MA-Waivers: Caregiver Living Expenses
updated December 6, 2018

If you qualify for an MA-Waiver program, it may help pay for the living expenses of another person who lives in the same household and helps you with an approved service.

How It Helps

If you qualify for an MA-Waiver program, it may pay for some of the rent and food of another person who lives in the same household as you.

This other person has some responsibilities and is called a “caregiver” by the MA-Waiver program. Even though the benefit doesn’t pay for your rent or food, the benefit still helps you, because it means:

  • You have somebody around who can help with things and keep you company, and
  • Your rent is probably lower than if you lived alone. It’s cheaper to share a two-bedroom place than have your own one-bedroom place.

A caregiver could be a sibling, a friend, or somebody else. For this benefit, a caregiver cannot be your parent, your spouse, or somebody else who is legally responsible for you.

What does “caregiver” mean?

An MA-Waiver program may help pay for “caregiver living expenses,” if a person who lives with you helps you with an approved MA-Waiver service. This person doesn’t have to be a full-time caregiver.

Approved MA-Waiver services can vary. For example, your caregiver might agree to help you with some things, keep you company sometimes, and commit to being around at night (not sleeping elsewhere). The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has more information about the sorts of things a caregiver might help with.

If you have questions about what services you might get from a person you live with, contact your MA-Waiver case manager or Chat with a Hub expert.

How to Qualify

To get this benefit, you must be an adult, live in your own place in the community (not a facility), and qualify for one of these MA-Waiver programs:

Note: You have to live in your place, not your caregiver’s place.

If you already get services from one of these MA-Waiver programs, contact your Waiver case manager and ask if it might pay for caregiver living expenses or Chat with a Hub expert.

If you have Medical Assistance coverage, but don’t get services from an MA-Waiver program, Chat with a Hub expert or get more information in HB101’s MA-Waiver Programs article to see if you might qualify.

Tip: If you don’t live in your own place yet, you might be able to get this help if you move into your own place in the community.

The DHS manual has detailed information about how to qualify for the reimbursement of caregiver living expenses.

What You Pay

If your MA-Waiver program pays for caregiver living expenses, you still have to pay your own expenses. Even so, your living expenses may be lower than they would be if you lived alone.

Sharing a two-bedroom apartment with another person means that you still have your own room, but can have lower rent because two-bedroom apartments don’t cost twice as much as one-bedroom apartments. Learn more about sharing a place in HB101’s Living with Other People article.

Find a live-in caregiver and make an agreement

If your MA-Waiver case manager says that this might work for you, then you need to find somebody to be the “caregiver” who you’ll live with.

  • It might be somebody you already know, like a friend. If you think of somebody, talk with that person and see if he or she’s interested. Note: You cannot get reimbursement for living expenses if your caregiver is your parent or spouse (or is otherwise legally responsible for you).
  • If you don’t have somebody in mind, then you’ll need to look for a person. Rumi is one free service that can help you find a live-in caregiver. You can also look for roommates on other websites or check local listings.

If you find someone, you should make an agreement with that person. The exact details will depend on your needs. Here are some things that might go into the agreement:

  • How the MA-Waiver program will help pay for your housemate’s room and board
  • How your caregiver will help you, including the caregiver’s responsibilities and schedule
  • Where the caregiver will stay in your place
  • Who will be your caregiver’s backup person when your caregiver is unavailable

You aren’t required to make an agreement, but it’s a good idea, because it can help you avoid problems later.

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