This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about Mental Health and Mental Retardation issues in Pennsylvania.
Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.
The Many Doors to Consumer Empowerment - A Guide to Advocacy for Mental Health Consumers in Pennsylvania
This guide was created by the Pennsylvania Health Law Project to help people in Pennsylvania who are dealing with mental illness learn about the mental health system and when, where, and how you can shape it -- if you choose to. [PDF]
Tips from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project on how to be a good advocate in working to secure Behavioral Health Services for your child. [PDF]
Getting Medical Assistance for a Child (under 18) with a Severe Disability, Behavioral or Autism Spectrum Disorder
Information special rules on whether a child with a Severe Disability, Behavioral or Autism Spectrum Disorder qualifies for Medical Assistance and how to establish eligibility.
Home and community-based services are also known as waiver-funded services or waiver programs. The name waiver comes from the fact that the federal government "waives" medical assistance rules for institutional care in order for Pennsylvania to use the funds for HCBS. HCBS provides for supports and services beyond those covered by the Medical Assistance (also referred to as Medicaid) program that enables a person to remain in a community setting rather than being admitted to a Long Term Care Facility. Currently, the Department of Human Services administers 12 HCBS programs. Each HCBS program has its own eligibility requirements and services. If a person is determined eligible for more than one HCBS program, the person cannot receive services under two or more such programs at the same time. The person must choose one HCBS program and receive the services provided by it.
Information from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project on "Wraparound" Services, also referred to as Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Services, for Children from your Behavioral Health Managed Care Organization. These are individualized mental health services provided in the home, school, or community to help keep a child at home. [PDF]
Booklet from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project explaining how to obtain Mental Health Services and Drug & Alcohol Services under various programs in Pennsylvania. [PDF]
Information for consumers using HealthChoices seeking to access drug and alcohol services or have an assessment to determine if treatment is needed.
Information on what Pennsylvanians with disabilities need to know about getting long term services and supports in Community HealthChoices.
Reporting Parental Income for Medical Assistance for Children with Disabilities - Frequently Asked Questions
Information on requirements for reporting income of parents of children receiving Medical Assistance due to a disability - PH 95
A Mental Health Advance Directive is a document that allows you to make your choices known regarding mental health treatment in the event that your mental illness makes you unable to make decisions. This packet provides information and forms to allow you to prepare documents to fit you needs regarding an advance directive. [PDF]
A PA ABLE account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. Federal and state law authorized the creation of PA ABLE accounts.
Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance (“Medicaid”) program includes home and community-based services waivers “HCBS Waivers”) that fund a variety of services enabling eligible individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and/or autism to live in their own homes and communities. The purpose of this Fact Sheet is to provide an overview of Medicaid HCBS Waivers generally and the HCBS Waivers in Pennsylvania that offer services to people with ID and/or autism. [PDF]
This manual provides people with disabilities, their family members, service providers, and others with information about the important issues related to decision-making and preserving people's right to make decisions for oneself to the maximum extent possible. [PDF]
Resources from Disability Rights Pennsylvania on options for persons with disabilities for Estate Planning and Decision Making. [PDF]
This Fact Sheet addresses the rights of adults with mental illness who received notices of termination of services from their residential program providers.
This Fact Sheet is designed to give parents with mental illness some basic information about juvenile dependency proceedings and their rights in those proceedings. [PDF]
This Fact Sheet from Disability Rights Pennsylvania addresses the standards and procedures that govern a provider's decision to terminate intellectual disability services. [PDF]
Publications from Disability Rights Pennsylvania on a variety of disability-related issues.
This Fact Sheet from the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania addresses the rights of adults with mental illness who receive notices of termination of services from their residential program providers. [PDF]
List of Publications from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. The Bazelon Center produces reports, issue papers, and manuals that analyze major federal laws, policies, and regulations that affect access to services and the rights of people with mental disabilities.