About DDS services

If you have a developmental disability, there are other services you can qualify for to help with your goals for employment independent living.

This agency offers services to children and adults with developmental disabilities.

  • There are many different supports and services. They can help with finding a place to live, getting training or in-home support, connecting with community activities, and much more.

  • You must go through a process to apply and see if you qualify. See the next page to learn how.

  • It is much easier to get services if you apply before the age of 22. If you're older, they may still be able to offer you services.

* Note: Don't confuse this with the other "DDS" acronym: The Mass Rehab Commission's Disability Determination Services.

If you are blind, the Mass Commission for the Blind (MCB) will serve this purpose instead of DDS. (Click on the title to open the web page in a new tab.) 

Click the link at the bottom of the page to learn more. (The 1-page description will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)

To be eligible for DDS, a person has to be a Massachusetts resident and have a documented Developmental Disability.

This is any condition that limits someone's ability to take care of themselves, starts when they are young and will probably affect them for their whole life.

It can be physical (like being blind) or intellectual. Intellectual or cognitive refers to how someone's mind works. If you have trouble thinking, learning and communicating in a typical way, these are cognitive or intellectual limitations.

Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders fit into this category.

Source: Department of Developmental Services

What to expect:

  • You will get a call from a Regional Eligibility Team member.

  • They will schedule a meeting with you to go over your application.

  • They will make a decision within 60 days to see if your child qualifies. If they qualified for EI, they may also qualify for DDS services.

  • They will assign a coordinator to help you with your services.

For more information, call your local DDS office.   (Click on the underlined part to open the website in a new tab on your screen.)

Sources: EOHHS, MA DDS

Developmental Disability: for persons who are five years of age or older, a severe, chronic disability that:

  1. is attributable to a mental or physical impairment resulting from Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Smith-Magenis Syndrome or Prader-Willi Syndrome

  2. is manifested before the individual attains 22 years of age

  3. is likely to continue indefinitely

  4. results in substantial functional limitations

Source: Mass. DDS

Learn more:

Go to these links to see pages from the DDS website. (They will open in new tabs.)