Nearly 200K disabled Texans are waiting for help, some for a decade

MM Curator summary

[MM Curator Summary]: Texas has 6 different waivers for HCBS, and hundreds of thousands of people are waiting to get services on them. But sure, lets expand Medicaid to much healthier members first.


The article below has been highlighted and summarized by our research team. It is provided here for member convenience as part of our Curator service.



An open bible sits next to Chase Brown’s computer in his bedroom in his home south of Spring Branch. Brown spends a lot of time studying his bible and wants to become a minister. Employment training provided through a Medicaid waiver program, which use state and federal funds to get people care in the community instead of in an institution, could help him achieve that goal, but he has been waiting 11 years and counting for those services. 

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Texas has six Medicaid waiver programs for people with disabilities, which allow the state to use a combination of state and Medicaid funds for services to keep residents living in the community instead of in hospitals or nursing homes.

Services covered by these programs include personal care like dressing or bathing, therapies and short-term relief for caregivers, known as respite care.

About 170,000 people are waiting for access to one or more of these programs. While each program has its own waitlist, residents often add their name to more than one program list to give more opportunities to get care more quickly. is FREE for you to explore, July 12-14.

FREE ACCESS: July 12-14

The six programs are as follows, and the data is as of March:

  • Home and Community-based Services: provides services and supports to children and adults with an intellectual disability or a related condition who live in their own home, a family members’ home or a group home with no more than four people.
    Enrollment: 29,665    
    Waitlist: 108,838
  • Texas Home Living: provides services to children and adults with an intellectual disability or related condition while they live in their own home or a family’s home
    Enrollment: 3,965    
    Waitlist: 96,893

  • Community Living Assistance and Support Services: provides home and community services to children and adults with an intellectual disability or a related condition, such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, that occurred before age 22.  
    Enrollment: 6,021    
    Waitlist: 78,259

  • Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities: provides services to children and adults who are deaf-blind or have a related condition that leads to deaf-blindness and have another disability.
    Enrollment: 313    
    Waitlist: 1,239

  • Medically Dependent Children Program: Provides services to children and adults who are 20 or younger nad are medically fragile as an alternative to a nursing facility.
    Enrollment: 5,689    
    Waitlist: 7,650

  • STAR+PLUS Home and Community Based Services: provides services for adults 21 and older to keep them out of a nursing home and in their community.
    Enrollment: 62,738    
    Waitlist: 19723

To add your name to the waiting list for the Home and Community-based Services or Texas Home Living programs, contact your Local Intellectual or Developmental Disability Authority. Their contact information can be found here. For the other four programs, call 1-877-438-5658.

Alex Stuckey is an investigative reporter with the Houston Chronicle. She can be reached at or

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Written By

Alex Stuckey

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Alex Stuckey is an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Prize and 2022 Livingston Award winner. She also received the Charles E. Green Award for Star Reporter of the Year in 2022.

Since graduating college in 2012, journalism has taken her to five different states, where she’s covered a nuclear research facility, the Missouri Legislature, the mishandling of sexual assault reports at colleges and universities and even NASA. Her reporting throughout the years has put two people in prison, resulted in federal investigations at higher education institutions and overhauled broken policies at the state and local level.

She loves falling down information rabbit holes, playing in spreadsheets and listening to Gilmore Girls on repeat at work.

When she’s off the clock, you can usually find her playing with her dogs, Waffle and Moby, curled up on the couch with a good book or on her yoga mat.


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