An IDD Glossary
Common terms and acronyms around IDD

ADA – Acronym for _The Americans with Disabilities Act _of 1990, this comprehensive federal civil rights law makes it unlawful to discriminate in private sector employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in housing, state and local government services, employment, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunication.

Accessibility – Modification of buildings, curbs and other physical structures to allow easy movement and admittance by a person with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandates accessibility to all public and private facilities. Modifications might include ramps, the use of Braille, or sound adaptations for example.

Accommodation – A change or adjustment to program rules that allows a person with a disability to make special requests to access the program.

Advocacy – Parents (or families), organizations, and/or volunteers working on behalf of the rights and interests of others (such as people with disabilities).

APS (Adult Protective Services) – Social service program authorized by law in every state to receive and investigate reports of elder or vulnerable adult maltreatment and to intervene to protect the victims to the extent possible. The National Adult Protective Services Association can help you find the APS agency in your state.

Arc – An agency that collaboratively provides leadership in addressing the choices and needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Find a local chapter at

Basic Plus Waiver (WA State) – Waiver program for Washington State children and adults living in the family home or other community-based setting whose ability to continue being supported in that setting is at risk without additional services.

Caregiver – Broadly defined as an individual or provider organization responsible for the care and support of those in need. Often includes family members.

Case Manager – A person responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing a person's Person-Centered Service Plan. May also be called a Service Coordinator.

Community First Choice (CFC) – Alllows states to provide home and community-based attendant services and supports to eligible Medicaid enrollees under their state plan. This state plan option was established under the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Core Waiver (WA State) – For children and adults in Washington State at immediate risk of out-of-home placement who: have a need that cannot be met by the Basic Plus waiver and may need up to 24-hour residential services that include training and education; or who may require daily to weekly one-on-one support for physical or health need.

Developmental Disability (DD) - A group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. The Centers for Disease Control provides helpful information on development disabilities.

Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) In WA State, the Development Disabilities Administration or DDA provides a coordinated service delivery system for people with developmental disabilities, partnering with people with developmental disabilities and their families to provide leadership and resources to enable these individuals in living fulfilling lives. They are guided by the principle that individuals with developmental disabilities have the right to direct their lives and services.

Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) – Washington State's administrative organization for assistance with food, cash, medical needs, housing assistance, child support, vocational rehabilitation, adult care, mental health services, and disability support. Learn more at Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Learn about services in other states at the US Department of Health & Human Services.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) – a Washington State resource assisting people with disabilities to prepare for, secure, maintain, advance in, or regain employment.

Direct Support – Hands-on cuing or supervision, and other related services and support to an individual with a disability aimed at enabling the person to live as independent, integrated, and self-determined a life as possible.

Disabled Family or Household – According to HUD, a disabled family or household is defined as a single adult with a disability living alone; one or more unrelated disabled adults living with one or more live-in aides; a related family in which the head of household or their spouse is a disabled adult; two or more related adults with disabilities living together; or two or more unrelated adults with disabilities living together.

Eligibility – A situation in which an individual is found to meet those criteria set forth in the Intake policy that would allow him/her to access and receive services through the state.

Guardian – A person or agency assuming limited or unlimited authority to make decisions for a minor or adult who has been determined to be incompetent in a court of law. Includes medical guardianships, guardianship of the person, and guardian of the estate.

Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) The housing choice voucher program (commonly known as Section 8) provides assistance to very low-income families to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Housing can include single-family homes, townhouses, or apartments and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – A federal program that provides subsidized housing for low-income persons. Learn more at

Healthcare for Workers with Disabilities (HWD) – The HWD medical program recognizes the employment potential of people with disabilities. The enactment of the federal Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA) of 1999 enables many people with disabilities to work and keep their health care. As a Categorically Needy (CN) Medicaid program, HWD provides access to Medicaid CFC hours and Home and Community Based (HCB) waiver programs.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) – A category of disabilities that includes many severe, chronic conditions due to mental and or physical impairments. IDD can begin at any time up to 18 years of age.

Individual & Family Service (IFS) Waiver (WA state) – Waiver program specifically for for children and adults living in the family home. Learn more at

Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE) – Costs for items or services that a person needs to work, due to their disability. Social Security will deduct the costs of an IRWE from their countable income when determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

Job Coach – In supported employment, a person who provides job placement, training, and sometimes follow-along services to a worker with a disability.

Live-in-Aide – A person who resides with an elderly person or a person with a disability and who: Is considered essential to the care and well-being of the person(s); is not obligated for the support of the person(s); and would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services.

Medicaid – A health care program serving eligible low-income persons with disabilities whose income and assets are below specific levels. Generally available to persons receiving SSI or SSI work incentives.

Public Housing Authority (PHA) – A state, county, municipality, or other governmental entity or public body authorized to engage in or assist in the development or operation of low-income housing, including an Indian public housing authority.

Benefits And Housing Review (RA) – Partners4Housing's Benefits And Housing Review provides an overview of a family member’s lifestyle preferences, desired living environment, favorite social activities, support needs, benefits and services, and other resources. It also provides us with an overview of your family’s housing vision. The Benefits And Housing Review is used to identify gaps in your family member’s benefits and services and is the first step to joining our Roommate Matching Pool.

Reasonable Accommodation – Modifications or provision of services and equipment necessary to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunity and access to programs.

Respite – A brief break (in-home or out-of-home) for caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Section 8 Housing – Refers to housing subsidized by HUD. Approximately 30% of tenant income goes towards housing costs (rent and utilities) with the Housing Authority paying the difference up to a limit set by HUD.

Section 8 Voucher – Also known as Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), this is the federal government’s program for assisting low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly to afford housing. Participants can choose private market housing and receive housing vouchers to help with their rental costs.

Shared Living – the act of people with disabilities living together to share housing and support services.

Shared Living Development (SLD) - A consulting product offered by P4H. The staff works with the families to help them select roommates, find and secure suitable housing, hire caregivers, and create house guidelines and care plans, all with the aim of developing a resilient housing solution.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) – A person who has Social Security and is earning more than a certain monthly amount ($1350 in 2022) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. After 9 months of SGA, the person is at risk of losing their Social Security Benefits. Job Subsidy letters, and IRWEs are examples of ways a benefits planner can help maintain Social Security benefits. Learn more at

Social Security Administration (SSA) – Oversees the provision of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security income and related work incentives. Learn more at

Social Security Disabled Adult Child (SSDAC) – These benefits are payable to disabled individuals over the age of 18 whose parents receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – The federal SSDI program pays benefits to individuals with disabilities if they have worked long enough – and recently enough - and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings.

Social Security Income (SSI) – The federal SSI program pays benefits to adults and children with disabilities who have limited income and resources.

Ticket to Work (TWWIIA) – The federal Ticket to Work program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. The Ticket Program helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence.

Unrelated Disabled Household – A group of two or more unrelated people with disabilities, or one or more unrelated disabled persons living with one or more live-in aide(s), on the same lease.

Waiver Program – The waiver program allows states to choose groups of people with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions to receive tailor-made options at home or within the community. For example, in-home care for people who would otherwise have to go into long-term institutional care.

Waitlist – A list of people who have been determined to be eligible for services that are in short supply and cannot be provided until openings arise or services are expanded. Often refers to Section 8 wait lists for people with IDD.