skip to content
Primary navigation

Disability services COVID-19 FAQ

Below are answers to frequently asked questions by providers and lead agencies related to the COVID-19 virus and its effects on disability services. We will update this page frequently, as we are able, to provide more answers or updated information.

Lead agencies

Maintaining HCBS eligibility

For information about how to maintain a person’s eligibility for home and community-based services (HCBS), see frequently asked questions about maintaining HCBS eligibility under COVID-19 requirements.

Assessment/face-to-face visits

Guardianship

Home care and self-directed services

More information about lifting the 40-hour/week limit for parents of minors and spouses

For information about lifting the 40-hour/week limit for parents of minors and spouses, see the Frequently asked questions about lifting the 40-hour/week limit for parents of minors and spouses in CDCS and CSG webpage.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Rates

Service authorization

Providers

The DHS commissioner authorizes licensed adult day service providers to provide services in alternative ways during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. Providers can deliver adult day services during this time remotely and/or in person to one person at a time.

DHS is modifying the adult day services model to maintain essential services for the population normally served in adult day settings. Responses to frequently asked questions are online.

How to protect the rights of people with disabilities when they return to day service programs and employment services

The following section provides guidance to 245D-licensed day services and employment services providers on upholding a person’s rights, person-centered practices, service suspensions and service terminations under the peacetime emergency declared by Gov. Walz in Executive Order 20-01 (PDF) and extended in subsequent executive orders. (See the complete list, including the most recent orders, on the Governor’s website).

After being completely closed, disability day service providers gradually have been reopening. However, executive orders change over time, “dialing up” and “dialing back” restrictions in response to the severity of the pandemic in Minnesota. The principles of maintaining people’s rights and informed consent still apply, regardless of how open or restricted services are.

Day and employment service providers, along with other trusted people, need to work with people as they make decisions about when and how to return to services following statewide executive orders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Home and community-based service providers can use this guidance to ensure they uphold people’s rights and encourage informed decision-making while maintaining infection control as they begin to serve people again.

The following does not give guidance on developing or implementing a COVID-19 preparedness plan, nor does it provide information on licensing requirements for resuming day services or employment services. For information about those topics, see the additional resources section.

Day and employment services

Day services

Employment services

Positive supports guidance

The following section provides guidance to 245D-licensed residential providers on upholding a person’s rights, person-centered practices, service suspensions and service terminations under the peacetime emergency declared by Gov. Walz in Executive Order 20-01 (PDF) and extended in subsequent executive orders. (See the complete list, including the most recent orders, on the Governor’s website).

DHS affirms that people with disabilities who receive 245D-licensed residential services are valued members of their communities. While all people are experiencing restrictions on their rights during the peacetime emergency, people with disabilities cannot have their rights restricted more than people without disabilities. People who live in licensed residential settings (“group homes”) retain all rights afforded to them under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245D. Providers must uphold people’s individual rights and help them understand any current executive orders that affect them so they can make informed choices for themselves.

Residential providers with 245D licenses are encountering difficult questions and situations as they respond to COVID-19 and the requirements of the peacetime emergency order. Managing physical distance in a home between multiple people, including staff, can be extremely difficult in an already challenging environment. Providers must follow executive orders aimed at protecting Minnesotans, and they must also uphold the rights of the people they serve under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245D and the Positive Supports Rule (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 9544).

Providers are not enforcers of executive orders for the people they serve. If a person makes an informed choice to act against an executive order, such as visiting other households, their provider cannot stop them. At the same time, providers are not obligated to provide support services to a person who is breaking the law or violating an executive order.

DHS continues to expect providers to promote each person’s self-determination, person-centeredness, engagement in community and high-quality individualized supports—among other responsibilities. Residential service providers and direct support professionals are responsible for adhering to existing policies and directives. We acknowledge the vital role direct support professionals have in meeting the day-to-day responsibility for applying person-centered principles and protecting people’s health, safety and well-being. This emergency is a particularly important time to learn more about what is important to people and get creative in finding ways to honor that information.

DHS recommends providers participate in a training on positive supports and preserving rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Providers can find:

Download a printable version of this guidance (PDF).

Staffing

Licensing

Rates

All audiences

Waiver services

Answers to questions from people who receive services and the public

Read more on Your rights during the COVID-19 pandemic

Other pandemic-related information

For the latest news about the pandemic and information from AASD for our partners, providers and the people we serve, visit the Latest information about COVID-19 from AASD webpage.

For updates, information and resources for older adults, their families and caregivers, call the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433. You can also find community resources at MinnesotaHelp.info or HelpOlderAdultsMN.org.

Note: For updates related to agency-wide DHS programs, visit the DHS homepage. It has information for providers, counties, tribal nations and members of the public as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated as changes happen at federal and state levels. To be notified when changes occur, you can sign up for COVID-19-specific DHS email notifications.

The governor 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. Find a complete list of temporary waivers and program modifications. We will describe many of these modifications further in DHS bulletins.

back to top