People with Disabilities


What's New

News and updates on DHS efforts that support people with disabilities.

Provider enrollment starts for new autism benefit

Beginning July 1 the Minnesota Department of Human Services will enroll providers to deliver a new early intensive intervention Medical Assistance benefit for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Families and children will be able to access services later this summer. Under the new benefit, covered services will be designed to improve social interaction, communication and behavioral regulation skills at a critical time in development, promoting fuller participation by children in their family, schools and community life. Families interested in the new benefit should contact their county, tribe or managed care plan. More information is available in a news release and on the DHS website.

Tougher law, new resources add to fight against synthetic drugs

As a tougher state law against synthetic drugs goes into effect, Minnesotans also have a new website to get factual information about the dangers and risks posed by the deadly substances. was created by DHS in partnership with state agencies participating in the Minnesota State Substance Abuse Strategy. At a news conference in Duluth Wednesday, Aug. 6, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson announced the launch of the new website, which is designed to provide resources and information for parents, youth, educators, health care professionals and others who may encounter synthetic drugs. Website visitors can learn what types of substances, packaging and paraphernalia to look for, as well as what effects these drugs may have and how to reach out for help. More information is in a news release about the new law and website.

Minnesota takes key steps in fight against opiate abuse

Efforts to curb a wave of prescription drug abuse and addiction to other opiates marked the first full year of the Minnesota State Substance Abuse Strategy. Minnesota met the strategy’s immediate goals to increase education for physicians and other front-line professionals about treatments for opioid dependence, how abuse of opioid-based prescription drugs can lead to addiction to other opiates like heroin and how to reverse an opiate overdose. More information is in a news release about the substance abuse strategy's first-year report.

More content moving to redesigned DHS public website

Adult mental health and disability services content is moving within the DHS website. The move is part of a redesign of the department's public website to improve its usability. To help website users find content, DHS will temporarily redirect key links. If you have bookmarked this content or added it to favorites, you will need to update these links. 

Plan aims to improve opportunities for people with disabilities

A plan that recognizes that Minnesotans with disabilities have the right to live, work and enjoy life in the most integrated setting is available online after being submitted to the court for final approval. The plan charts a course that will change the way state government provides supports and services for people protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Olmstead Plan (PDF), which is named after a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that enumerated the rights of people with disabilities, is now posted online. After months of discussion at public meetings, testimony from people with disabilities and their families and many others, the Olmstead Sub-Cabinet has issued the draft plan. More information is in a news release about the Olmstead Plan.

Report recommends changes to substance abuse treatment system

Changing Minnesota's substance use disorders treatment system from an acute, episodic model of treatment to a chronic disease model of health care would expand the continuum of care and improve integration with other services, including primary care. This change would also align the state's model of care for substance abuse treatment with current research-informed practices endorsed by federal officials. Those are among key findings in a recent report to the Legislature from DHS. More information is in a story about the model of care report.

Problem gambling Web microsite launched

A new Minnesota problem gambling microsite,, was recently launched to offer resources to individuals experiencing life problems related to gambling and others who may have concerns related to an individual's gambling behavior. The site points people to the toll-free problem gambling helpline, 1-800-333-HOPE , and also provides success stories from gamblers who have received treatment and other recovery resources. More information is in a story about the microsite.

Online training aimed at understanding hearing, vision loss

Online training is now available for people interested in learning about the unique challenges experienced by people who have combined hearing and vision loss. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division is now offering "DeafBlind101: An Introduction to Combined Hearing and Vision Loss" on the deaf and hard of hearing services page on the DHS website by clicking the deafblind button on the homepage.

Housing program aims to help Anoka-Metro RTC patients

The DHS Adult Mental Health Division, in partnership with Minnesota Housing, is implementing a new pilot program to serve people with a serious mental illness who are ready for discharge from Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center but lack options for housing. The Bridges Regional Treatment Center program is an extension of the Bridges rental assistance program DHS and Minnesota Housing have administered since 1991 for people with serious mental illness. More information is in a story about the housing program.

Disability website unveils work planning feature

Disability Benefits 101, a comprehensive benefits and work-planning website for people with disabilities, unveiled a feature that offers professionals tools and resources to improve work outcomes for people with disabilities. More information is in a story about the new website feature.

Plan to better align substance abuse prevention programs posted

A comprehensive five-year strategic plan to prevent substance abuse and related problems has been posted on the DHS website. The Minnesota Prevention Systems Alignment Plan (PDF) is a product of the State Prevention Enhancement planning grant received by DHS' Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2011 called the State Prevention Enhancement Project.

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