Human Services

Arc Guide to Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)

Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) is a service option available through all Medical Assistance (MA) waiver options in Minnesota, which include Developmental Disabilities (DD), Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI), Brain Injury (BI), Community Alternative Care (CAC) and the Elderly Waiver (EW).


The first step in deciding to utilize the CDCS option is to contact your county case manager*, who can provide a brief explanation of CDCS that may include general requirements, documentation, developing the CDCS plan, determining a CDCS budget, etc. There may be a requirement to attend a training session by county staff that will provide more detailed information about CDCS. The CDCS budget is a state-set budget allocation that is based on the needs of the individual which are usually assessed annually. A Fiscal Support Entity (FSE)/Fiscal Management Service (FMS) must be utilized. FSE/FSM agencies offer a range of service models to employ, manage and pay for an individual’s services and supports. The FSE/FSM is the bill payer. What additional services they provide depends on the service model the individual chooses.


Under CDCS, an individual Community Support Plan (CSP) must be created that:

  • Addresses the needs identified in the person centered planning process
  • Identifies and explains the supports, services, and/or goods the individual will need/use to meet identified goals
  • Identifies qualifications and training requirements of staff
  • Defines budget amount and describes payment for items specified in the plan


An example/template of a CSP is available at:


The individual and/or their parent/guardian must write the CSP. A Support Planner may be hired to help. Their fee would be included in the CSP and paid through the waiver budget. Your case manager should be able to provide a list of authorized Support Planners.


The CSP documents goods and services which will be purchased. These goods and services must support the individual with a disability. They must also:

  • Be necessary to meet the needs and outcomes specified in the individual’s plan
  • Provide an alternative to institutional care
  • Be the least costly alternative to reasonably meet the need
  • Only benefit the individual
  • Allow the individual to remain in the community
  • Enhance the individual’s ability to be involved in the community and the family
  • Assist in developing or maintaining skills
  • Decrease dependence on formal support services
  • Increase independence


There are a variety of possible services and supports that may be purchased based on an individual’s needs. For example, one main service that is often documented within the plan and purchased is Support Staff:

  • Participants determine whom they want to hire to provide services. This may include parents and other family members, friends, etc., as well as traditional (licensed) providers
  • Participants are responsible for training and supervising staff
  • Parents of minors and spouses can be hired to provide services within specified limits
  • Participants determine the rate of pay for staff (within state-set parameters)


The county/lead agency has the responsibility to approve the plan and corresponding budget in whole or in part. They may contact you if they have questions about the plan. The county may not allow everything written in the plan, and you have a right to question denials. (It is suggested to call The Arc Greater Twin Cities to discuss plan denials.)


The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) “Consumer Directed Community Supports Consumer Handbook” is available at

Information in the CDCS Consumer Handbook includes:

  • Overview
    • What is CDCS
    • Who is eligible
  • Plan development and implementation
    • Making the Plan
    • What should I put in my plan
    • How do I know what services and supports I can choose from
    • Who can I hire
  • Approving the plan
    • What is the CDCS plan approval process
    • What if my plan is not approved?
  • Putting my plan into action
  • Appendices
    • Criteria for expenditures
    • Paying parents of minors and spouses


* In many situations, the county is the lead agency, therefore, the term county case manager is used. In some situations, the tribe or a managed care entity may be the lead agency. In those situations, the tribe or managed care entity would designate a contact person.



For further information or advocacy services, contact The Arc Minnesota at 952-920-0855 or toll-free at 833.450.1494 or visit (Please note: This document is not legal advice, and should not be construed as such. Thus, no information herein should replace the sound advice of an attorney.)

All rights reserved (c) 2019 The Arc Minnesota