their needs might receive funding for a day program. You will first go through the State of Utah Vocational Rehabilitation Services, after a year your Vocational Rehab for a job coach will be switched to DSPD services for funding. Later in life, if your loved one seeks independence, DSPD may pay for a group home or host home arrangement. The DSPD funding also includes an automatic waiver for Medicaid services.

Applying and getting DSPD services is extremely important for an individual with a disability and their family. It starts small and based on need is important to learn how to navigate.

How to Apply for DSPD Services?

Immediately pop over to their website in the link below. Now everything is done online although if you are not tech-savvy you can pick up the phone to get help. We recommend applying online.

You are on the DSPD Waitlist Now What?

Be certain that you maintain your position on the waitlist and pay attention to any email or mail you receive. It is critical to know that if you experience a “change in circumstances” you contact your DSPD case manager. Let them know what is happening in your life.

When you share or talk to DSPD, tell them absolutely everything. Let them know if you don’t have any family around to help. Let them know what is happening to everyone in the household. Do you have multiple children with special circumstances? Let them know as parents what you are experiencing. Are you struggling with depression, anxiety, medications for other medical diagnoses? Let DSPD know absolutely everything about your family.

You want to share official documents of an autism diagnosis. Not just a doctor that speculates someone has autism but the testing report done that shares his autism diagnosis. Share with them official documents that demonstrate reality in the dynamic of your home.

When you talk to DSPD, it is not a time to hold back. For instance, when a neighbor or casual friend asks how our family is doing, we are polite and give a brief breakdown. When you talk to DSPD, you tell them absolutely everything and the things you would never tell another soul. For instance, does your child play with their feces? Has someone in your family attempted suicide? Are they destroying property in the home? Breaking glass windows or busting down doors? Have you had to call the police on anyone in your home?

You share everything. Did you get diagnosed with cancer or any other kind of diagnosis? Are you and your spouse now divorced? Let them know what medications your child takes and the whole family takes. You just don’t hold back with DSPD as you would with a polite neighborly call.

Who are you seeing for medical care services? Many providers of care that work in the disability community are extremely literate on how to write DSPD about you or your loved one with a disability. These providers know EXACTLY what to say and how to say it. Another tip is to make sure you are seeing medical care providers that have some experience in this process. You can teach your current provider how to navigate the system, which may help other patients they see with a disability.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up. Keep your chin up. While you are waiting for services examine the strengths and weaknesses of your family. Try to use your strengths to sure up weaknesses within your family. Get yourself plugged into critical services and be consistent. Need to see a psychologist? Show up for each and every appointment and be on time. Your psychologist might be one of the people that can write that letter years from now when you need it.

Connect with Community Services

Research and connect with community services that you can plug into as you wait for DSPD funding. A rich resource in the State of Utah is the Utah Parent Center. They can help you find resources that are close to you.

How does Giv.care work with DSPD?

At Giv.care, we are a caregiving agency for individuals with a disability and DSPD funding. If you are funded with DSPD, we can help you hire your caregivers, background checks, fingerprinting, payroll, and fingerprinting.

We come across a lot of families that have not been funded yet or haven’t even learned what DSPD is and why it is important. We are dedicated to educating families about community services they might be able to access. Visit many of the blog posts written on our website. We care about our clients and caregivers along with everyone else too. We know that caregiving isn’t the only solution that individuals with a disability need.

Disability agencies interrelate

Let us know in the comments below what helped you acquire DSPD services or other community services you are aware of. Each family has unique dynamics. Please remember that a person that applies for DSPD wouldn’t be eligible if the individual with disabilities has personal assets over $2,000. Of course, that doesn’t include things like a special need trust, etc. Open a bank account for your individual with a disability but don’t keep more than $2,000 in that account.

Remember different agencies interrelate and work together hand in hand. For instance, vocational rehabilitation might eventually hand off to DSPD. Working with vocational rehabilitation and exhausting community services might be a key or another way to get off the waitlist. Don’t think getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance is a requirement for DSPD. You may acquire DSPD services prior to applying for SSDI benefits.

One last reminder if you haven’t yet applied for DSPD services click here or the image above just push past the overwhelm or pain points and apply.

Current DSPD Disability Statistics

Individuals with disabilities represent 25% of our population. In 2019, there were only 6,100 individuals receiving DSPD benefits in Utah with over 4,000 people on the waitlist. Don’t be discouraged, but let your state know there are more individuals to fund and be diligent to stay on the waitlist as it will make a difference in the quality of life of yourself and your loved one with a disability.

Examples of DSPD Funding

Examples of DSPD funding use MAY include some of the following:

  1. Medicaid health insurance waiver automatic when receiving DSPD services
  2. Respite Caregiving in the form of SAS (Self Administered Services)
  3. Respite or Supported Living Caregiving from (Caregiving Agency)
  4. Day Program Funding when your person with disabilities ages out of school
  5. Vocational Rehabilitation Services to build skills for a job, help to get a job, one on one job coach to teach or support them to work. (Voc Rehab funding will start from the State of Utah then eventually transfer to DSPD funding)
  6. Public Bus Pass for Paratransit Services to pick up your individual with disabilities to take to a day program or work
  7. Group or Host Home Residential Housing
  8. Various arrangements based on the needs of the individual with disabilities.

You are Off the Waitlist

When you are first funded with DSPD you will typically receive a one-time grant of $600 to $800 for respite caregiving. You need to demonstrate that you will learn how to utilize and need DSPD funding. If you don’t use ALL of the one-time grant then you might go back on the waitlist and not continue to be funded. It is very important that you utilize everything you were awarded.

You may receive a temporary one-time funding from the Utah State Legislature granting DSPD additional state funds. Use all of the funding you receive so you can demonstrate that you need annual funding.

Receiving Additional Utah DSPD Funding or Services

If you don’t use all of your DSPD funding in one year then you might be awarded a lesser amount the next year. There is a delicate balance between budgeting your funding for the year to use it all and not running out. They award funding based on usage and need.

Your funding may be low the first couple of years but as your individual with disabilities experiences a change of circumstances or life stage changes you can request that your coordinator asks the DSPD for additional funding or services. I don’t know.

An example of change in circumstance may be when your individual with disabilities is in their teenage years experiencing hormone changes with new behaviors affecting daily life. Your coordinator may request additional funding for caregiving. A letter from your physician may be helpful in a situation like this. You won’t see the letter your physician writes as it will be sent directly to DSPD themselves or through your coordinator.

Another change of circumstance may be when your child with disabilities ages out of high school and post-high school program at 22 years of age. Your coordinator could approach the state to request additional funding for a day program. To lay a strong foundation to be funded you want to have utilized all 4 years of the post-high school program combined with vocational rehabilitation to evaluate and see how your person with disabilities can interact and possibly work in the community.

What We Do at Giv.care

Giv.care is a caregiving agency that allows families to hire their own caregivers. We could help you with caregiver hiring, paperwork, payroll, background checks, reporting. Watch our short video below.

We are dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

If you liked this post, Utah DSPD Medicaid Waiver, you might also like:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *