(1) Application for services shall be made in writing to the agency, in the service area in which the applicant resides. The agency shall review each applicant for eligibility within 45 days after the date the application is signed for children under 6 years of age and within 60 days after the date the application is signed for all other applicants. When necessary to definitively identify individual conditions or needs, the agency shall provide a comprehensive assessment. Only applicants whose domicile is in Florida are eligible for services. Information accumulated by other agencies, including professional reports and collateral data, shall be considered in this process when available.
(2) In order to provide immediate services or crisis intervention to applicants, the agency shall arrange for emergency eligibility determination, with a full eligibility review to be accomplished within 45 days of the emergency eligibility determination.
(3) The agency shall notify each applicant, in writing, of its eligibility decision. Any applicant determined by the agency to be ineligible for services has the right to appeal this decision pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
(4) The agency shall assess the level of need and medical necessity for prospective residents of intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled. The agency may enter into an agreement with the Department of Elderly Affairs for its Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term-Care Services (CARES) program to conduct assessments to determine the level of need and medical necessity for long-term-care services under this chapter. To the extent permissible under federal law, the assessments shall be funded under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.
(5) The agency shall assign and provide priority to clients waiting for waiver services in the following order:
(a) Category 1, which includes clients deemed to be in crisis as described in rule, shall be given first priority in moving from the waiting list to the waiver.
(b) Category 2, which includes individuals on the waiting list who are: 1. From the child welfare system with an open case in the Department of Children and Families’ statewide automated child welfare information system and who are either:
a. Transitioning out of the child welfare system at the finalization of an adoption, a reunification with family members, a permanent placement with a relative, or a guardianship with a nonrelative; or
b. At least 18 years but not yet 22 years of age and who need both waiver services and extended foster care services; or
2. At least 18 years but not yet 22 years of age and who withdrew consent pursuant to s. 39.6251(5)(c) to remain in the extended foster care system.
For individuals who are at least 18 years but not yet 22 years of age and who are eligible under sub-subparagraph 1.b., the agency shall provide waiver services, including residential habilitation, and the community-based care lead agency shall fund room and board at the rate established in s. 409.145(3) and provide case management and related services as defined in s. 409.986(3)(e). Individuals may receive both waiver services and services under s. 39.6251. Services may not duplicate services available through the Medicaid state plan.
(c) Category 3, which includes, but is not required to be limited to, clients:
1. Whose caregiver has a documented condition that is expected to render the caregiver unable to provide care within the next 12 months and for whom a caregiver is required but no alternate caregiver is available;
2. At substantial risk of incarceration or court commitment without supports;
3. Whose documented behaviors or physical needs place them or their caregiver at risk of serious harm and other supports are not currently available to alleviate the situation; or
4. Who are identified as ready for discharge within the next year from a state mental health hospital or skilled nursing facility and who require a caregiver but for whom no caregiver is available or whose caregiver is unable to provide the care needed.
(d) Category 4, which includes, but is not required to be limited to, clients whose caregivers are 70 years of age or older and for whom a caregiver is required but no alternate caregiver is available.
(e) Category 5, which includes, but is not required to be limited to, clients who are expected to graduate within the next 12 months from secondary school and need support to obtain a meaningful day activity, maintain competitive employment, or pursue an accredited program of postsecondary education to which they have been accepted.
(f) Category 6, which includes clients 21 years of age or older who do not meet the criteria for category 1, category 2, category 3, category 4, or category 5.
(g) Category 7, which includes clients younger than 21 years of age who do not meet the criteria for category 1, category 2, category 3, or category 4.
Within categories 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the agency shall maintain a waiting list of clients placed in the order of the date that the client is determined eligible for waiver services.
(6) The agency shall allow an individual who meets the eligibility requirements of subsection (1) to receive home and community-based services in this state if the individual’s parent or legal guardian is an active-duty military servicemember and if, at the time of the servicemember’s transfer to this state, the individual was receiving home and community-based services in another state.
(7) The agency shall allow an individual with a diagnosis of Phelan-McDermid syndrome who meets the eligibility requirements of subsection (1) to receive home and community-based services.
(8) Agency action that selects individuals to receive waiver services pursuant to this section does not establish a right to a hearing or an administrative proceeding under chapter 120 for individuals remaining on the waiting list.
(9) The client, the client’s guardian, or the client’s family must ensure that accurate, up-to-date contact information is provided to the agency at all times. Notwithstanding s. 393.0651, the agency shall send an annual letter requesting updated information from the client, the client’s guardian, or the client’s family. The agency shall remove from the waiting list any individual who cannot be located using the contact information provided to the agency, fails to meet eligibility requirements, or becomes domiciled outside the state. (10)(a) The agency shall provide the following information to all applicants or their parents, legal guardians, or family members:
1. A brief overview of the vocational rehabilitation services offered through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Education, including a hyperlink or website address that provides access to the application for such services;
2. A brief overview of the Florida ABLE program as established under s. 1009.986, including a hyperlink or website address that provides access to the application for establishing an ABLE account as defined in s. 1009.986(2);
3. A brief overview of the supplemental security income benefits and social security disability income benefits available under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, as amended, including a hyperlink or website address that provides access to the application for such benefits;
4. A statement indicating that the applicant’s local public school district may provide specialized instructional services, including transition programs, for students with special education needs;
5. A brief overview of programs and services funded through the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities, including contact information for each state-approved Florida Postsecondary Comprehensive Transition Program;
6. A brief overview of decisionmaking options for individuals with disabilities, guardianship under chapter 744, and alternatives to guardianship as defined in s. 744.334(1), which may include contact information for organizations that the agency believes would be helpful in assisting with such decisions;
7. A brief overview of the referral tools made available through the agency, including a hyperlink or website address that provides access to such tools; and
8. A statement indicating that some waiver providers may serve private-pay individuals.
(b) The agency must provide the information required in paragraph (a) in writing to an applicant or his or her parent, legal guardian, or family member along with a written disclosure statement in substantially the following form:
Each program and service has its own eligibility requirements. By providing the information specified in section 393.065(10)(a), Florida Statutes, the agency does not guarantee an applicant’s eligibility for or enrollment in any program or service.
(c) The agency shall also publish the information required in paragraph (a) and the disclosure statement in paragraph (b) on its website, and shall provide that information and statement annually to each applicant placed on the waiting list or to the parent, legal guardian, or family member of such applicant.
(11) The agency and the Agency for Health Care Administration may adopt rules specifying application procedures, criteria associated with the waiting list categories, procedures for administering the waiting list, including tools for prioritizing waiver enrollment within categories, and eligibility criteria as needed to administer this section.