What is a Developmental Disability (DD)?

A developmental disability is defined as a cognitive and/or physical impairment that is manifested before the age of 22, continues indefinitely, and results in limitations in three of the following life areas:


Receptive/expressive language




Capacity for independent living

Economic self-sufficiency


Georgia Facts:

One out of every six children are diagnosed with a DD. 2

Approximately 165,000 Georgians are living with a DD. 5

75% of individuals with a DD live with a family caregiver, 17% live alone or with a roommate and 8% live in a supervised residential setting. 1

19% of individuals with a developmental disability live with a family caregiver who is 60 or older. 2

70% of people with a DD are unemployed. 5

Supported employees return a net benefit to taxpayers of $1.46 for every dollar invested in Supported Employment.1

30% of Georgians with a disability over the age of 16 live in households with total incomes under $15,000.1

12,000 individuals with a DD are being served with a Medicaid waiver. 5

Approximately 8,200 Georgians with a DD are on the waiting list for a Medicaid Waiver. 5

Georgia ranks 46th in the nation for spending per person on the Home and Community Based Services Waiver. 4


1Braddock, David, Richard R. Hemp and Mary C. Rizzolo (2008). “The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities: 2008.” Washington, DC: American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
2Boyle, Coleen A., Sheree Boulet, Laura A. Schieve, Robin A. Cohen, Stephen J. Blumberg, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Susan Visser, Michael D. Kogan (2011). “Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008.” Pediatrics, 127(6):1034-1042.
3Cimera, Robert E. (2010). “National Cost Efficiency of Supported Employees With Intellectual Disabilities: 2002 to 2007.” American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115(1):19-29.
4Eiken, Steve, Kate Sredl, Lisa Gold, Jessica Kasten, Brian Burwell and Paul Saucier (2014). “Medicaid Expenditures for Long-Term Services and Supports in FFY 2012.” Report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under Contract No. HHSM-500-2010-000261.
5Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (2011). “Five Year Strategic Plan, FFY 2011–2016.” Available at http://www.gcdd.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/GCDD-Strategic-Plan4.pdf
6Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (2015). “Regional Information of the Planning List.” Available at http://dbhdd.georgia.gov/dd-planning-lists


About the Medicaid Waivers:

Georgia has several Medicaid waiver programs including the New Options Waiver (NOW) and the

Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP).


The NOW provides support for individuals with a DD who do not need 24-hour care and live either

with family members or in their own home. These waivers can provide up to $25,000 a year and are

intended for people who need less intensive services.


The COMP is intended for individuals with a DD who need a full range of out-of-home services or

intensive in-home services. The COMP pays for services that exceed $25,000 a year.


Services provided through a Medicaid waiver include, but are not limited to: case management,

occupational and physical therapy, behavioral support, supported employment, home and

community living support, adult day health services, transportation, specialized medical equipment

and supplies, and respite care.


One-third of the cost of the Medicaid waiver is funded by the state and two-thirds by the federal