Common Barriers

Unlike public education, adult in-home and other community living services are not mandated. As a result there are waiting lists for services for Indiana families. The Arc of Indiana estimates that there are approximately 5,000 Hoosiers on waiting lists for community services. It may take years from the time of application for funding for supports to become available.

Individuals and families must apply with more than one agency to access in-home and other community living services.

Having a place of one's own with the supports needed is new territory for many in Indiana. Being able to secure services and supports that are individualized, flexible and of high quality can be a daunting task compounded by many obstacles.

Choices remain limited in the area of developmental disabilities services. Agencies largely control the funding that is available to support you in your home.

In many communities there are waiting lists for access to affordable housing (e.g., Section 8 rental assistance for people with low incomes).


  • Note: You do not have to move from your family home to receive in-home and community living supports.
  • Apply now for services with both BDDS and Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

    If you plan on remaining within the family home and needs some additional assistance, now or in the future, apply at the BDDS office for the Medicaid Waiver and CHOICE programs. BDDS may refer you to AAA if necessary. Each program funds services for adults and children. Parental income is excluded in the application for Medicaid Waiver funded services.

    If you are interested in living outside of the family home after graduation, with assistance from community service organizations, it is strongly recommended that you apply for services no later than your fifteenth (15th) birthday. Apply for services through BDDS (the first point of entry) and the AAA office (the second point of entry). There is currently a waiting list for community services of approximately 5,000 people with disabilities. In many instances, people have been waiting for years for assistance.

  • Organize the information you will need for the applications for services in a three-ring binder. Information requested may include the following:
    • Student Social Security card or number
    • Birth certificate or baptismal record
    • Copies of and / or sources for medical records (physician names, addresses, telephone numbers)
    • Health insurance policy numbers
    • Current medications
    • Names of "case managers," teachers, and other agency contacts
    • Copies of correspondence with agencies
    • School records or sources for school records (e.g., school and address)
    • Income
  • Follow-up on a regular basis (e.g., every 3 to 6 months) with your designated BDDS and AAA service coordinators / case managers. Check on the status of your application to determine if any additional opportunities for services have developed.
  • Inform your legislators of your interest in supports to live in your own home or with your family. Let them know what is working with Indiana's community living services and what barriers you are encountering.
  • Join with other individuals with disabilities and family members to advocate for sufficient state and federal resources to support people to live and work in the community. Organizations that have assumed a leadership role in central Indiana for increased opportunities for community living for people with disabilities include the following:

    The Arc of Indiana
    107 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite 800
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    Phone: 317-977-2375 or 800-382-9100
    Mission: The Arc mission includes a commitment to families and provides a forum for individuals and families to join together to inspire positive change in public policy and public attitudes.

    Council of Volunteers & Organizations for Hoosiers with Disabilities (COVOH)
    445 N. Pennsylvania St., Ste. 414
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    Phone: 317-262-8632
    Purpose: COVOH is a not-for-profit coalition of statewide, regional and local programs for people with disabilities. COVOH's mission is to work collaboratively to enhance development of an integrated and inclusive society that is driven by a philosophy of service assuring individual choice and autonomy for individuals with disabilities and their families.

    5302 East Washington Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46219
    Phone: 317-926-1660 or 866-794-7245
    Purpose: an Independent Living Center, committed to serving people with disabilities who live in Central Indiana by building advocacy and inclusive communities. accessABILITY is governed by people with disabilities and was established to assist people in creating the supports needed to achieve independence. Services offered include information and referral, peer counseling and independent living skills training. Staff and volunteers with disabilities have personal experience with community living services and supports and are available to share their experience, knowledge and skills with you and your family members.

    Call each of these organizations to determine what opportunities exist for you to join with others and / or for guidance in working through barriers encountered in your efforts to secure support services.

  • Finally, seek out other individuals with experience.