What are MA-Waiver programs?

Minnesota's MA-Waiver programs provide additional services beyond those offered under Medical Assistance (MA) or Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) to help people with disabilities live in their community rather than in an institution.

How many different MA-Waiver programs are there?

There are five different MA-Waiver programs in Minnesota, four of which serve people with disabilities who are under 65.

What are the names of the MA-Waiver programs that serve people with disabilities?

The MA-Waiver programs that serve people with disabilities are the:

Do I have to be on Medical Assistance (MA) to qualify for a MA-Waiver program?

Yes. You must be enrolled in some form of disability-based MA to qualify for MA-Waiver services. This includes Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD).

Note: Many people get income-based MA, not disability-based MA. If you get MA and are not sure whether it is based on your disability, Chat with a Hub expert to check or contact your local county human services agency.

Does everyone on Medical Assistance (MA) qualify for a MA-Waiver program?

No. You may only qualify for a MA-Waiver program if you have disability-based MA. Many people get income-based MA, not disability-based MA, and those people cannot apply for MA-Waiver programs. If you get MA and are not sure whether it is based on your disability, Chat with a Hub expert to check or contact your local county human services agency.

Even if you get disability-based MA, that does not mean you will qualify for a MA-Waiver program. There are specific eligibility criteria for each MA-Waiver program. Being on disability-based Medical Assistance (MA) or Medical Assistance Employment for Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) is just one of those criteria.

When should I apply for MA-Waiver services?

If you’re interested in a particular MA-Waiver program, you should apply as soon as you think you meet the eligibility criteria. The number of people who can enroll in these programs varies from year to year and there may be a waiting list for the program you’re interested in.

How do I apply for a MA-Waiver program?

You can apply for any MA-Waiver program at your county human service agency.

If you are not already on some form of disability-based Medical Assistance (MA), you will need to apply for disability-based MA (or MA-EPD) in addition to the MA-Waiver program you're interested in.

While you’re at the county human services agency, you will need to schedule a MnCHOICES assessment.

Note: You may only qualify for a MA-Waiver program if you have MA due to your disability. Many people get MA get it because they have low income, not because they have a disability determination. If you get MA and are not sure whether you get it due to your disability, Chat with a Hub expert to check or contact your local county human services agency.

Do I need a disability determination to qualify for a MA-Waiver program?

Yes. You must be determined disabled by Social Security or the State Medical Review Team (SMRT) to qualify for one of the four MA-Waiver programs that serve people with disabilities.

The one exception is the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver. If you’re applying for the DD Waiver, you only need a documented diagnosis of developmental disability (determined during your MnCHOICES assessment).

What is a MnCHOICES assessment?

A MnCHOICES assessment is a review of your situation to see what long-term care programs and services are best for you. A MnCHOICES assessment may include reviews of:

  • Long-term care needs
  • Personal care assistance options, and
  • Developmental disability screening.

This can help you figure out what services and programs might help you live in the community, including MA-Waiver programs, Medical Assistance (MA), personal care assistance (PCA) services, or other benefits. Even if you are not eligible for public benefits, the assessment can help you understand what services, accommodations, and resources exist.

All MA-Waiver applicants must go through a MnCHOICES assessment before they can qualify for a MA-Waiver program.

Note: Long-Term Care Consultations (LTCCs) used to help people in a similar way. MnCHOICES assessments are replacing the LTCC throughout Minnesota.

What is the Community Alternatives Care (CAC) Waiver?

The Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver serves people with disabilities who need the level of care normally provided in a hospital. Services can range from home nursing services to extended nutritional therapies to modification of a home or car. Click here for a listing of services provided under the CAC Waiver.

What is the Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver?

The Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver provides services that help adults and children with disabilities live in the community rather than in a nursing facility. CADI Waiver services are wide-ranging and include services such as adult day care, homemaker services, independent living services, and home delivered meals. Click here for a listing of services provided under the CADI Waiver.

What is the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver?

The Developmental Disabilties (DD) Waiver helps people with developmental disabilities live in the community rather in an Intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD). To qualify for the DD Waiver, you must go through a MnCHOICES assessment and be determined to have a developmental disability. Click here for a listing of services provided under the DD Waiver.

What is the Brain Injury (BI) Waiver?

The Brain Injury (BI) Waiver provides home and community based programs to people with a traumatic brain injury. BI Waiver enrollees must be able to function well enough to participate in their rehabilitation and they must require greater levels of service than can be attained through other Waiver programs. Click here for a listing of services provided under the BI Waiver.

Are there income and asset limits for MA-Waiver programs?

There are no income or asset limits for MA-Waiver programs, but you must stay eligible for disability-based Medical Assistance (MA) or Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) to keep your waiver eligibility. If you exceed the income or asset limits for MA or MA-EPD, you’ll lose your MA-Waiver services.

Read DB101’s articles on disability-based MA and MA-EPD for more information.

Do MA-Waiver programs provide assistance when attempting to go to work?

The Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver, the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver, and the Brain Injury (BI) Waiver offer supported employment services to help you find and keep a job. Those services must be listed in your plan of care if you wish to make use of them.

Where can I find additional information on MA-Waiver programs?

For additional information on MA-Waiver programs, contact your county human services agency or Chat with a Hub expert.