Page Reviewed / Updated – May 31, 2024

Program Description

The Minnesota Personal Care Assistance program provides services to seniors that helps them remain living independently in the community. Participants hire a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) who helps them manage their Activities and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living , such as bathing, eating and basic mobility.

Participants have the option to self-direct their personal care service, which offers a great deal of flexibility about who they are able to hire to help with their activities of daily living. Friends, neighbors, and family members, including adult children and spouses, can be employed as the Personal Care Assistant or, essentially, a caregiver.

Individuals are provided access to cash and receive the counseling they need to arrange their own care services. By transferring the administration of care services to the individual, the state saves money on administration costs and the individual gains flexibility and control.

Eligibility Guidelines

General Requirements

To be eligible for Personal Care Assistance, one must meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a Minnesota health care program such as Minnesota Medicaid (also known as Medical Assistance) or Minnesota Alternative Care.
  • Be assessed by a social worker with the county department of health to determine a medical need for personal care assistance, and a physician must deem personal care assistance as necessary.
  • Live in the community, not an institution such as a nursing home.
  • Be able to direct their own care or select a representative to do so.

Financial Requirements

Participants must also meet financial requirements.

Income Limits
A single applicant must have income that is below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. However, Minnesota updates its FPL figures in July. This means that from July 2024 – June 30, 2025, the income limit is $1,255 a month. For applicants who are married, the combined income of both spouses is limited to $1,703 a month.

Asset Limits
Currently in 2024, single applicants are limited to $3,000 in assets, while married applicants are limited to $6,000. (Learn more about Medicaid and jointly owned assets.)

*Once the Personal Care Assistance program transitions into the CFSS program, the financial requirements may change.

Over the Financial Limits?

Applicants with finances over these limits should consider working with a Medicaid planning professional. Persons in these situations still may be eligible for Medicaid, but just require financial expertise to help them allocate their income and resources appropriately.

Learn more about Medicaid planning here.

Benefits and Services

Participants in the program receive the following services:

  • Personal assistance with the activities of daily living, such as grooming, dressing, bathing, eating, transfers, positioning, toileting, and mobility.
  • Assistance with the instrumental activities of daily living, such as meal planning and preparation, shopping for groceries and other essentials, transportation for doctor visits, and help managing finances.
  • Assistance with mechanical devices and other repetitive health related functions, such as those that would typically be provided by a nursing professional.

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How to Apply / Learn More

Due to the variety of providers and choices, getting started with PCA is somewhat complicated. The easiest way to do so is by contacting your county health office to schedule a care needs assessment. A complete list of county contacts, office locations, and telephone numbers is available here.

Complete information about the program is available in the Personal Care Assistance Program Manual. One can also find information about this program on Minnesota’s Department of Human Services website.