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Gov. Scott allocates $36M for Medicaid disability waivers

1:45 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The State of Florida is starting to chip away at a wait list that disabled people say holds them back.

On Wednesday morning, Governor Rick Scott visited Pine Castle in Jacksonville's Englewood neighborhood.

Scott announced $36.3 million is going in the state's 2013-2014 budget for Medicaid disability waivers.

He said this is the first time in eight years the funding has been available.

The money will help remove 750 disabled people from the waiver wait list so they can pay for crucial services like education and housing.

"This is a group of individuals that need help in our state. Our state budget is better because people are moving back to our state. People are getting jobs in our state. And now that we have a better budget, we need to invest in wise things," Scott said.

25-year-old Moira Rossi of Jacksonville is a waiver recipient. She said it helped her get a job and an apartment.

"If we didn't have the waiver, we would not get the services. But we can't get the services without the waiver. So both of them really connect in a way," she said.

Without a waiver, Jonathan May, the executive director of Pine Castle, said disabled people often run out of options after high school.

"They're left at home," he said.

The waiver money won't be available until July 1, according to Scott.

He admitted the budgeted amount is not enough to completely clear out the wait list.

But he said it is his priority to continue to chip away at it as the recovery continues in Florida, he said.

First Coast News

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