Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

Front Door FAQ

Questions and Answers:

What is the Front Door?

The Front Door is the way that people learn about and apply for services offered by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The Front Door process guides you through the steps involved in finding out if you are eligible for services, helps to identify your specific needs and helps you work on a plan for getting services.

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What is the intent of the Front Door?

The Front Door strives to:

  • Create a consistent statewide approach for helping people learn about OPWDD and available service options
  • Better connect people to services and supports based on their needs
  • Give people and their families as many opportunities as possible to self-direct or choose their own services

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How can individuals and families contact their Regional Office Front Door Teams?

Front Door contact information can be found on OPWDD’s website at (insert link to Front Door contact numbers once they are moved to the bottom nav).

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Who receives services through the Front Door?

The Front Door helps people who are new to OPWDD services. A person is considered “New” to OPWDD if:

  • Eligibility has not yet been established
  • Eligibility has been established but the person is not receiving services
  • An eligible person is not receiving Medicaid Service Coordination (MSC) and is now requesting MSC
  • An eligible person is not receiving any Home and Community Based Waiver Services (HCBS) and is now requesting one or more waiver services
  • There has been a significant break (1 year or more) in services
  • Young adults who are transitioning from public or residential schools into the OPWDD adult service system 

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What about those who are not new to OPWDD services but want a “change” in their services?

Those who want a change in their services should speak with their service coordinator. 

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Are there alternatives for families who cannot attend a Front Door Information Session or an initial contact meeting in person?

Whenever possible, people seeking services and their families are encouraged to attend one of the Front Door Information Sessions hosted by the Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) in their region. If the person requesting services and/or their family members are not able to attend an information session, DDRO staff may provide information via telephone or in person on OPWDD services, including information on self–directed options. The Front Door Access to Services Resource Booklet is also available online for your review. Many DDROs have partnered with providers to give information sessions at locations that are convenient for people and their families.

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At what point in the process should an individual contact their DDRO and go to a Front Door Information Session training?

Anytime a person is interested in finding out more information about OPWDD supports and services or is interested in determining their eligibility for OPWDD services they should contact the DDRO Front Door Team. Upon contact, a Front Door Team staff person will share with the person and/or their representative when Front Door Information Sessions are scheduled or, if necessary, will make arrangements for a telephone or personal informational discussion with the person.

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Can people with developmental disabilities and their family members attend the Front Door Information Session before eligibility is determined?

Absolutely. Attending a Front Door Session before eligibility is determined is encouraged.  Some may find the information sessions helpful as they gather information for the eligibility process.

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Can service coordinators and or other people attend Front Door Information Sessions?

Yes. Service coordinators and others who are important to the person seeking services are invited to attend.

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If someone attends a Front Door information session for one family member who may be eligible for OPWDD services, do they need to attend the session again if a second family member seeks OPWDD eligibility/services at a later time?

Front Door information sessions are not person specific therefore it is not necessary for a parent or other family members to attend multiple sessions for more than one child. However, any interviews or discussions are specific to each person and would require the family to interact with the Front Door team for each family member seeking services.

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What happens when the person and their family do not speak English or rely on a sign language interpreter to communicate? Will translators or sign language interpreters be provided?

Regional Office personnel have access to interpretation services and will utilize interpreters when needed.  Additionally our resource booklet is readily available in Spanish and other languages may be requested. If a sign language interpreter is needed or any other support is needed, they will be made available or facilitated by DDRO as needed.

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