Section 17: What’s Really Going On? What do I need to know?
Are you worried you might lose Section 17 services because of the recent changes? Have you gotten a notice that you are no longer eligible for Section 17 services? This guide answers some common questions and explains the changes to Section 17 eligibility.
What has changed about Section 17?
There was a lot of incorrect information in the news when these changes were first announced in March 2016. Many reports said that only people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder would be eligible for services under Section 17. This is not true. Section 17 eligibility rules have changed, but they are not that limited.
Who is still eligible?
First, you might want to try our Section 17 Eligibility Tool (below) if:
- You are worried about losing your Section 17 services.
- You don’t know if you are still eligible.
- You don’t get these services now, but want to know if you are eligible.
- You are a healthcare provider and you want to help your clients figure out if they are eligible.
You can answer these questions:
- On your own
- With the help of your healthcare provider or caseworker
- With someone you trust
If you have this information, it will help you answer the questions:
- Your primary diagnosis
- Your LOCUS score
- Your recent mental healthcare history
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this information. The tool can still help you figure out what to do.
Section 17 Eligibility Tool
We have done our best to break down the new rules correctly. This tool may not be perfect. No matter what result you get from the Eligibility Tool, you should talk with your healthcare provider.
- To start, click on the blue "play" button below.
- Click on your answer to each question.
- If you make a mistake, and need to go back, you can use the "back" button in the bottom left of the window.
If you want to learn more about the new eligibility requirements, we’ve broken them down below. You can also find the Section 17 Eligibility Form here. You can print this form out and take it to your healthcare provider. They can use it to help you get or keep Section 17 services.
You are eligible for Section 17 services if:
1. You are 18 or older (or an emancipated minor).
2.You have a primary diagnosis of Schizophrenia OR Schizoaffective Disorder (If yes, skip to 3)
You have a different primary diagnosis (other than: Neurocognitive Disorders, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder or Substance Use Disorder) AND you have at least one of these risk factors:
- You may become homeless if you do not get community support services;
- Without community support services you may end up committing a crime, being arrested, or become involved with the criminal justice system;
- You think you will eventually need over-night mental health care for more than three days (72 hours) if you do not have community support services;
- You think that you may be put in residential treatment (a long-term mental healthcare facility) if you do not get community support services;
- You have gotten treatment in Riverview Psychiatric Center or Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in the last two years (24 months) for something other than Neurocognitive Disorders, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder or Substance Use Disorder;
- You have been discharged from a residential mental healthcare facility in the last two years (24 months);
- You have gotten over-night treatment because of a mental illness for 3 days (72 hours) twice or more in the last two years (24 months);
- You have ever been committed by a civil (not criminal) court for psychiatric treatment as an adult (This is also known as being “blue-papered”);
- When you were under 21, you were eligible as a child with severe emotional disturbance AND you have gotten a written opinion from a clinician within the last year (12 months) that says you had at least one of the risk factors listed above at the time the clinician issued the written opinion.
3. You have a LOCUS score of at least 17 (or at least 20 if you need a case worker/Community Rehabilitation Services).
What can I do if I am denied services under Section 17?
If DHHS thinks you are not eligible for Section 17 services then both you and your caseworker should get a letter from DHHS explaining why they think you are not eligible.
You have the right to an appeal if you are denied, or if your services are terminated. If you get a letter saying you are not eligible, get in touch with your healthcare provider or caseworker as soon as you can. It is important to get in touch with them because if you appeal the cut off within 10 days, you will continue to get your regular care until the issue is worked out. If you are worried that this will happen to you, tell your healthcare provider or caseworker ahead of time that you want to be contacted immediately if they get a notice that you are cut off from these services.
Contact PTLA if you think you should be receiving these services and:
- you are denied,
- you need to appeal,
- you are told you can’t apply for these services, or
- you are told you aren’t eligible, and you think that is incorrect.
Find more information about these changes and about the steps you should take with your healthcare provider here.