Employment and Community First CHOICES Program Enrollment Open Now!

July 7, 2016 - |

*Parts of this information were taken directly from TennCare’s website. See original posting at: http://www.tn.gov/tenncare/article/employment-and-community-first-choices-referral*

On July 1, 2016, Tennessee started a new program for people with intellectual and other kinds of developmental disabilities. This new program is called Employment and Community First CHOICES. Services in the new program will help people become employed and live as independently as possible in the community. For people who are not ready for a job in the community, the new program offers services to help prepare for employment. There is funding to serve up to 1,700 people in the first year. This means that not everyone who wants to apply can enroll or get services right away. There will be a referral list for Employment and Community First CHOICES. To get on the referral list, you can complete a self-referral.

Filling out the self–referral for Employment and Community First does not mean you will be enrolled in the new program. You must qualify to enroll in the program. There must be room in the new program to enroll you. AND, you must be in one of the groups that can try to qualify for the new program first.

Below you can find the self-referral for the new program.

Employment and Community First CHOICES Self-Referral

Be sure your web browser (used to access information on the web or internet) is Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, or 10, Google Chrome or Firefox.

Do you need help to complete the self-referral?

If you have TennCare and your health plan is Amerigroup or BlueCare, you can call them for free. Tell them you need help with a self-referral for Employment and Community First CHOICES. The number is on your TennCare card. The toll-free numbers are also listed below:

  • Amerigroup 866-840-4991
  • BlueCare 888-747-8955

What if you’re not on TennCare? OR, what if United Healthcare Community Plan is your TennCare health plan? You can call your Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Regional Office for free. Tell them you need help with a self-referral for Employment and Community First CHOICES. Their toll-free numbers are listed below.

  • West Tennessee Regional Office (866) 372-5709
  • Middle Tennessee Regional Office (800) 654-4839
  • East Tennessee Regional Office (888) 531-9876

Once TennCare receives the self-referral, they will mail a notice letting the person know they have received it. In addition to the notice that TennCare will mail, each person completing a self-referral form will receive an online confirmation message with a unique ID number as follows: “The Item ##### was successfully submitted.” If essential data fields are missing when the person tries to submit, an error message will identify missing data fields, and the confirmation message will NOT be given. The form cannot be printed and submitted via paper or fax.

Beginning July 1, 2016, enrollment from the waiting list into the Self-Determination and Statewide Waivers has ended.

Enrollment into the CAC waiver is limited ONLY to:

  • Members of the former Arlington class
  • Current Clover Bottom class
  • People leaving Greene Valley Developmental Center after staying there at least 9o days
  • People leaving Harold Jordan Center after staying there at least 9o days

People on the waiting list for one of the Section 1915(c) waivers will be automatically placed on the referral list for Employment and Community First CHOICES.

  • They do not have to respond to the letter or complete a self-referral to be on the referral list.

However, if a person believes they qualify in any of the groups that are prioritized for enrollment first (that “get the chance to see if they qualify to enroll first”), they should complete a self-referral to give us that additional information.

  • In that case, they should advise in the self-referral form that they are on the current waiting list.

Groups prioritized for enrollment (in plain language-behave previously sent you the “policy” document) include:

  • People who have an intellectual disability and whose primary caregiver (the person who provides most of their unpaid support) is age 75 or older.
  • People who have a job in the community (not a sheltered workshop) and need help to keep their job
  • People age 18-22 who are about to finish school and have a job in the community. They can start when they finish school if they have the right help in place.
  • People who recently lost their job and need help to get and keep a new job.
  • People whose primary caregiver recently passed away or is permanently incapacitated (by a physical or mental health problem or disability), and have no other caregiver available to support them.
  • People who are being abused, neglected, or exploited where they live now, have no other available living arrangement, and must move to prevent further abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • People who need these services to move out of a nursing home or an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID) into a home in the community.
  • People who are in immediate and ongoing risk of serious harm or danger, or who place others around them at immediate and ongoing risk of serious harm. Other things have been tried but didn’t help reduce the risk of serious harm, and the person needs these services to help keep them and others safe.
  • People who have two or more complex health problems that keep them from being able to work, and are in urgent need of supports in order to keep living where they do now.

Other groups that may open up soon (once people in the initial groups have had the chance to apply) include:

  • People age 18 to 22 who are about to finish school. They don’t have a job yet, but want to work and need help to find and keep a job in the community.
  • People of any age who don’t have a job yet, but want to work and need help to find and keep a job in the community.
  • Children age 14-21 who are planning to work when they leave school and need supports to get ready for work that they can’t get from their school or Vocational Rehabilitation.