MN Community Alternative Care Waiver

Published on
August 7, 2023
Last updated
February 29, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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The Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver offers personalized care options to those needing chronic care and medical support in Minnesota and unlocks support and potential compensation for caregivers.
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In the vast landscape of healthcare, where hospitals and institutions often take center stage, there exists a crucial program that champions the cause of personal independence, community integration, and compassionate caregiving. The Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver, offered in Minnesota, is more than just a program; it's a lifeline for those needing chronic care and medical support while desiring to live in the comfort of their own homes.


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Eligibility for the Community Alternative Care Waiver

The CAC Waiver bridges institutional care and personal freedom, allowing individuals to reside in their communities while receiving the specialized care they require. To become eligible for this waiver, individuals need to meet several criteria:

  1. Medical Assistance Eligibility: A fundamental prerequisite, applicants must be eligible for Medical Assistance (MA) based on disability or other specified eligibility status.
  2. Disability Certification: A certification of disability, either from Social Security or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT), is essential to qualify for the CAC Waiver.
  3. Age Restriction: Individuals must be under the age 65 when they open the waiver for the first time.
  4. Assessment through MnCHOICES: Utilizing the MnCHOICES assessment process, applicants must demonstrate a need for care at the level typically provided within a hospital setting.
  5. Medical Documentation: A medical provider's documentation confirming the person's treatment, monitoring, or intervention needs is crucial evidence for eligibility.
  6. Need for Additional Support: The individual must exhibit a need for support and services beyond what the MA state plan provides.

Services and Supports

The CAC Waiver isn't just about providing medical assistance; it's about fostering a comprehensive environment that promotes well-being and independence. Covered services under the CAC Waiver encompass a wide range of support, including:

  • 24-hour Emergency Assistance: Ensuring help is available round the clock in emergencies.
  • Caregiver Living Expenses: Acknowledging the valuable role of caregivers by assisting with their living expenses.
  • Case Management and Aide: Offering professional guidance to navigate the complexities of care.
  • Chore Services: Lending a hand with everyday tasks contributes to a comfortable living.
  • Community Residential Services: Creating a sense of belonging within a community while receiving care.
  • Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS): Empowering individuals to choose their services and supports.
  • Crisis Respite: Providing temporary relief to caregivers during times of crisis.
  • Day Support Services: Offering engaging activities for individuals to enhance their quality of life.
  • Employment Development and Exploration Services: Encouraging personal growth and opportunities.
  • Environmental Accessibility Adaptations: Adapting living spaces to suit the unique needs of individuals.
  • Extended Home Care Services: Ensuring comprehensive care through nursing, therapy, and personal assistance.
  • Family Adult Day Services: Fostering familial connections while receiving necessary care.
  • Family Training and Counseling: Equipping families with the tools to provide adequate support.
  • Home-Delivered Meals: Ensuring proper nutrition for those in need.
  • Homemaker Services: Aiding with household tasks and daily activities.
  • Independent Living Skills (ILS) Therapies: Promoting self-sufficiency and personal growth.
  • Integrated Community Supports (ICS): Facilitating social inclusion and community engagement.
  • Positive Support Services: Implementing strategies to enhance emotional well-being.
  • Respite Services: Giving caregivers the opportunity to recharge and care for themselves.
  • Specialist Services and Equipment: Addressing unique needs through specialized interventions.
  • Transitional Services: Ensuring a smooth transition from institutional care to community living.
  • Transportation: Providing the means to access essential services and activities.

Who are you caring for?

Compensation for Caregivers

Under the Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver in Minnesota, the program offers a self-directed option that has the potential to compensate unpaid family caregivers. This provision acknowledges the invaluable contributions of family members who dedicate themselves to caregiving responsibilities. Through the Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) service, individuals eligible for the waiver can exercise greater control over their care plans. This includes hiring family members as caregivers and receiving compensation for their services. The CDCS service not only empowers individuals to make personalized choices but also recognizes the important role that family caregivers play in providing essential care while receiving due compensation for their efforts.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>

A note from Givers

In a world where caregiving often goes unnoticed, the Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver shines a light on the unsung heroes. Are you eligible for compensation? Find out by filling out this form today. Your care deserves acknowledgment and support.

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