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Aug. 14, 2020

DHS further reopens day services for older adults and people with disabilities
New changes increase the daily maximum duration a person can receive facility-based services from three to four hours, allow services in facility and community settings on the same day and remove a 50-person maximum limit to allow greater flexibility for buildings with larger licensed capacity. Amended waivers and modifications under the governor’s emergency executive order allow for the new changes.

Aug. 5, 2020

Coping with the impact of COVID-19 session planned for people who use disability programs and services
When you have a disability, everyday activities like going to work, going to the store, or even visiting with friends can take a lot of planning and coordination. Limitations and disruptions caused by COVID-19 have made those tasks even more complicated. Join Dr. Karyn Harvey and DHS staff to discuss how to cope with the stress and uncertainty during the pandemic.

Aug. 3, 2020

Waiver and modifications changes, expiration
The commissioner amended two waivers and modifications related to the Child Care Assistance Program to set the expiration dates on Sept. 6, 2020. The change impacts waivers and modifications to:

A modification allowing additional reimbursement to Customized Living providers Amended (CV32) expired on July 31, 2020. However, providers who had at least one confirmed COVID-19 exposure on or before July 31, 2020, are eligible for the 45-day add-on payments.

HHS further extends Provider Relief Fund deadline to Aug. 28
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline again to apply for distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. We encourage providers to apply even if they are not sure they are eligible. Read the news release.

July 31, 2020

First COVID-19 Public Health Support Funds for Child Care payments in process
DHS has notified Minnesota child care providers who are eligible for funds to help offset the cost of meeting COVID-19 health and safety requirements that their first payments are being processed.

DHS is facilitating behavioral health providers' access to relief funds
The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors are working with SAMHSA to improve opportunities for mental health and substance use disorder providers to access pandemic relief funds. DHS is assisting the process.

HHS extends deadline to apply for provider relief funds to Aug. 3
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline to apply for distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to Aug. 3. We encourage providers to apply even if they are not sure they are eligible. 

Providers can get reimbursed for treating uninsured COVID-19 patients
Providers who treated patients with the coronavirus who didn’t have any insurance and were not in Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) can get reimbursed by HHS. Deadlines for the program are extended because funds are still available, but only for a limited time. We encourage providers to submit claims.

July 28, 2020

Deadline is Friday for food support for school children 
Tens of thousands of children could miss out on healthy food if their families don’t apply for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT, benefits by July 31.

July 23, 2020

About 20,000 SNAP and cash assistance recipients must renew applications in August to receive benefits
More than 20,000 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Minnesota Family Investment Program recipients must renew their applications in August to ensure they receive their benefits for September onward, unless the federal government allows Minnesota continued flexibility in how the benefits are administered.

New federal waiver requested, waiver and modification effective dates updated under peacetime emergency authority
With federal approval, the commissioner has waived the requirement for a non-electronic public notice as part of the Waiver Reimagine waiver amendments and Brain Injury waiver renewal. DHS will provide only an electronic notice for the 30-day public comment period. In addition, several other waivers and modifications have been updated to reflect changes to thier effective dates.

July 22, 2020

Changes to background studies for county and private adoptions
In April, certain statutory background study requirements were temporarily modified in response to the COVID-19 emergency and stay at home orders. The changes were necessary because completing studies that met requirements were difficult due to closures of public fingerprinting sites and other difficulties. Fingerprint requirements were waived. Effective July 27, DHS will return to conducting fingerprint-based adoption background studies that meet state and federal requirments.

July 18, 2020

Policy update and clarification about Public Health Support Funds for Child Care
Last week the department sent an announcement about an open application period for COVID-19 Public Health Support Funds for Child Care. Policy updates and clarifications about some funding requirements have been made.

Delay to Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS) cost reporting system launch
To ease the burden on provider organizations as they respond to COVID-19, DHS has delayed the scheduled launch of the DWRS cost reporting system until March 2021.

July 17, 2020

New waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead has modified certain certain training requirements for DHS-licensed children residential facilities, child care centers and family child care providers. In addition a modification for certain background study requirements is amended.

July 16, 2020

Bulletin addresses legislative changes that impact housing and support services
The Legislature passed several policy changes impacting housing and support services, which include Housing Support, General Assistance, Minnesota Supplemental Aid, Social Security Benefits Advocacy and the Housing Stabilization Services Medical Assistance benefit. The Legislature also passed extensions for two waivers that impact the Housing Support program. This bulletin informs agencies of the changes and note where action is required.

Unemployment alert: $600 additional federal payment ends in July
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development alerts Minnesotans receiving unemployment to plan ahead; seek additional resources and support

July 15, 2020

Uninsured Minnesotans can get free COVID-19 tests
Many uninsured Minnesotans can get tested for COVID-19 at no cost to them during the federal public health emergency, thanks to a new health care option.

July 14, 2020

Applications open for new child care funding
Approximately 7,000 Minnesota child care providers will be eligible for $56.6 million in funds to help ensure children’s and staff’s health and safety in their child care settings during COVID-19.

Bulletin published to turn dial on day services for adults with disabilities
Information offers lead agencies and waiver day service providers with guidance on how to provide services in day services facilities and in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting people’s informed choices about returning to day service facilities and to the community.

July 12, 2020

Day services to reopen for all people with disabilities
Beginning Monday, July 13, individuals who live in group homes and other congregate care settings will be able to attend day services programs. Providers are required to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan in place to protect service participants and staff and follow other state licensing requirements related to hours and capacity.

July 11, 2020

Amended modification posted under peacetime emergency authority
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency orders 20-12, has amended a modification for licensing requirements for providers of day services for adults with disabilities.

July 7, 2020

New guidance for children’s residential facilities is available
Questions and answers for staff, families, and clients of children's residential facilities are intended to help providers deliver services that minimize the risk of introduction and spread of COVID-19.

July 6, 2020

Qualified request-for-proposal responders sought to provide emergency shelter or unsheltered street outreach 
This RFP seeks eligible non-profit organizations and local governments to provide emergency shelter or unsheltered street outreach services to youth, single adults or families. Proposals are due Aug. 12.

July 2, 2020

New waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under her existing powers, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to maintain suspended interest on certain child support debt. In addition, amendments were made under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order 20-12 to modifications and waivers to: Modify certain licensing enforcement requirements and extending licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care, and community residential and treatment settings; Authorize federal waiver request and modifying certain requirements for legal nonlicensed provider registration for the Child Care Assistance Program and; Allow additional reimbursement to Customized Living providers.

Balancing rights and safety during COVID-19
Support service providers can join DHS staff from the Disability Services and Licensing divisions to review and discuss issues providers face with Stay Safe MN during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face-to-face visit requirements changed for targeted case management
Federally approved policy modifications to targeted case management services temporarily allow telephone and video-conferencing in place of in-person face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 30, 2020

Deadline to apply for food benefits extended
Families still have time to apply for additional food assistance benefits to help feed their children this summer when they are not receiving school lunches. Due to a deadline extension up to 150,000 families have until July 31 to apply for Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT.

Mini grants available for some mental health services
Moderate grants are availalbe for emergency relief for community mental health services and supports. Proposals from eligible community mental health providers that serve individuals with serious mental illness or emotional disturbances should apply by noon, July 6, for grant funding to enhance provider telehealth services and purchase personal protective equipment for staff use.

Temporary recertification waivers approved for four behavioral health services
Temporary waivers for recertification are approved due to the COVID-19 peacetime emergency for the providers of the following services: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Assertive Community Treatment, Intensive Treatment Foster Care and Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services.

June 26, 2020

Dementia education training module available for COVID testing and contact tracing teams
Developed in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association a new training module is available for COVID testing and contact tracing teams. The training is free and can be accessed at the Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter YouTube channel.

Clarification for child care centers not operating this summer
Child care programs that do not operate through the summer do not need to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29, as communicated in the message sent June 18. All programs will, however, need to have the Preparedness Plan completed before operating in your facility again in the fall.

June 25, 2020

Some housing stabilization services requirements may be waived during public health emergency
Waivers include conflict of interest requirements for all providers, a requirement for people and providers to sign a person-centered plan and a requirement for DHS to evaluate settings to determine whether they meet the home and community-based services setting standards. It does not change the requirement for settings to meet those standards.

June 24, 2020

Eligible families have until June 30 to request additional pandemic food benefits
More than 200,000 families have already applied for or received additional food assistance benefits under a limited-time program that aims to ensure children don’t go hungry during the time they are not in school and receiving school lunch. However, the Minnesota Department of Human Services says that up to 150,000 more families may still be eligible to apply and is encouraging them to do so before the deadline of June 30.

June 22, 2020

Some Minneapolis postal services relocated
Two Minneapolis post offices were burned in the riots following George Floyd’s death, which will affect some of the people with whom DHS communicates via U.S. mail. For example, individuals with P.O. boxes at those locations may not know where their pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer cards – which can be used to purchase food – will be sent.

Bulletin released to protect participation in long-term services and supports programs
Under recently issued federal guidelines, Minnesota will allow for continued coverage for people who receive long-term services and supports. Participants will continue to have coverage and remain eligible for state public programs throughout public health emergency.

June 18, 2020

New requirements for licensed or certified programs: Gudiance available for residential and non-residential programs, child care providers and Certified Behavioral Health Community-Based Services
Minnesota Executive Order 20-74 requires all critical businesses that were allowed to operate during the recent stay-at-home orders to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Critical businesses must develop the Plan by June 29, 2020.

June 17, 2020

Bulletin explains changes that allow remote PCA oversight
Flexibility granted for qualified professionals to provide remote oversight and to increase the number of hours a PCA agency can bill for an individual worker. Bulletin provides instructions to implement temporary policy modifications to PCA services that will ensure people have their health and safety needs met for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

June 16, 2020

Bulletin announces temporary changes for targeted case management
Policy modification to targeted case management services temporarily allow telephone and video-conferencing in place of in-person face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Behavioral health telemedicine resources available
The Department of Human Services added two new resources for providers of mental health and addiction services.

June 11, 2020

DHS asks stakeholders about their availability to engage in Waiver Reimagine project
The Department of Human Services is considering how best to move forward with previously planned work, including Waiver Reimagine, during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

June 10, 2020

3 bulletins released
Policy modifications allow temporary remote delivery of some waiver services, ease limitations for accessible communications technology for an autism program, and change how DHS provides public notice for a waiver program renewal.

Guidance for PCA agencies and other agencies providing in-home support
We recently published guidance that provides important information and recommendations to minimize exposure and transmission of COVID-19 for personal care assistance (PCA) agencies and other providers of in-home services.

June 9, 2020

Bulletin about employment services released 
Notice provides information about employment services during the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance on supporting people’s informed choices about returning to work to county and tribal agencies and home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver employment service providers.

Testing for Minnesotans impacted by protests
The State of Minnesota is offering COVID-19 testing for people living in the communities impacted by recent large gatherings in the Twin Cities area. If you do not live in these neighborhoods, we encourage all other Minnesotans to be tested at their local clinic.

State expands eligibility, doubles funding for third round of emergency child care grants
More than 1,200 Minnesota child care providers will receive about $9.8 million to continue serving children of essential workers through the first round of emergency state funding announced Monday by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Make a plan for alternate short term child care
We’re urging all Minnesotans who are responsible for the care of a child to make a plan now for alternate short term care for their children in the event parents or guardians become ill. To support families in this process, we’ve developed Make a Plan, Minnesota.

June 5, 2020

Human Services launches new benefits for school children 
To ensure 350,000 Minnesota school children who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal program have access to healthy food, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and Code for America, recently launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT, benefit.

Bulletin released 
Some individuals who are adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic were eligible for state and federal economic support. This documentation explains how relief payments affect eligibility for Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Final deadline for fingerprint and photo background studies
The Department of Human Services has set June 30, 2020, as the final deadline for study subjects to have their fingerprints and photo taken for background studies submitted before April 6, 2020 when DHS temporarily modified its background studies processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 4, 2020

Notice about temporary changes to public assistance programs issued to program participants, applicants
A one-time special notice is being issued over the next few days to all active, pending, and reinstated Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Diversionary Work Program, General Assistance, Housing Supports, Minnesota Supplemental Aid, Refugee Cash Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants and applicants informing them of temporary changes to public assistance polices because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

May 29, 2020

Pandemic EBT now available
Do you receive SNAP or Minnesota Family Investment Program benefits? Did your child receive free or reduced-price school meals this past year? You may be eligible for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), which provides an additional benefit to make sure children have nutritious food to eat during this crisis.

May 27, 2020

Minnesotans with low incomes now able to purchase food online using SNAP benefits
Almost 400,000 people who use the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Minnesota now have more options to buy food safely. Starting May 28, 2020, they can purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

May 22, 2020

Restriction lifted on use of public playgrounds 
DHS Licensing lifted the restriction on use of public playgrounds by licensed or certified child care providers, based on a clarification in the Stay Safe MN FAQs and provided local authorities have not closed public playgrounds. Caregivers should ensure children wash their hands after touching play structures and stay six feet away from other groups of children as much as possible.

Corrected bulletin on Child Care Assistance Program 
DHS issued a corrected bulletin on temporary modifications to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

FAQs for lead agencies and HCBS residential providers updated
FAQs about waiver policy changes have been updated with information about respite services and remote delivery of home and community-based services (HCBS).

Adult foster care and supported living services (SLS) provider survey
DHS launched a new survey tool for adult foster care and SLS providers to alert the department about critical COVID-19-related pressures.

May 20, 2020

Day services facilities to remain closed
Commissioner Jodi Harpstead notifies partners that the risks of COVID-19 spreading in facilities remain too great to open at this time. DHS will continue to assess the situation regularly throughout the pandemic provide new guidance as it is available.

COVID-19 guidance for Moving Home Minnesota transition coordinators and lead agencies
To help during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, DHS has modified Moving Home Minnesota (MHM) practices and procedures to make sure that people who use MHM experience minimum disruptions or delays.

May 19, 2020

Bulletins released
DHS issued four bulletins related to waivers and modifications to processes and policies during the peacetime emergency. Bulletin topics include background studies for foster homes, add-on payments for customized living settings with confirmed COVID-19 cases, guidance for refugee resettlement service providers and extended eligibility for refugee cash assistance.

May 18, 2020

Bulletin issued to waive non-electronic public notice requirement for CADI Waiver renewal
The method changes how DHS provides public notice for the Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver renewal.

May 15, 2020

Bulletin describes temporary changes to Child Care Assistance Program
The bulletin provides information for local agency staff about temporary Child Care Assistance Program policy modifications related to COVID-19, along with reminders of existing policies.

COVID-19 information available for nursing facility providers
A new webpage for nursing facility providers with COVID-19 news, information and resources has been launched. Current information includes reimbursement for emergency expenses, communicative technology grants for virtual social and telehealth visits, health care response grant, CARES Act provider relief fund and FEMA public assistance.

Resources for people with autism, their families, providers and educators during the COVID-19 pandemic
Minnesota state agencies have compiled a list of resources for people with autism, their families, providers and educators to utilize during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, return to the Minnesota Autism Resource Portal for the latest information.

May 14, 2020

Bulletin released regarding increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentages for Titles IV-E and IV-B agencies 

The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate used to determine the federal share of assistance payments to Foster Care, Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance programs has temporarily increased.

Alternative adult day service frequently asked questions posted 
To pride greater guidance to a bulletin issued May 4, DHS posted frequently asked questions about alternative adult day services during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Answers about disability services during COVID-19 updated
Answers to questions from lead agencies and residential service providers about upholding a person’s rights, person-centered practices and service suspensions and terminations during the peacetime emergency.

May 13, 2020

New modification affects personal care assistance services
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to allow flexibility for personal care assistance (PCA) service oversight and hours.

MFIP families to receive Emergency SNAP benefits
In early May, Minnesota will issue Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (E-SNAP) to Minnesota Family Investment Program recipients who receive food benefits through the program. E-SNAP is now available for the duration of the peacetime emergency declaration to all SNAP and MFIP recipients.

May 9, 2020

New waivers and modifications under peacetime emergency authority
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to:

  • Modify certain licensing requirements for adult foster care, community residential settings, child foster care and family adult day services
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for detoxification programs

In addition an amendment was made to modifications and waivers to:

  • Modify certain background study requirements

Under the authority of existing laws, the commissioner made changes to:

  • Allow additional reimbursement to Customized Living providers
  • Cancel RFP for Special Needs BasicCare in three counties

May 8, 2020

FAQs: CARES Act economic stimulus payments for children in foster care
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a federal stimulus payment that is based on tax returns filed for 2019. This may impact families with children who currently are, or have been, in foster care.

May 7, 2020

Mental Health Awareness Month focuses on tools for reducing stress and anxiety during COVID-19
Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and with the COVID-19 pandemic this year it’s even more important to take care of our own mental health and support those around us.

Changes to Parent Aware
DHS has temporarily changed some requirements for the Parent Aware Quality Rating and Improvement System, allowing flexibility in rules and deadlines for program participants during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Informational webinar on COVID-19 set for May 13
The DHS Child Safety & Permanency division invites tribal and county children's services supervisors to participate Wednesday, May 13. The webinar looks at impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Minnesota's child welfare system.

May 5, 2020

3 bulletins posted related to COVID-19 response
Operational changes allow for for telemedicine, coordinated care conferences and individual treatment plans in a program for people who have autism. In addition training requirements for child protection workers are waived, and family support and assessment programs have been modified.

May 4, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers
Bulletins released to explains treatment of federal pandemic unemployment compensation payments, to describe alternative adult day service delivery and to expand remote support for home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers.

Online job board helps workers and people with disabilities find each other
The need to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19 has made it harder for people with disabilities to find the support workers they sometimes need, but an updated web tool can bridge that gap and provide peace of mind. Direct Support Connect, an online job board, connects personal care assistants (PCAs) and other direct support workers with the people who want to hire them.

COVID-19 changes to EIDBI policy and services
To ease limitations on EIDBI providers, DHS is temporarily adjusting how they can provide services during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The changes will allow people both providing and receiving services to follow the public health guidance for social distancing.

May 2, 2020

New waivers and modifications under peacetime emergency authority  
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to:

  • Expand remote Home and Community Based Services waiver services for people living in their own homes
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for substance use disorder treatment
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for children’s residential facilities
  • Modify certain licensing requirements for intensive residential treatment service providers
  • Modify requirements for child protection new worker training
  • Modify certain license requirements for adult day services
  • Modify certain requirements for Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) services

In addition an amendment was made to modifications and waivers to:

  • Modify certain licensing enforcement requirements and extending licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care, and community residential and treatment settings

Under the authority of existing laws, the commissioner made changes to:

  • Implement federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

May 1, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers 
Bulletins released to announce Medical Assistance (MA) coverage of COVID-19 testing during the peacetime emergency for individuals who are uninsured and to explain treatment of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) payments for Minnesota Health Care Programs.

DHS clarifies temporary changes to the renewal process for end-of-life orders under public guardianship 
DHS updated the April 7, 2020, eList announcement to be more clear about the temporary process to renew do not resuscitate/do not intubate (DNR/DNI) and/or limited medical treatment (LMT) orders for people on public guardianship.

April 30, 2020

Bulletins released due to program modifications and waivers
Bulletins released to ensure enrollees maintain Minnesota Health Care Programs coverage, waive county cost when COVID-19 delays discharges from DHS-operated psychiatric hospitals and outline the intrastate process to support placement of foster children.

April 29, 2020

Minnesota flexes human services policies in pandemic
In the past five weeks, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily modified more than 30 rules and regulations to preserve access to critical human services.

2 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to waive county costs when COVID-19 delays discharges from DHS-operated psychiatric hospitals and to allow remote delivery of adult day services.

April 28, 2020

Accessible information about COVID-19
Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, including people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. However, for people in this community, getting the information and services they need to stay safe may be harder to find. We have resources to meet the needs of this community.

Action needed for some social security recipients who do not file taxes to receive COVID-19 payment
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic $1,200 individual economic impact payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May. People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes and have qualifying children under age 17 should go to the IRS’s webpage immediately to provide information. Act by May 5 to receive additional payments for eligible children quickly.

April 27, 2020

Updated cleaning, disinfecting guidance for child care providers
Child care providers can review updated Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and consider changes in their operations. Guidance includes updates for COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting and additional response resources.

Clarification of COVID-19 temporary policies for CCAP caseworkers
Specific instructions for absent day exemptions and redeterminations clarify guidance about COVID-19 temporary policies for Child Care Assistance Program caseworkers.

COVID-19 questions and answers for MFIP and DWP providers
Minnesota’s economic support programs help families and individuals work toward economic stability. The Diversionary Work Program (DWP) is a four-month program that helps low-income Minnesota families find a job. When families first apply for cash assistance, most will participate in DWP. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) is the state’s primary program for helping low-income families with children move out of poverty through work. This resource is for providers to help answer frequently asked questions.

April 24, 2020

Minnesota prioritizes child care during COVID-19
Temporary changes add flexibility for families and providers and give guidance on operating during peacetime emergency. Minnesotans who provide child care and families who rely on child care should know that the state is working to prioritize and support their operations and availability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 22, 2020

Emergency food aid will help 250,000 Minnesotans
$55 million in SNAP supplements is coming to 134,000 households. Emergency food relief is coming soon to more than 250,000 Minnesotans who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

April 21, 2020

State awards first emergency child care grants
Round one of funding totals $9.8 million to support family child care providers and centers serving children of essential workers. More than 1,200 Minnesota child care providers will receive funds to continue serving children of essential workers through the first round of emergency state funding announced Monday by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

2 new waivers and modifications, 1 amendment posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to allow flexibility in housing licensing requirements and suspend signature requirements for certain medical equipment and transportation. In addition an amendment was made to a waiver intended to preserve health care coverage for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

Bulletins released: COVID-19 response affects out-of-home placement plans and physical exam requirements for foster
To ensure foster children’s well-being and help stop the spread of COVID-19, DHS suspended requirements for social services agencies to arrange for preventative medical exams and modified policy on the due date and signature requirements for out-of-home placement plans.

April 20, 2020

Federal approval received to expand telemedicine in health care, mental health and substance use disorder settings, allow phone or video use for targeted case management
DHS received federal approval today to temporarily expand access to health care services, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, through telemedicine and to allow telephone and televideo for certain targeted case management services. These waivers have a retroactive effective date of March 19.

FAQs available on child support and federal stimulus payments
Federal stimulus payments are being delivered to qualifying American households. These payments are not exempt from past-due child support collection, so if parents owe past-due support, the federal government may send their stimulus payment to the child support agencies in charge of their cases to pay their past-due support.

COVID-19 guidance for Elderly Waiver customized living
DHS is issuing guidance on Elderly Waiver customized living rate protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lead agencies and providers are partnering in their efforts to prevent and contain COVID-19 in their community. This partnership is critical to continue to meet the needs of people living in the community in customized living provider settings.

Virtual HIV and COVID-19 community meeting
People living with HIV and communities who support them are invited to a virtual HIV and COVID-19 community meeting. Participants can ask questions about access to medical and supportive services, HIV prevention services during COVID-19, how HIV disease and COVID-19 may impact each other or other important issues.

April 19, 2020

2 new waivers and modifications, 2 amendments posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to ensure foster children’s physical health during the peacetime emergency and extend the due date for out-of-home placement plans with adjusted signature requirements for foster children. In addition amendments were made to modifications and waivers to pay Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) payments to child care providers while children not attending care and allow child care assistance payments for a second child care provider when a program temporarily closes or is unavailable.

April 16, 2020

Food, financial assistance available during pandemic
Minnesota makes it easier to get and use essential programs Minnesotans who are struggling to feed themselves and their families or make ends meet should know that help is available and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily modified procedures to make it easier for people to get, keep and use essential programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which offers monthly food benefits.

Supplemental Security Income recipients will receive automatic COVID-19 economic impact payments
SSI recipients with dependent children should still provide their information at IRS.gov. The U.S. Social Security Administration announced that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive automatic economic impact payments directly from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury Department anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May. SSI recipients with no qualifying children do not need to take any action in order to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. The payments will be automatic.

National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate training available
In an effort to share relevant resources and information for caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS Aging and Adult Services Division would like to highlight the following online training opportunity being offered by partner organizations: National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certification NextStep, in partnership with LeadingAge and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, is offering the National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certification, an online training for individual caregivers and employers.

Guidance on prioritizing child safety and conducting visits for child protection workers
The Child Safety and Permanency Division recently released interim guidance on prioritizing child safety and conducting visits during COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to gathering information about the child maltreatment report, we recommended that child protection intake workers pre-screen calls to assess if the reporter knows if anyone is sick or has been exposed to COVID-19. Local social service agencies have discretion where to document these efforts and information. It is advised that information is documented in a location that is easily observable by the assessment worker.

Options to increase benefit levels for foster, adoptive and kinship families
As the DHS Child Safety and Permanency Division has developed guidance for case managers about options that may increase benefit levels for children and provide additional supports to foster, adoptive and kinship families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 13, 2020

Reminder: SNAP recipients can designate someone to shop for them
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients may be unable to leave their homes to go grocery shopping. The Minnesota Department of Human Services is reminding SNAP recipients that they can designate someone to use their EBT card so that person can shop for them using the SNAP recipient’s benefits.

April 10, 2020

Bulletin released: COVID-19 response affects child support and SSIS codes
Suspension of driver’s license, occupational license and credit reporting is temporarily stopped for child support arrears. The Social Service Information System (SSIS) released a statewide sub-service code and new non-program administrative and payroll codes allowing statewide tracking of work and activities related to COVID-19.

Oral consent for treatment plans in children’s therapeutic services and supports
A parent guardian’s oral consent may be accepted in lieu of a paper written signature as Individual Treatment Plan (ITP) approval for a child receiving services.

DHS behavioral health division authorizes flexibility in budgets and deliverables
For the duration of the peacetime emergency, behavioral health division will allow grantees to use existing grant funds for activities and purchases related to preventing and responding to COVID-19 within the scope of original contracts.

April 9, 2020

Temporary modification of DHS background studies and a suspension of enhanced background studies requirements for child care providers
DHS temporarily modified certain statutory background study procedures for most providers during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the peacetime state of emergency. The changes are necessary because completing studies that meet current state and federal requirements has become increasingly difficult due to closures of public fingerprinting sites and a lack of responses to requests for records from other states.

Minnesota bolsters health care programs in pandemic
Human services commissioner uses emergency authority to ensure people remain covered and can access care and prescriptions. During the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesotans who rely on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare should know that their health care coverage is secure and that they have improved access to telemedicine and extended supplies of many prescription drugs.

April 8, 2020

Modified requirements for licensed, certified and family child care providers
The Commissioner of Human Services has temporarily modified certain requirements for licensed family child care providers and child care centers, and certified child care centers, whose services have been designated as essential during the peacetime emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes build upon the modifications announced on March 20. These changes allow child care providers with more flexibility to operate in a pandemic and be able to focus on the most critical health and safety measures needed during this time.

Bulletin released: Modify timelines and face-to-face requirements for Child Protection responses to alleged maltreatment
Policy modification for face-to-face contact requirements and timelines for child protection assessments and investigations in limited circumstances related to COVID-19 precautions.

6 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to provide additional flexibility for child care providers, mitigate the spread of the virus, and protect the health and safety of children and child care staff. Other waivers and modifications allow exemption for temporary absence policy in Housing Support, affect timelines and face-to-face requirements for certain child protection responses to alleged maltreatment, eliminate cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, and expand telemedicine in health care, mental health, and substance use disorder settings.

New Guidance on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for DHS-licensed settings
State agencies continue to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation closely. MDH and DHS are collaborating to ensure that guidance is available for DHS-licensed programs. This guidance is directed at residential and non-residential settings in which individuals at higher risk of COVID-19 illness reside or receive services.

April 3, 2020

2 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead has modified certain background study requirements and waived the in-person requirement to allow fair hearings to take place by telephone or video

DHS expands telemedicine services for public health care program enrollees
DHS received federal approval to temporarily ease certain limits on receiving care and services through telephone and video visits that can instead be provided safely and effectively without an in person face-to-face visit.

Bulletin released: Targeted case management changes for face-to-face contact requirements
Policy modification to targeted case management services to temporarily allow telephone and video-conferencing in place of in-person face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 1, 2020

DHS allows 90-day supply of prescription maintenance medications for public health care enrollees 
DHS has received federal approval to temporarily cover up to a 90-day supply of many noncontrolled prescription maintenance medications for public health care program enrollees.

FAQs: Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants
As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential.

March 31, 2020

Bulletins released in response to COVID-19 
Recently released bulletins describe operational instructions for counties, tribes, managed care organizations and providers related to waivers and modifications currently in effect.

March 28, 2020

8 new waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead waived or modified certain requirements to continue eligibility for families participating in the Child Care Assistance Program, economic assistance for individuals and families, and access to HIV/AIDS services and drug assistance program. In addition to allowing health care providers to continue offering services to low-income Minnesotans through Minnesota Health Care Programs, new waivers also allow telemedicine for select children's mental health programs, using technology for targeted case management visits, and 90-day refill limits for some prescription medications.

March 25, 2020

New waivers and modifications posted under peacetime emergency authority
Commissioner Harpstead, under the Governor’s peacetime emergency order, has waived or modified certain requirements in order to expand access to telemedicine services for Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees, pending federal approval.  She also used existing authority under state law to provide immediate, expedited reimbursement to Minnesota’s 365 nursing facilities.

March 23, 2020

Statement from Commissioner Jodi Harpstead on Executive Orders 20-11 and 20-12 
Today, we are announcing a list of provisions to support the Minnesotans we serve. These regulatory flexibilities are designed to allow Minnesotans supported by the Department of Human Services to stay safe without losing their critical services.

Governor’s Executive Orders create flexibility to serve vulnerable Minnesotans during COVID-19 pandemic
Governor Tim Walz has granted the Minnesota Department of Human Services emergency temporary authority to change administrative and regulatory requirements for food assistance, home care, public health care and other state programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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