The List
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ASERT
Resource Center

The ASERT Resource Center serves as Pennsylvania’s leading source for up-to-date and accurate information and resources for individuals with autism, their families, the community and the professionals who support them. Contact the ASERT resource center to speak with a resource specialist who can help you learn how to discover and access resources in Pennsylvania. The resource center is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

When should I contact the Resource Center?

If you have additional questions about information you found on PAautism.org or would like to invite an outreach specialist to attend an event, conference, or support group, someone at the resource center can assist you.

Be sure to visit the following pages below here on PAautism.org to find helpful information. If you still have additional questions, contact the Resource Center.

By phone
M-F 8:00am to 5:00pm EST
1-877-231-4244

Are you located outside of Pennsylvania?
The ASERT resource center is focused on specific resources in Pennsylvania. If you are in another state, the resources specialists will not be able to help you. Please visit the resources section of PAautism.org, as some of the online resources may be applicable to residents of other states.

The List

The List refers to the Interest List for the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) and Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP), the two programs offered in Pennsylvania to provide support to adults with autism. These programs are administered by the Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) and are available for individuals who live in the state of Pennsylvania, have a documented diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and are at least 21 years-old.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good question! In order to grow the program and expand capacity, the Bureau of Autism Services must show that there is a need for the program and a need for expansion. While there is plenty of data showing the growing number of young adults in the state with autism (PA Autism Census Data), if those people are not saying they need services by getting on the Interest List, the programs will not receive additional funding for expansion.

There is currently an estimated 2-3 year wait* for services through the AAW (*note this is just an ESTIMATE, it is not a guarantee). Most people choose to request an application around age 17 or 18 with the hope that by the time they turn 21 they will be close to receiving services. Other individuals choose to do it sooner than that (and some choose to do it much later). It really is a personal choice but one that should be discussed during transition planning.

Unfortunately, an individual may only receive services through one waiver at a time. However, they may request services through multiple waivers if they are eligible. Many people are on the waiting list for ID waivers (Consolidated or P/FDS) and the AAW at the same time and take the waiver that is able to support them first. It is important to note that while the individual may be eligible for different waivers, they all offer different services and may meet different needs. It is important to consider these differences when choosing a waiver.

The intake process starts with a call from the individual who wishes to apply, or someone calling their behalf. Providing basic information including name, address, telephone number and county of residence is all that is required to be placed on the interest list.

Yes! Now there is an online option to request an application. By using the new Information Referral Tool (IRT), you can request an application as well as get information about other relevant programs and supports. Visit http://www.dhs.pa.gov/irt if you would like to explore the online application request.

Within a few days, an Enrollment Coordinator will contact the individual to confirm placement on the Interest List and gather additional information. Within a week of the call with the Enrollment Coordinator, a status letter is sent out that includes information about when the request for an application was received and whether the individual has been placed in the Priority 1 or Priority 2 category. If the individual is receiving services through a long-term care facility (e.g., state center, nursing home) or another waiver program, they are considered Priority 2. If no services are being received, they are Priority 1. Receiving services through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will not result in placement in the Priority 2 category.

The application process! However, this step may not happen for a while. Why you ask? Applications are only sent out when there is capacity in the program. Basically this means applications aren’t sent out until there is room in the waiver to provide services to new individuals. This is dependent on new funding to expand the program or if an individual leaves the program, meaning someone could be on the Interest List for a long time before receiving an application. Once an application is sent, the 3 step application process begins.

Step 1: The Application Packet includes a 3-page form that confirms the individual meets the basic program requirements, a medical evaluation form (MA-51), Service Preference Form, HIPAA Release Form, and the Medical Assistance Application and Release of Information forms. This packet must be completed and returned within 21 days, but an extension of an additional 30 days may be granted if needed.

Step 2: Within 10 business days a BAS-appointed assessor will complete the functional eligibility assessment. This assessment reviewed an individual’s ability to: manage self-care, understand and use receptive/expressive language, learn, be self-directed, live independently and be mobile.

Step 3: If eligibility has been met in the previous two steps, the final step is determining financial eligibility. BAS contacts the County Assistance Office to ensure the individual meets the requirements for Medical Assistance. Even if an individual receives MA, the County Assistance Office needs to confirm financial eligibility. To meet eligibility for the Adult Autism Waiver, financial eligibility is based on 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate which is the same as the SSI Standard Benefit Amount (for 2016 the FBR is $733/month for an individual).

Once these steps are completed, the person is notified if they have met eligibility or not. If you don’t meet eligibility, you may receive a letter from BAS or the County Assistance Office. If you do not meet eligibility based on Step 1 or 2 in the process (outlined above), the letter will come from BAS. If you do not meet eligibility for Step 3 (financial reasons) the notice will come from the County Assistance Office. If you meet all eligibility criteria, the enrollment process begins.

On average, the enrollment process can take 3-5 months. BAS will send out a Welcome Packet which includes:

  • AW Participant Handbook
  • List of enrolled Supports Coordination Agencies
  • SC Choice Form

BAS will be the main point of contact during this part of enrollment, making sure information has been received, answering any questions and helping choose a Supports Coordinator agency if needed. Once a Supports Coordinator agency has been chosen and a Supports Coordinator assigned, that person takes over responsibility for arranging all other services within the AAW and developing the Individual Support Plan. At that point, the individual is officially an Adult Autism Waiver participant!

For more information about The List and the overall application process, watch the video from BAS.

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For more information about The List and the overall application process, check out this video from BAS

Watch video

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