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Minnesota's Consumer Support Grant, also known as the CSG Program, is a monthly cash grant provided to program participants in lieu of them receiving care services in their home. This grant is offered to Minnesotans as an alternative to home care services (home health aide, personal care assistance, and private duty nursing) covered via Medicaid. Aside from care support, this grant may be used for a variety of other supports, such as home modifications, meal delivery, and transportation assistance, in order to decrease an individual's reliance on others.
The CSG Program is based on the Cash and Counseling model of delivering Medicaid services. Recipients are given a grant of cash and the flexibility to self-direct their care in place of receiving care services provided by state managed agencies. This model of care is also referred to as consumer direction or participant direction.
One particularly attractive component of the Consumer Support Grant is that family members can be hired as paid caregivers. Unlike many programs that offer consumer direction, even spouses, in addition to adult children and other relatives, can be hired and receive compensation as caregivers.
Applicants for this program must be able to live in their own home or the home of a relative and have the capacity to direct their own care (or authorize someone else to do it for them). In addition, applicants must qualify for Minnesota's Medical Assistance (Medicaid), specifically they must be eligible to receive home care services from Medical Assistance, which has both medical and financial qualifiers.
Individuals must also demonstrate a need for assistance with their activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, eating, mobility, and / or toileting. They must be living at home or willing to move from a nursing home into a family home.
Financially, Medical Assistance has many different criteria, depending on the group that the applicant is in. As of 7/1/17 until 6/30/18, elderly (65 and up) residents can have monthly income up to $1,005 and couples can have no more than $1,354. (These figures are equivalent to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guideline) The income limits are approximately 20% lower for individuals who intend to qualify for Medical Assistance through deducting their medical services from their income.
Make note, the income limits will increase slightly effective 7/1/18. As of that date, an elderly individual may have a monthly income up to $1,012, while couples are allowed a monthly income up to $1,372.
A "countable asset" limit also exists that excludes necessary items, such as a home, household furnishings, a car, clothing, and some personal sentimental items, such as wedding rings. The 2018 asset limit is $3,000 for a single applicant. Married applicants have a $6,000 limit, if both spouses are seeking Medicaid coverage simultaneously.
Persons exceeding the financial limits may still qualify. A professional Medicaid planner or adviser can offer families valuable insights on how to use the program rules strategically. Learn more about the range of benefits facilitators.
Participants in the program are provided with cash grants that can be used for a variety of supports, such as:
Grant funds can be used for other services that are directly related to caring for the disabled or aged individual. Supports and services not explicitly identified above need to be approved by the program staff. Grants can be given out as cash, vouchers, or as payment directly to the vendor.
To begin the application process, one should contact the county office of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services. Unfortunately, this grant program is not available statewide. Contact your local county human services office to find out whether the grant is available in your county. A complete list of offices can be found here. More information can be found on the Minnesota CSG webpage or in this PDF.