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Waiver Reimagine

Waiver Reimagine is the name of ongoing work DHS is doing to simplify waiver services, reshape the waiver program structure and transition to an individual budgeting model for people who access disability waivers. With these changes, services and supports will align with a person’s needs—not their diagnoses.

Through Waiver Reimagine, DHS will align the disability waiver system with self-direction, independent living and employment-first policies passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2020. The goals of Waiver Reimagine are to:

  • Make the system easy to navigate
  • Support greater choice and control
  • Provide transparent, easy and accessible information about supports, services and budgets
  • Empower people to choose who supports them
  • Provide support according to need, based on a reliable assessment
  • Support people with disabilities to self-direct their services and supports
  • Provide consistent funding for services throughout Minnesota.

These goals will result in a more streamlined, simplified and person-centered service system for people with disabilities in Minnesota. See the Waiver Reimagine: Simplifying the service menu webpage for more information about DHS’ work to simplify the service menu, including case studies and specific examples of the transition.


The 2017 Minnesota Legislature required DHS to conduct two studies to identify efficiencies, simplifications and improvements to the four home and community-based service (HCBS) waiver programs for people with disabilities. For information about these studies, visit Waiver Reimagine reports.

The 2019 Minnesota Legislature authorized DHS to make system-level improvements to Minnesota’s disability waiver programs in a two-phase process to implement Waiver Reimagine changes. The following graphic shows DHS’ timeline to implement phase 1 and phase 2 Waiver Reimagine system changes:

Graphic that shows by year all of the activities completed or to be completed for the waiver reimagine project. The graphic starts with 2017 and ends with 2022 and beyond. Starting iIn 2017, the legislature required DHS to conduct 2 studies to identify improvements to waiver programs for people with disabilities. In 2017-2018, DHS conducted extensive research and stakeholder engagement that informed the 2019 waiver reimagine legislative report and recommendations. The 2019 legislature authorized DHS to simplify the service menu and continue analysis and research to reshape the waiver programs and implement individual budgets. In 2020, DHS developed policies, procedures and systems to implement a simplified services menu beginning January 2021. DHS also continued to conduct stakdholer engagement on reshaping the waivers, individual budgets and self-direction throughout 2020. Phase 1 implementation began in January 2021, including changes to simplify the service menu after federal approval. In 2021, DHS recommends policies to reshape the waiver programs and implement individual budgets to the 2021 legislature. After approval from the legislature in 2021, DHS will submit plans for federal approval to reshape the waiver programs and implement individual budgets beginning in 2023 or later.

Phase 1 (completed)

The first phase streamlined and simplified the waiver service menu across the four waivers.

The simplified menu became available in January 2021. It combines 12 previous services into six new options. People will receive these new services on a rolling basis, either as part of their annual reassessment or during a service change. With the completion of the first phase, the system is now prepared for the second phase.

Phase 1 information and resources

Phase 2

The second phase will implement individual budgets and reshape the four disability waiver programs into two. The 2019 Minnesota Legislature asked DHS to conduct further research, analysis and stakeholder engagement for implementing the second phase of Waiver Reimagine. DHS included these findings in a report to the Legislature, Waiver Reimagine – Phase 1 Service Streamline and Phase 2 Recommendations for Reshaping Waivers and Individualized Budgets (PDF) (January 2021)


Questions and answers share some basic information about waiver services and Waiver Reimagine.


To gather feedback, we will host a series of online events between August and November of 2020.


Waiver Reimagine resources, including the project legislative report and detailed reports on work done throughout the project.

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