MN Developmental Disabilities Waiver

Published on
August 3, 2023
Last updated
February 29, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver is a Medicaid program in Minnesota that provides essential home and community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities, aiming to foster independence, safety, and community integration as an alternative to institutionalization.
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The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver program supports children and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities or related conditions. It serves as a lifeline for individuals who require the level of care typically provided in an intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD). The DD Waiver program is an essential alternative to institutionalization by offering home and community-based services. It allows beneficiaries to live more independently while fostering optimal health, safety, and community integration.

Overview of Developmental Disabilities Waiver

The DD Waiver operates with several key goals and objectives in mind. Foremost, it seeks to enable individuals with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible within their communities. By providing support services at home or in community settings, the program aims to create an environment that encourages self-sufficiency and autonomy while respecting the dignity and choices of its beneficiaries.

Additionally, the DD Waiver focuses on enhancing the health and safety of eligible individuals. Through personalized care plans, beneficiaries receive necessary medical attention, therapies, and assistance with daily activities, contributing to their overall health and well-being. The program also prioritizes the integration of its recipients into community life, promoting social inclusion and active participation in social, educational, and recreational activities.


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Eligibility Requirements for Developmental Disabilities Waiver

To qualify for the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver, individuals must meet specific criteria to ensure they receive the necessary support and care they require in the community. The eligibility requirements include:

  1. Medical Assistance (MA) Eligibility: Applicants must be eligible for Medical Assistance based on a disability or other qualifying status. The specific codes for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver or Alternative Care (AC) program eligibility can be referenced in the CBSM (Community-Based Services Manual).
  2. Certified Disability: Applicants must be certified disabled by either the Social Security Administration or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT) process.
  3. Developmental Disability or Related Condition: Individuals must have a developmental disability or related condition, as defined by Minn. R. 9525.0016, subp. 2. This may include intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, and other qualifying conditions.
  4. Assessment and Level of Care: Applicants must undergo a comprehensive evaluation using MnCHOICES or a DD screening to determine their need for the level of care given in an Intermediate Care Facility for people with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD).
  5. Daily Interventions and 24-hour Plan of Care: The individual should require daily interventions and have a 24-hour plan of care specified in the support plan, reflecting their specific care needs.
  6. Habilitation Needs: The assessment must identify a need for habilitation, which should also be included in the support plan to address the individual's developmental and skill-building needs.
  7. Additional Supports and Services: There should be an assessed need for supports and services beyond those available through the regular Medical Assistance state plan, indicating a requirement for specialized services tailored to the individual's developmental disabilities.

Meeting these eligibility requirements ensures that individuals can access the DD Waiver program, which offers vital home and community-based services to enhance their independence, well-being, and integration into the community. Additionally, it acknowledges the invaluable role of family caregivers who support and care for these individuals, advocating for fair compensation for their tireless efforts.

Services and Supports under the Developmental Disabilities Waiver

The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver program offers a comprehensive range of services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities, tailored to meet their unique needs and foster their independence within the community. These services, which adhere to the requirements outlined in the CBSM (Community-Based Services Manual) for Waiver and Alternative Care (AC) programs, encompass a wide array of essential assistance and care. The services covered under the DD Waiver include:

  1. 24-hour Emergency Assistance: This service provides personal emergency response systems (PERS) to ensure prompt assistance during emergencies.
  2. Adult Day Services: These services encompass various programs, including family adult day services and adult day services bath, providing daytime care, supervision, and social activities.
  3. Assistive Technology: Beneficiaries receive support and access to assistive devices and technologies to enhance their independence and daily functioning.
  4. Caregiver Living Expenses: The program offers compensation for certain caregiver living expenses, recognizing the dedicated efforts of family caregivers.
  5. Case Management: Case managers assist individuals in accessing and coordinating the necessary services and supports, ensuring a person-centered approach to care.
  6. Chore Services: Chore services encompass assistance with household tasks and activities to maintain a safe and healthy living environment.
  7. Community Residential Services: This includes support for individuals in community-based homes or residential settings.
  8. Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS): CDCS allows beneficiaries or their representatives to self-direct their services, providing greater autonomy and choice in their care.
  9. Crisis Respite: In times of crisis or caregiver need, respite services offer temporary relief and support.
  10. Day Support Services: These services focus on skill-building, socialization, and community engagement during the day.
  11. Employment Development Services: The program assists individuals in developing their employment skills and finding suitable job opportunities.
  12. Employment Exploration Services: Support is provided to explore different job options and career paths.
  13. Employment Support Services: Beneficiaries receive assistance and guidance in maintaining employment and workplace integration.
  14. Environmental Accessibility Adaptations: Necessary adaptations to living spaces ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
  15. Extended Personal Care Assistance: This service assists with the standard limitations.
  16. Family Residential Services: The program offers support for individuals residing with their families, recognizing the vital role of family caregivers.
  17. Family Training and Counseling: Families receive training and counseling to enhance their ability to provide care and support.
  18. Home-Delivered Meals: Nutritious meals are delivered to individuals who require assistance with meal preparation.
  19. Homemaker Services: This includes assistance with cleaning, home management, and daily living activities.
  20. Independent Living Skills (ILS) Therapies: Therapeutic services aimed at improving independent living skills.
  21. Individualized Home Supports: Support services provided either with or without training may include family training.
  22. Integrated Community Supports (ICS): Services that promote community integration and participation.
  23. Night Supervision Services: Overnight support and supervision for individuals with specific needs.
  24. Positive Support Services: Behavioral support services that promote positive behaviors and coping mechanisms.
  25. Prevocational Services: Services designed to prepare individuals for future employment.
  26. Respite: Short-term relief and support for caregivers.
  27. Specialist Services: Additional specialized services based on individual needs.
  28. Transitional Services: Support during transitions, such as moving between living arrangements.
  29. Transportation: Assistance with transportation to access necessary services and activities.

The DD Waiver's extensive services aim to provide comprehensive care and support, empowering individuals with developmental disabilities to lead fulfilling lives within their communities while recognizing and supporting their dedicated family caregivers.


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Compensation for Family Caregivers

Under the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver, compensation for unpaid family caregivers is provided through the Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) option. CDCS allows eligible individuals or their representatives to self-direct their services, including the opportunity to hire and pay family members for caregiving support. This empowering feature enables family caregivers to receive financial compensation for their invaluable efforts caring for their loved ones with developmental disabilities.

Caregivers seeking compensation through the Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) option in Minnesota would need to contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services or the local county human services office to inquire about the specific procedures and requirements for accessing compensation as a family caregiver. These offices would guide where and how to submit the written agreement and other necessary documentation to initiate the caregiver payment process.

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