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What is the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)?

August 25, 2017 Law

The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) funds services for people who:

have “a severe chronic disability of an individual that:

(a) Is attributable to a physical or mental impairment, other than the sole diagnosis of mental illness, or to a combination of mental and physical impairments;

(b) Is likely to continue indefinitely;

(c) Is manifested in an individual younger than 22 years old;

(d) Results in an inability to live independently without external support or continuing and regular assistance; and

(e) Reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services that are individually planned and coordinated for the individual.” 


DDA’s website is instructive – but doesn’t tell the whole story. DDA was created under the Waiver system, in which the State of Maryland created services for developmentally disabled persons so that they could reside outside of an institution.  This was a noble effort and effective to some degree.  However, there are many disputes involving this process!  DDA uses contractors/licensees to find and deliver these services.  The contractors/licensees make mistakes, some would say “many” mistakes.  We want to hear your stories! Click the link below and we will publish your story if you give us permission:

Disclaimer: This blog post is for general information and is not legal advice. Call an attorney if you want advice that applies to your unique situation.

I have closed my law firm effective 10/21/22. If you believe you are a current client, you are probably mistaken. I am only representing clients in the very last stage of their cases where a decision is about to be rendered and where no action needs to be taken in order to get that decision. I have withdrawn from all other cases. I am no longer representing you and you should have gotten a letter to that effect. For Social Security matters, I advise you call Jenkins, Block & Associates at 410-727-4000 or email at or - for all other matters I have no recommended referral. I do not regularly monitor this email or my phone messages. Requests for former client files should be made in writing to:

Emmett B. Irwin
1777 Reisterstown Rd. Suite 265
Pikesville, MD 21208