State Backlog of Disabled Services Hurting Families

The state has admitted to a backlog in processing benefits for the disabled and some families have been waiting six months for critical services.

18-year-old Ronnie Nickerson loves to play sports, but the wheelchair bound young man is deaf and has spina bifida. He needs the regular help of a personal care attendant.

Ronnie's mom Deborah says attendants help the disabled with everything from medical needs to bathing to cooking.

“His health will be compromised if he doesn't have those services. It is that critical for him,” she says.

But all of sudden the state assistance for Ronnie's attendant stopped.

“On September 2, the check stopped going to the attendants,” Deborah says. “No one had shared any information with us. No one warned us this might happen.”

Deborah quickly learned she wasn't alone. Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities discovered hundreds of moms in the Commonwealth were experiencing the same thing – some waiting months for authorization waivers for once approved services, meaning they couldn't pay their attendant.

“The initial reaction is you panic because the reason our children or loved ones have these services is to keep them out of nursing home or keep them out of institutions.”

In a memo 8News obtained, the Department of Medical Assistance Services also known as DMAS admitted there's been a processing backlog.

DMAS says it's hired extra staff and plans to clear the back log no later than Friday.

Deborah hopes so. While some families have lost their attendant, she's been paying out of pocket but says she can't do it much longer.

For a complete statement of DMAS admitting to the backlog, click here.


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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