Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program Update

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The Katie Beckett program is for children under age 18 with disabilities and/or complex medical needs who are not Medicaid eligible because of their parents’ income or assets. TennCare began accepting applications for the program in November 2020. In January 2021, TennCare and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) released a report stating they received  849 applications for the program and had already enrolled 290 children.  

This was great news for the public, but it was not for many families who are still waiting for a decision on their application or even those who have been enrolled. Of the 290 children enrolled, only 6 of those children are enrolled in Part A. Part A is for children with significant severe disabilities who qualify for institutional level of care and gives them full TennCare benefits and up to $15,000 in home and community- based services. There are approximately 300 Part A slots. The other 284 children enrolled are currently in Part B. Part B will provide up to 2700 children with severe disabilities who qualify for at-risk level of care a stipend of up to $10,000 to help cover services not covered by their insurance. Part B does not provide full TennCare benefits.  

Some of the children enrolled in Part B have been approved for Part A.  They can not enroll in Part A at the moment because they qualify in Tier 2 of Part A. Tier 1 is for children who have the most complex medical or behavioral needs and are at risk of institutionalization if they do not receive care around the clock. Tier 2 is for children who have complex medical, behavioral, or functional needs but their needs are not as severe as Tier 1. TennCare is currently giving children who qualify for Part A Tier 1 priority in Part A enrollment. Children who qualify for Part A Tier 2 are being placed on a waiting list and are being enrolled in Part B for now. With at least 570 families still waiting for a decision, it is not clear when Part A Tier 2 slots will open for families.  

For more information on the program, check out the Katie Beckett 101 webinar with TJC’s Katie Ann Twiggs and Family Voices of Tennessee’s Sara Scott. If you need help applying or want to share your concerns, contact the Tennessee Justice Center at 1-877-608-1009.  

Information provided by Tennessee Justice Center.