Search form



Art By: Janet Schuldt


Transitions Planning

What is OPWDD?

OPWDD, (Office for People With Developmental Disabilities) through its local Developmental Disabilities Services Offices, Hudson Valley DDSO (HVDDSO), determines whether a person has a developmental disability and is eligible for OPWDD funded services. This fact sheet describes the Three-Step process and the type of information OPWDD needs to make an eligibility determination of developmental disability.


OPWDD has created “The Front Door” program that will facilitate the wants and needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Everyone will come here first when mapping out a service plan. People with developmental disabilities will be guided in the exploration of options from the array of services offered in the OPWDD service delivery system. The service plan will be tailored to the individual with supports that offer full integration in the community.

A person-centered approach has been found to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities. The ability to measure personal outcomes has resulted in individuals enjoying more meaningful relationships with friends and family, better health, personal growth, and more independence and community involvement.

What are the key components of the Front Door?

Key components include:

  • Initial contact for those who are new or seeking to modify existing services
  • Determining eligibility for services
  • Assessment of strengths
  • Identifying support needs
  • Plan authorization and implementation

Learn more about OPWDD's Front Door

Why Do I Need OPWDD?

OPWDD is a funding source that can potentially provide a person with a developmental disability with a plentitude of community based supports and services. It is important to note that a determination of developmental disability does not mean the person is eligible for all OPWDD funded waiver services. Some OPWDD services have additional eligibility criteria. For example Intermediate Care Facilities and Home & Community Based Services waiver programs include an additional "Level of Care Determination" and individuals are eligible for HCBS services only when they reside in appropriate living arrangements. These and other additional criteria for certain OPWDD services are not reviewed through this eligibility process.

How Do I Get It?
Eligibility Determination Process

An OPWDD Transmittal Form must accompany all requests submitted to the DDSO for eligibility determinations. The Transmittal Form includes the name of the person, the name of the person's representative, and relevant contact information. Documentation of the person's developmental disability must also be included as part of the eligibility request. DDSO staff review the eligibility request for completeness and share the information with other staff designated by the Director, as necessary. After this review, the DDSO notifies the person in writing that:

  1. Eligibility or provisional eligibility has been determined; or
  2. The request is incomplete and requires additional documentation; or
  3. The request has been forwarded for a 2nd Step Review.

OPWDD Toolbox


  1. There are no age restrictions for a person to apply for OPWDD eligibility.
  2. Any person with a full scale IQ of 59 or lower and/or an adaptive daily living score of 70 or less should apply for OPWDD services.
  3. In Westchester County, applications are submitted to the Department of Community Mental Health, DCMH office first before being sent to the DDSO for eligibility review.
  4. In addition to the Transmittal for Determination of Developmental Disability form, the DDSO will require the following documentation for eligibility review: A medical exam, a psychological report which includes assessment of intellectual functioning with reporting of intelligence scores, a social history, psychosocial report, IEP or other background report that shows that the person became disabled before age 22 years (background information is still needed if the person is a child or adolescent.

Need More Help?

Arc of Westchester's Navigation Team is here for you. For more information on how Arc of Westchester can work with you on these many Transitions Issues, contact Carol Gearing of the Arc of Westchester at (914) 495-4620 or by email at [email protected].