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Home  •  Waiver & Medicaid Services  •  Innovations  •  How to Apply for the Innovations Waiver

Innovations Waiver


How to Apply for the Innovations Waiver

A parent/legal guardian for an eligible child should start an application for the Innovations waiver as soon as the child receives a diagnosis of either (1) an intellectual or developmental disability or (2) a genetic diagnosis that includes a high likelihood of an I/DD. Each county is managed by their chosen Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO), so the parents/legal guardians will start the process by contacting the LME/MCO for their county of residence and requesting an application for the Innovations Waiver (The Innovations Waiver application is also called the referral form for the Registry of Unmet Need. The Registry of Unmet Need is the waiting list for the Innovations Waiver.) A LME/MCO representative will need to collect basic demographic information, as well as complete a more in-depth interview about things the child can and can’t do on their own. The in-depth interview may require a separate phone call. The parent/legal guardian will also be asked to submit documentation of the I/DD diagnosis (e.g, doctor’s visit note, formal evaluation, etc). 

Once the LME/MCO receives the documentation confirming the child’s diagnosis, the parent/legal guardian will receive a letter in the mail stating that the child has been placed on the Registry of Unmet Needs. (At this time, due to the length of the waiting lists in most NC counties, most, if not all applicants, will receive confirmation of a county-specific waiting list position on the Registry of Unmet Needs.) It is important that the parent/legal guardian hold onto this letter, as it has the date the child was added to the list. In rare instances, children have been lost and dropped from the list, so the parent/legal guardian should retain the letter to have proof of the date their child was added to the list. It’s always a good idea to check in yearly with the LME/MCO to confirm the child’s current waiting list position and estimated wait time.

If the family moves to a different county, the parent/legal guardian will need to inform the original county’s LME/MCO, as well as the new county’s LME/MCO, if they are different. If they happen to be the same LME/MCO, the parent/legal guardian needs to provide an updated address to ensure that any communication about a waiver spot will be received, since a change in county may alter the wait time. 

If the eligible child already has Medicaid, they can receive certain services called 1915(i) services, while on the Registry of Unmet Need waiting for a waiver spot. See our 1915(i) services page for more information.