The Disabled and Elderly Waiver (DEW) Program in New Mexico is a vital initiative designed to provide home and community-based services to elderly individuals and those with disabilities. This Medicaid program aims to offer an alternative to institutional care by enabling eligible participants to receive necessary services in the comfort of their homes or community settings. As of my last knowledge update in January 2023, it’s essential to note that program details can change, and individuals should check with the New Mexico Human Services Department or relevant state agencies for the most current information.

Key Features of the Disabled and Elderly Waiver Program:

  1. Eligibility Criteria:The DEW Program is generally available to individuals who meet Medicaid eligibility requirements and require the level of care typically provided in nursing homes. Eligible participants include elderly individuals and those with disabilities who wish to receive care at home rather than in institutional settings.
  2. Home and Community-Based Services:The primary focus of the DEW Program is to deliver a range of home and community-based services that cater to the unique needs of each participant. These services are designed to assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), providing support in areas such as personal care, homemaking, and meal assistance.
  3. Avoidance of Institutional Placement:One of the program’s core principles is the waiver of institutional care. By participating in the DEW Program, individuals can receive the necessary care and support without the need for placement in nursing homes or other institutional facilities. This approach aligns with the broader goal of promoting independence and individual choice.
  4. Participant-Directed Care:The DEW Program often embraces a participant-directed care model, empowering individuals to have a say in their care plans. This model allows participants, or their designated representatives, to make decisions about the services they receive and even play a role in hiring and managing their caregivers.
  5. Comprehensive Care Planning:Upon acceptance into the DEW Program, participants undergo a comprehensive needs assessment. This assessment evaluates the individual’s specific care requirements and forms the basis for the development of a personalized care plan. The care plan outlines the array of services and supports necessary to meet the participant’s unique needs and preferences.
  6. Coordination with Medicaid:The DEW Program operates within the framework of Medicaid, with participants required to be eligible for Medicaid to access the program. Medicaid covers the costs associated with the home and community-based services provided under the DEW Program, reinforcing the collaboration between the two.

Application Process for the DEW Program:

  1. Medicaid Eligibility Check:Individuals interested in the DEW Program must first confirm their eligibility for Medicaid. This involves meeting specific income and asset requirements established by the state.
  2. Needs Assessment:Following Medicaid eligibility, applicants undergo a needs assessment conducted by healthcare professionals. This assessment helps determine the level of care required and informs the development of the participant’s care plan.
  3. Application Submission:Applicants submit their DEW Program applications, providing the results of the needs assessment and any additional required documentation.
  4. Care Plan Development:Upon approval, healthcare professionals work with participants to develop a comprehensive care plan. This plan outlines the specific services and supports that will be provided to meet the individual’s care needs and preferences.
  5. Initiation of Services:Once the care plan is finalized, participants can begin receiving the specified home and community-based services in accordance with their individualized plans.

Impact and Significance:

The DEW Program plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of life for elderly individuals and those with disabilities in New Mexico. By offering an alternative to institutional care, the program empowers participants to age or manage their disabilities in familiar and supportive environments. This approach not only respects the autonomy and preferences of the individuals but also contributes to the overall efficiency of the healthcare system by reducing the reliance on institutional settings.


The Disabled and Elderly Waiver Program in New Mexico stands as a commendable initiative that prioritizes individual choice, independence, and the well-being of elderly and disabled residents. By facilitating access to home and community-based services, the program aligns with the evolving preferences of individuals who seek to age or manage their disabilities in a more personalized and comfortable setting. As with any government program, it’s advisable for individuals interested in the DEW Program to check with the New Mexico Human Services Department or relevant state agencies for the latest information on eligibility criteria, services, and application processes.