Broker Check

Changes to Disability Laws in CT

July 22, 2023

On June 27, 2023, the CT legislature passed Public Act 23-137, a sweeping 92 page law affecting individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The full text of the law can be found here - https://cga.ct.gov/2023/ACT/PA/PDF/2023PA-00137-R00HB-05001-PA.PDF. Some of the changes go into effect immediately, some over time. Some provisions may be currently unfunded. Note that I have not summarized most provisions relating to school services, as SPED attorneys and advocates are better equipped to describe those changes. Here is a brief summary of some of the 68 different law changes that were enacted. 

Changes to Department of Developmental (DDS) Services

  • Sec. 1 (effective 7/1/2023). DDS will establish a Transitional Life Skills College program for individuals with IDD.
  • Sec. 3 (effective 7/1/2023). DDS shall reduce waiting lists for Medicaid waiver services for individuals served by DDS (IDD, but not Autism). By 1/1/2024, a new staff member will file a report about the status of this.
    • It is unclear if there is money attached to this.
  • Sec. 4 (effective 7/1/2023). By 1/1/2025, DDS, Department of Social Services (DSS) and various state agencies will (a) develop and recommend new statutory definitions of Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability, (b) evaluate whether IQ should be a factor and (c) evaluate the Level of Need (LON) system.
    • This is huge. CT may finally be moving on from being an ID state.
  • Sec. 14 (effective 10/1/2023). By 10/1/2023, OPM will hire a state-wide IDD (non-autism) services coordinator.
  • Sec. 12 (effective 7/1/2023). By 12/1/2023, DDS, along with the Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Council and ADS, will review whether changes are needed to further protect the civil rights of individuals with IDD.
  • Sec. 60 (effective 11/1/2023 or later). Parents and other relatives may be able to be paid as PCAs through through their child's self-directed DDS budget. This is subject to approval by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (DDS must submit an application by 11/1/2023). 
    • Due to the language limiting this to DDS, this most likely will not affect Community First Choice PCAs, as that program is administered by the DSS.

Changes to Autism Waiver Services

  • Sec. 4 (effective 7/1/2023). By 1/1/2025, DDS, DSS and various state agencies will (a) develop and recommend new statutory definitions of Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability, (b) evaluate whether IQ should be a factor and (c) evaluate the Level of Need (LON) system.
    • This is huge. CT may finally be moving on from being an ID state.
  • Sec. 5 (effective 7/1/2023). DSS and OPM will expand the Autism Waiver and reduce the wait list.
    • It is unclear how much money is assigned to this and how many individuals on the wait list will be affected.
  • Sec. 14 (effective 10/1/2023). By 10/1/2023, OPM will hire a state-wide Autism services coordinator

Changes to School Services for Individuals with Disabilities

  • Sec. 32 (effective 7/1/2023). Students with an IEP who don't graduate can now stay in the school transition program until the end of the school year they turn 22
    • This is an update to the recent court case allowing students to stay in the transition program until their 22nd birthday. This is a win for students, but may create havoc with school budgets this year.

Changes to ABLE Accounts

  • Sec. 56 (effective 10/1/2023). CT will hire an ABLE Account coordinator.
  • Sec. 57 (effective 1/1/2024). New CT state tax deduction for ABLE account contributions ($5,000 for singles, $10,000 for marrieds). Contributions ust be to CT ABLE plan.
    • This puts ABLE accounts on par with the CT 529 plan for tax deductible contributions. May encourage greater use of CT ABLE Accounts.
  • Sec. 58 (effective 1/1/2024). Employers can get state tax deduction for up to $2,500 contribution to ABLE accounts for their employees.
    • It is unclear whether this will be "income" for the employee.
  • Sec. 59 (effective 10/1/2023). CT ABLE accounts will no longer be subject to Medicaid paybacks at the death of the beneficiary.
    • Very big change and a huge incentive to use the CT ABLE account vs. other states

Changes to Housing Programs

  • Sec. 53 (effective 7/1/2023). DDS will provide $15mm in grants ($5mm per region) to non-profit agencies to develop housing for the IDD population. Guidelines are to be developed by 7/1/2024. 
    • These grants will not be given until after the guidelines are set up in 7/2024.
  • Sec. 55 (effective 10/1/2023). Affordable housing plans by municipalities must include provisions for the IDD population.

Changes to Disability Job Programs

  • Sec. 61 (effective 1/1/2024). Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities added to the JobsCT tax rebate program
    • Unclear if this will be effective, as the minimum salary to participate is $37,500, more than most individuals with ID make (or want to make).
  • Sec. 63 (effective 7/1/2023). Grants to non-profits that have IDD workforces of 10-30% ($25k) and 30+% ($75k).

Other Changes affecting Individuals with Disabilities

  • Sec. 17 (effective 7/1/2023). May 23 is now Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness and Advocacy Day.
  • Sec, 64 (effective 10/1/2023). Initial child support orders after 10/1/2023 for a child with an intellectual, physical disability or mental disability can be ordered through age 26.
    • Huge for custodial parents caring for an adult with disabilities. Old limit was age 21. Disappointing that it does not (a) cover developmental disabilities or Autism (although some of those may fall under mental disability) and (b) child support orders made prior to 10/1/2023.