Family Disability Services Little GirlWhat is a developmental disability?

According to state law (AS. 47.80.900 (7), the term developmental disability (DD) means a severe, chronic disability that:

Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the individual attains age 22; is likely to continue indefinitely, and results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:

  • self care;
  • receptive and expressive language;
  • learning;
  • mobility;
  • self direction; capacity for independent living;
  • economic self-sufficiency;

and reflects the person’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic assistance, supports or other services that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

Examples of types of developmental disabilities are intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, and seizure disorder. Mental illness and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may also be developmental disabilities. However, the disability must result in substantial functional limitations and meet the other criteria in the definition in order to qualify as a DD.

I am new to Alaska, and my child (family member) has a disability, what is the process for getting services in Alaska?

In order for a person with an intellectual and developmental disability to receive help through the State of Alaska, they must be determined developmentally disabled as defined by state law (see above). Fill out the Eligibility Determination and Request for Services Application Packet to begin the process.

What is the difference between regular Medicaid and the Medicaid waiver?

Regular Medicaid provides medical coverage to people who meet certain income limits. The Medicaid waiver provides autonomy to people with a developmental disability and those who would otherwise need an institutional level of care. The waiver allows people who qualify to live in their home and community of choice while receiving the care they need.

What is TEFRA?

TEFRA provides standard medical coverage for children with disabilities who live at home, who do not qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to parental income, and who meet certain disability requirements.

My child currently has waiver services through another agency. Can I receive services from more than one agency?

Yes. Families can choose to receive services from as many agencies as they choose. Your care coordinator can help you with this.

How do I switch services from one agency to another?

Contact your care coordinator for assistance. It is within your rights to switch services if you feel a different agency will be a better fit for your family.

How do I get my friend or family member to become a family-directed respite provider?

They will need to come in to our office and fill out an application that includes a background check, possible fingerprinting, W-9, etc. First Aid & CPR is required. They may not live in the same household Please contact Program Director Sara Kurtz ( or 907-222-7371) for family-directed respite provider forms.