Families can apply for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Voucher program beginning June 1

Families of children with autism spectrum disorder ages 3-17 can apply, beginning June 1, for autism voucher program services for the upcoming state fiscal year that starts July 1, according to a press release from the North Dakota Department of Human Services. New and participating families are encouraged to apply during the annual enrollment period.

Participation is currently limited to 53 children per year. Families are served on a first-come, first- served basis, and must apply annually.

Vouchers help pay for respite care for family caregivers, assistive technology such as sensory or safety equipment, caregiver training, and other support services such as tutoring. The purpose of the voucher program is to enhance the quality of life of qualifying children and to meet the unique needs of their families. It also fills a gap by providing resources for non-therapy related services for families who do not qualify for other help.

The program provides vouchers totaling up to $12,500 per year, per participating child. During 2017 state fiscal year, the average voucher expenditure was $4,398 per child.

To qualify, household income for a family cannot exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $4,184 a month for a family of four. Children who are receiving services through a Medicaid waiver do not qualify for the autism spectrum disorder voucher.

To apply, families must complete the application, which is available online at https://www.nd.gov/eforms/Doc/sfn60611.pdf or by contacting the North Dakota Department of Human Services (NDDHS) at 328-4630, toll-free 800-755-2604, ND Relay TTY 800-366-6888 or dhsautism@nd.gov.

Families should submit the completed application and required documentation by mail, email or fax to the Department of Human Services’ Medical Services Division, attention Katherine Barchenger, at 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 325, Bismarck, N.D. 58505-0250, dhsautism@nd.gov or fax 701-328-4875. Individuals with questions can call 701-328-4630, toll-free 800-755-2604 or ND Relay TTY 800-366-6888.

Interested people can find more information about the department’s autism spectrum disorder services online at www.nd.gov/dhs/autism/index.html.