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Existing Supports and Services to Help Your Daughter or Son Live Independently

A wide variety of services and supports exist to enable a person with disabilities to live independently. The philosophy of supported living is that no matter where an individual lives, services and supports can be matched to their needs. They can vary in amount, frequency, and duration. In order to access these services, you must apply for case management through your county social services department. Case management is defined as “identifying the need for, seeking out, acquiring, authorizing, coordinating, and monitoring the delivery of services to, and protecting the rights of, persons with disabilities by an individual designated by the county board.” Case managers are sometimes called county social workers. Not everyone is eligible for case management and certain services do not require case management

In order to start the process, you must ask for a MnCHOICES assessment by a certified assessor. MnCHOICES is a new single comprehensive assessment tool that uses the person-centered planning approach to help make decisions about services and supports. It includes a person-centered assessment of the health, psychological, functional, environmental, and social needs of the individual based on their needs, strengths and preferences.

If outside assessments by licensed practitioners are necessary, the case manager will arrange for them with your approval, or that of your son or daughter if he or she is 18 or older and not under guardianship. When you request an assessment or reassessment on behalf of your son or daughter for a Home and Community- Based Waiver, personal care services, or home care nursing, you must be visited by a long-term consultation team within 20 calendar days after the date following your request. The long-term care consultation team members will include a certified assessor, social worker, or a public health nurse. It is important to remember that the timelines stated in law are associated with the screening process. Services are generally provided to individuals with developmental disabilities or mental health who meet the county’s eligibility criteria.

After the county assesses your son or daughter’s individual needs,  a service plan is developed with your input. Depending on what services he or she qualifies for, the plan name will differ. Common plan names are the Coordinated Services and Supports Plan and the Addendum (CSSP & CSSP Addendum), Personal Care Service Plan, and Individual Family Community Support Plan  (IFCSP). The plan is developed with your daughter or son’s or your  input.

It may be easier to apply during the high school years because counties usually provide case management and other services to ensure an uninterrupted and successful movement from school to the community. A case manager can help the family understand timelines for various funding sources. Formal supports like Respite, Personal Care Assistance (PCA) services, Private Duty Nursing services, Home Health Care services, Home and Community- Based Waiver programs, Homemaker services, In-Home Family Support Services, Housing Access Coordination, and 24-hour Emergency Assistance require you to apply for case management through your county social services division. Following the application process, disability related eligibility will determine the services you can access. The county looks at an individual’s income level, assets, age, and if he or she is blind or has another disability.

Most providers must be licensed by a state’s Department of Health or Department of Human Services. Programs have specific criteria, rules, and regulations that must be followed. Although there are many services and supports, commonly accessed services are:

  • Personal Care Assistance (PCA)
  • Independent Living Skills Training (ILS)
  • Semi-Independent Living Skills (SILS)
  • In-Home Family Support Services
  • Individualized Home Supports
  • Supported Living Services (SLS)
  • Respite
  • Home Care Services
  • Consumer Support Grant (CSG)
  • Family Support Grant (FSG)
  • Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS)


Personal Care Assistance (PCA) services help a person with day- to-day activities in their home and community. PCAs help people with activities of daily living, health-related procedures and tasks, observation and redirection of behaviors, and instrumental activities of daily living for adults. It is available to eligible people enrolled in a Minnesota Health Care Program.


Independent Living Skills training (ILS training) are services that develop, maintain, and improve the community living skills of a person. ILS is direct training from a staff person to address the identified skill development needs of a person in the areas of: Communication skills, community living and mobility, interpersonal skills, reduction or elimination of maladaptive behavior, self-care, and sensory or motor development involved in acquiring functional skills. It is available to those on a Medicaid Home and Community- Based Waiver.


Semi-Independent Living Services (SILS) are services that provide activities, recreation, training, and support. Individuals who qualify for SILS require less than a 24-hour care plan. For example, some individuals may need assistance in one area, such as money management. Other services provided by SILS may include training and assistance in preparing meals, shopping, personal appearance and hygiene, and other activities to maintain and improve a person’s capacity to live in the community. A goal of SILS is to support people so they can achieve personally-desired outcomes and lead self-directed lives. To qualify for services, your son or daughter must have a county developmental disabilities social worker. The county in which your child lives will pay for the service if there is money available. Each county has limited funds, so you may need to wait for services even if your child is eligible. Some families choose to pay for this service themselves.


In-Home Family Support Services are provided to a person and his or her family, including extended family members in the family’s home or in the community. These services enable the person to remain in, or return to, his or her home. They include training of the person and their family members so the family can increase their capabilities to care for and maintain the person in their home. To receive in-home supports, your son or daughter needs to live with your family, receive Medical Assistance or waivered services, and have a county social worker.

Individualized Home Supports

Individualized Home Supports are services providing support and training in community living service categories for people 18 years or older who live in their own homes. Individualized home supports can be provided in the person’s own home or in public community settings, either in person or remotely. The services can include the need for both training and support, i.e., direct supervision, cueing, maintenance, guidance, instruction, incidental assistance with activities of daily living, or assistance with coordination of community living activities.

More information on Individualized Home Supports can be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Community-Based Services Manual.


Supported Living Services (SLS) help people who require daily staff intervention due to lack of general survival skills. Individuals who receive SLS services in a residential setting require a 24-hour plan of care. Support for medical conditions, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, and challenging behaviors are included. To qualify for services, an individual must be on the waiver program. People of all ages, with developmental disabilities, who have a county social worker, and are on Medical Assistance, can participate.


Respite services offer relief to a family member or main caregiver and are available to individuals with disabilities living in their own homes. Your son or daughter may stay at home or go to another home to receive services. You need to have a county social worker and be screened and eligible to receive services.


Home care services provide medical- and health-related services and assistance with day-to-day activities to people in their home. It can be used to provide short-term care for people moving from a hospital or nursing home back to their home, or to provide continuing care to people with ongoing needs. Home care services may also be provided outside the person’s residence when normal life activities take them into the community. Medical Assistance covers the following home care services: Equipment and supplies, such as wheelchairs and diabetic supplies; home health aide; personal care assistance; private duty nursing; skilled nursing, either face-to-face or via tele-home care technology; and therapies (occupational, physical, respiratory, and speech).


The Consumer Support Grant (CSG) program is a state-funded alternative to Medicaid home care services of home health aide, personal care assistance, and/or private duty nursing.

The CSG program provides consumers with greater flexibility and freedom of choice in service selection, payment rates, service delivery specifications, and employment of service providers. Parents, spouses, family members, trusted neighbors, or friends can be paid for service, along with employees of home care provider agencies.


The Family Support Grant (FSG) program provides a limited number of state cash grants to a certain number of families of children with certified disabilities. The goal of the program is to prevent or delay out-of-home placement of children with disabilities, and promote family health and social well-being by facilitating access to family- centered services and supports. You can find more information from the Minnesota Department of Human Services website on income limits, or contact your county social worker.


Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) are adult mental health services designed to maintain psychiatric stability enabling the person to develop social competencies, enhance personal and emotional adjustment, and improve independent living and community skills, when these abilities are impaired by the symptoms of mental illness. Services offered under ARHMS include skill development in interpersonal communication, relapse prevention, budgeting and shopping, cooking and nutrition, mental health awareness, medication monitoring, transportation, employment, and transition to community living. An eligible recipient is a Medical Assistance-eligible individual who is age 18 or older; is diagnosed with a medical condition, such as mental illness or traumatic brain injury, for which adult rehabilitative mental health services are needed; has substantial disability and functional impairment in three or more areas, so that self-sufficiency is markedly reduced; and has had a recent diagnostic assessment by a qualified professional that documents adult rehabilitative mental health services are medically necessary to address identified disability and functional impairments and individual recipient goals.


Minnesota County Websites Listing -

This government portal provides you with links to your counties website, where you can then find the counties social services department information.

Department of Human Services (DHS) Housing Benefits 101

Housing Benefits 101 is a free Web-based tool that can help you decide where you want to live. At, you can explore your housing goals:

  • Learn more about your housing options
  • Learn more about services and programs to help you in your home
  • Create a plan to reach your goals.

Disability Benefits 101

Disability Benefits 101 is a comprehensive benefits and work-planning website created for people with disabilities under age 65, their families, caregivers and professionals.

DB101 offers:

  • Facts on benefit and work incentive programs
  • Links to resources
  • Live chat, email or phone assistance
  • Online tutorials, tip sheets and guides
  • Success stories that demonstrate how to manage benefits and work
  • Tools for setting work goals

Questions to ask Providers when Making Decisions About Residential Supports for Family Members With Disabilities

The purpose of Through Asking the Right Questions... You Can Reach Your Destination is to support families and persons with disabilities in selecting residential service providers. Its contents are based upon information family members have indicated is important to consider when making decisions about which agencies are best suited to meet the support needs of persons with disabilities.

DHS Programs and Services

The Disability Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services recognizes the importance of helping people live where they choose, with appropriate services

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