Human Services

Arc Guide to Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)

Arc Guide to Consumer Directed Community Supports

If you have a Home and Community Based waiver, you can choose Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS). This is a service option that gives you more choice and responsibility for your services and supports.

Using CDCS you can:

  • Choose or design the services and supports that fit your needs.
  • Decide when you should receive services and supports.
  • Choose the people and agencies delivering those services and supports.
  • Choose family, friends, your parents, or spouse as employees.

CDCS includes all services and supports available through Home and Community Based waivers.

It also allows you to buy non-traditional supports that are not available through other waiver options.


  • Specialized therapies
  • Special diets
  • Adapted recreation
  • Creative employment options



You can use CDCS if you are enrolled in one of these programs:

  • Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver
  • Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals (CADI) Waiver
  • Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver
  • Brain Injury (BI) Waiver
  • Elderly Waiver (EW)
  • Alternative Care (AC)
  • Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO)


How to Access CDCS

Your county case manager, certified assessor, tribal nation, or health plan representative will do a MnCHOICES assessment every year. This assessment determines your needs.

They will talk to you about your goals, support needs, and if you want more control and responsibility.

If you choose to use CDCS you will:

  1. Be told how much money you have to spend on the supports and services you need. This is your budget for one year.
  2. Write a plan to meet your needs. Your county or tribe must approve the plan.
  3. Choose a fiscal management service to pay for the supports and services in your plan.
  4. Hire the supports and services you need.
  5. Manage your plan and budget.



Your CDCS budget is set using information from your most recent MnCHOICES assessment and screening documents.

If your needs stay the same, you should expect that your budget will remain about the same from year to year.

You can request an exception to the budget. You may have employment or day supports that cannot be met within the current budget.


How to Use Your Budget

  • You decide how to use the funds in your CDCS budget to meet your service and support needs.
  • You choose how your needs are met within the guidelines of the CDCS service and the waiver or Alternative Care program.
  • Your budget amount is the maximum funding you have to use for your services and supports for one full year.


Developing a Plan

You must create a plan for how to spend your budget amount to meet your unique needs. You may use a plan template or write your own as long as it includes all of the same information.

A CDCS community support plan includes:

  • Supports and services you need and plan to use
  • Costs of each support or service
  • Plans to monitor your services or supports
  • Qualifications of the people or agencies who will provide your services or supports
  • Training you would like for the people who will provide your supports

If your needs change during the year you can make a change to your plan. This is called a revision.

Help With Planning

  • If you need help to develop your support plan, you can hire a trained support planner to help you.
  • It helps to have a support planner work with you for the first year but it is not required.
  • A support planner will work with you to develop a community support plan that best meets your personal needs and goals.
  • The cost of a support planner will come out of your CDCS budget.
  • Find out more on the CDCS Support Planner webpage.


Paying For Service and Supports

 If you use CDCS you must hire a Financial Management Service (FMS) provider. The cost will come out of your CDCS budget.

The FMS provider will help you:

  • Manage the services and supports you choose
  • Assist with employee responsibilities if you hire your own employees
  • Pay for the services outlined in your plan
  • Bill the State for those costs.

Each FMS may have different fees and ways of doing business so it helps to contact several agencies to see which one works best for you.

You can ask your county case manager, tribal nation, or health plan representative for a list of FMS providers.

The FMS provider information webpage also has a list of approved agencies. Links on the page will take you to detailed information about each agency’s rates.

It is important to remember that even though the FMS helps you manage your plan and budget, you are the one who is responsible for:

  • Purchasing only what is approved in your plan
  • Spending only the amount of money in the budget. 



Arc Guide to Medical Assistance

Arc Guide to Developmental Disabilities Waiver

Consumer Directed Community Supports Consumer Handbook

Training on Consumer Directed Community Supports

Download PDF: Arc Guide to CDCS

For more information or advocacy services, contact The Arc Minnesota at 833.450.1494 or visit (Please note: This document is not legal advice. No information should replace the advice of an attorney.)

All rights reserved (c) 2020 The Arc Minnesota. Document updated June 2020.