Glossary
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Accessible

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A place, object, service, or program that is easy to approach, enter, use, or participate in for a person with a disability.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

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The basic tasks of everyday life, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and moving. When people are unable to perform these activities, they need help with them from services such as personal care assistance (PCA).

Adult Foster Care (AFC)

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Housing for one to five individuals with disabilities and seniors who each live in their own bedroom and get some services from an on-site caregiver. AFC is for people who need some daily care, but do not need skilled nursing care. Adult Foster Care is sometimes called Community Residential Settings (CRS).

Learn more about Adult Foster Care.

Alternative Care (AC) Program

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A federally and state-funded program that provides services to people 65 or older who do not yet qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

Learn more at the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Appeal

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A request to have a third party review an agency’s decision. Requests may be verbal or written. Typically, appeals are requested when benefits, services, or treatments are denied, stopped, or reduced.

Asset Limit

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The maximum amount of assets you're allowed to own while staying eligible for a particular benefits program. Also called a "resource limit."

Assets

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Things that you own, like a car or a house. You can only own a certain amount in assets and still qualify for many benefits programs. The home you live in and the car you drive to work are exempt under most benefits programs. Also called "resources."

Assisted Living

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A set of services available in some Housing with Services establishments for seniors. These services can help you with your daily living activities and can include:

Any housing that claims to have assisted living must be classified as a Housing with Services establishment and must have a staff person awake and available at all times to help residents.

You can get similar services in other types of housing, as long as it is not called assisted living.

Learn more about assisted living services.

Assistive Technology

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Technological devices that help people with disabilities carry out daily activities.

Beneficiary

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The person who is getting a benefit.

Blindness

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Eyesight that is very limited. To be considered legally blind, you must:

  • Have a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in your better eye, even while you are wearing a correcting contact lens or glasses in that eye; or
  • Have a limitation in the field of vision of your better eye, so that:
    • You have a contraction of peripheral visual fields to 10 degrees from the point of fixation, or
    • The widest diameter of your visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees, or
    • You have a contraction of peripheral visual fields to 20% or less visual field efficiency.

Social Security and other agencies use this definition of blindness to decide if you qualify for benefits programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some people with vision impairments that do not meet these standards may still qualify for benefits.

Board and Lodge

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Housing for five or more people who may have individual or shared bedrooms, depending on the facility. Other spaces, such as living rooms, dining rooms, or cafeterias, are shared. Some Board and Lodge facilities offer services.

Learn more about Board and Lodge.

Boarding Care Home

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A long-term care facility for people who need 24-hour skilled nursing. Boarding Care Homes are generally smaller than nursing homes.

Learn more about Boarding Care Homes.

Brain Injury (BI) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with a brain injury who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing facility or neurobehavioral hospital (a hospital that offers long-term rehabilitation to people who have a brain injury).

Learn more on Disability Benefits 101.

Bridges

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A program that helps people with mental illness pay for housing until they can get a Section 8 voucher. Like the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, Bridges helps pay rent for a home or apartment in the community, while allowing the beneficiary to pay only about 30% of his or her income on rent. The Bridges program is run by the same local public housing authorities (PHAs) that run the Section 8 program, but is financed by the state government, not the federal government.

Learn more about the Bridges program.

Chronic Homeless (HUD definition)

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A single person or family that includes an adult with a disability who has either been:

  • Homeless for a year or more, or
  • Homeless at least four different times during the last three years.

A disability can include:

  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Developmental disabilities, and
  • Physical disabilities or illnesses, including HIV/AIDS or Traumatic Brain Injury.

Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with disabilities who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

Learn more on Disability Benefits 101.

Community Alternative Care (CAC) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people who are chronically ill and qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a hospital.

Learn more on Disability Benefits 101.

Condominium (Condo)

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A form of sharing ownership of a set of residences. Residents of condos directly own a specific unit in a building or development. Residents also have a share in and a right to use common areas, like hallways, elevators, gardens, and swimming pools. Condo residents make monthly payments for the upkeep of shared spaces and infrastructure, like the roof, windows, and hallways.

Learn more about condos.

Cooperative (Co-Op)

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A form of sharing ownership of a set of residences. Residents of co-ops do not own a specific unit in the building or development, but own shares of a cooperative housing corporation that owns the buildings and all the units. Residents lease an apartment or unit from the cooperative of which they are a shareholder.

Learn more about co-ops.

Countable Income

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The amount of income that Social Security or the state counts when figuring out if you qualify for benefits and, if so, the level of benefits you should get. Not all of your income counts.

County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO)

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A government employee who works for the State Department of Veterans Affairs and can help veterans and family members with preparing and filing claims for federal and state benefits. A CVSO can also coordinate help from local agencies for employment, housing, and social services.

Find a CVSO near you.

Credit

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The ability to borrow money based on your history and promise of repayment.

Credit History

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A record that shows when and how you borrowed and repaid money.

Credit Limit

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The maximum amount of money that a financial institution or other lender will make available to you.

Crisis Housing Fund (CHF)

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A state program that gives short-term housing help to people with mental illness whose income is being used to pay for inpatient psychiatric treatment that is expected to last 90 days or less. CHF may help pay for rent, mortgage, or utility expenses.

Learn more about the Crisis Housing Fund.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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A government-run military veterans benefits system. The VA has hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for running programs for veterans and their families. The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocationalrehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits, and burial benefits.

Developmental Disabilities (DD) Waiver

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people with developmental disabilities or related conditions who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in an Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD).

Learn more on Disability Benefits 101.

Disability (definition used by Social Security for adults)

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The inability to engage in any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

A person must not only be unable to do their previous work but also cannot, considering age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of SGA that exists in the national economy. It doesn't matter whether such work exists in the immediate area, or whether a specific job vacancy exists, or whether the worker would be hired if he/she applied for work. The worker’s impairment(s) must be the primary reason for his/her inability to engage in SGA.

Learn more about how Social Security determines whether an adult has a disability on Disability Benefits 101.

Disabled Adult Child (DAC) Benefits

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Social Security benefits for adults who:

  • Became disabled before turning 22, and
  • Have a parent who died or who gets retirement or SSDI benefits.

Also called "Childhood Disability Benefits" (CDB).

Learn more about DAC on Disability Benefits 101.

Down Payment

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The initial payment you make when you buy something on credit.

Down Payment Assistance Program

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Help offered by some cities and counties that may reduce a homebuyer’s portion of the down payment to as little as 1% of the purchase price. The rules are different for every program, but usually the homebuyer does not need to repay this financial help until the homebuyer sells the home or finishes paying off the original mortgage. In some cases, the homebuyer may not have to repay it at all.

Earned Income

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Salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and other amounts you receive as pay for physical or mental work you perform. Funds received from any other source are not included. (Contrast: unearned income.)

Earned Income Disregard (EID)

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A rule that helps people with disabilities getting housing benefits, like Section 8, public housing, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), try working.

If you have a disability and get a housing benefit that has an EID rule, you can start working and your new earnings will not be counted by the program during the first year after you start working. That means your rent won’t go up and you won’t lose the benefit because of your work. During the second year after you start working, only 50% of your earnings will be counted.

Learn more about the Earned Income Disregard on Disability Benefits 101.

Elderly Waiver (EW) Program

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An MA-Waiver program that provides services to people 65 or older who qualify for Medical Assistance (MA). The services help people live in the community instead of in a nursing home.

Learn more at the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Essential Functions

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The fundamental job duties that an employee must be able to perform alone or with the help of a reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job. At the same time, you cannot ask for an essential function to be removed from your job description as a reasonable accommodation.

Family Homeless Prevention & Assistance Program (FHPAP)

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Statewide help for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Find the FHPAP agency in your area.

Family Unification Program (FUP)

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Rental assistance that helps families at risk of being separated due to lack of housing and former foster youth ages 18 – 21.The program is funded by the federal government and administered by local public housing authorities (PHAs).

If you qualify, you get help paying for rent in any privately owned housing that accepts FUP as payment and that meets the PHA’s standards for your household. That means you will end up spending 30% – 40% of your income on your housing and the government will pay the rest.

Learn more about the Family Unification Program.

Foreclosure

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A situation in which a mortgage lender (or financial institution) takes possession of the property because the borrower has not made payments on interest or principal for a certain period of time. Once the lender takes over the property, it usually sells at a discounted price to recover the amount lost on the mortgage loan.

Learn about how to prevent your home from being foreclosed.

General Assistance (GA)

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A state program that gives monthly cash benefits to Minnesotans with low income and low assets. To qualify, you must fit into one of 15 categories, most of which are based on disability or inability to support yourself with work. To apply, contact your county human services agency.

Learn more about GA on Disability Benefits 101.

Grant

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Money that does not have to be repaid. Government agencies and foundations give grants to programs and individuals who need financial help.

Group Home

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Housing that includes services where seniors or people with disabilities live in the same building. This is a generic term and does not refer to any particular type of state-licensed or regulated housing.

The following types of regulated housing settings are sometimes called group homes:

If you live in a group home and are not sure how it is licensed or regulated, ask the housing management.

Group Residential Housing (GRH)

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The Group Residential Housing (GRH) program helps pay room-and-board costs for people with disabilities, and people aged 65 or over, who have low income and assets and live in certain Adult Foster Care or other facilities.

Learn more about Group Residential Housing.

Guardian

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A person who has the legal authority and duty to care for another person.

Homeless (HUD definition)

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For programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), people who are homeless are in at least one of these situations:

  • They are living in a place not meant for humans to live in, in an emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they resided for less than 90 days.
  • They are losing their primary nighttime residence, which may include a motel or hotel, within 14 days and don’t have the resources or support networks to stay in housing.
  • They are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, have no other residence, and don’t have the resources or support networks to get other permanent housing.

To qualify for a specific HUD program that helps people who are homeless, you may have to meet additional eligibility requirements.

Learn more about HUD homeless programs.

Homeless Person (state programs)

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An individual who lacks a fixed and adequate nighttime residence.

The Minnesota Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Mental Health Division of the Department of Human Services says this may include:

  • An individual or family that lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, or
  • An individual or family whose primary nighttime residence is:
    • A supervised, publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill)
    • An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or
    • A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

Household

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A group of people who live together as a family. Eligibility rules for benefits programs often vary depending on how many people live in your household.

The exact rules for who counts as a member of a household depend on the program. For most programs, your household includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse
  • Your children
  • Your spouse's children

If you are under 18, for most programs your household also includes the following people if they are living with you:

  • Your parents
  • Your stepparent if your other parent lives with you
  • Your siblings and stepsiblings

For some programs, other people living with you, such as grandparents, cousins, or others, may also be considered part of the household.

Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA)

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See public housing authority (PHA).

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

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A program that gives housing grants and rent help to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Learn more about HOPWA.

Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Rental Assistance

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A program that helps people pay for privately owned rental housing. It is funded by the state of Minnesota, but is run by different agencies and organizations in different areas. If you qualify for HTF Rental Assistance, you will end up spending about 30% of your income on your housing and the program will pay the rest.

Learn more about HTF Rental Assistance.

Housing with Services

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Housing for seniors and people with disabilities that includes services and is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Housing with Services establishments can include individual apartments where you get services or can be more like group homes. All housing that offers “assisted living” is licensed as a Housing with Services establishment.

Each Housing with Services establishment offers a different set of services. Some offer minimal services, such as one meal per day or weekly housekeeping, while others may have 24-hour help on-site for things like dressing, bathing, and toileting. All Housing with Services establishments have to have a full description of the services they offer and detailed information about how much their rent and services cost. You can ask different establishments for this information.

Learn more about assisted living at Housing with Services establishments.

Income

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Money from salaries, wages, tips, disability benefits, investments, dividends, and funds from any other source.

Income Limit

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The highest income you can have while still qualifying for a particular benefits program.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

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A savings account in which your deposits are "matched" at a certain rate. If you have a two-to-one match, for example, an additional $2 will be deposited for every $1 that you deposit in your account. IDAs are usually used to save for going to school, purchasing a home, or starting a business.

Learn more about IDAs on DB101.

Institution

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Types of housing where help or services are provided as part of the housing. HB101 usually uses the terms “facility” and “group home” when describing these types of housing.

Institutions can include facilities such as:

Other facilities with different names may also qualify as institutions.

Note: Some benefits programs have their own definitions of institution.

Interest

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A charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.

Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD)

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A residential long-term care facility that provides services to people who have mental retardation or a related condition.

Learn more about ICF/DDs.

Loan

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Money that has to be repaid over time. You may get a loan to pay for different things, like buying a home or a car or paying for college or other expenses.

Long-Term Care Consultation (LTCC)

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A review of your situation to see what long-term care programs and services are best for you. The LTCC can help you figure out what services and programs might help you live in the community, including MA-Waiver programs, Medical Assistance (MA), personal care assistance (PCA) services, or other benefits. Even if you are not eligible for public benefits, the LTCC can help you understand what services, accommodations, and resources exist.

Note: MnCHOICES assessments are replacing the LTCC throughout Minnesota.

Long-Term Care Facility

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A place where people who need 24-hour skilled nursing can stay. To be admitted into a long-term care facility, you must go through a pre-admission screening to make sure you need this level of care.

There are three types of long-term care facilities:

Some people who live in long-term care facilities may be able to live in the community by getting similar services in their own homes or apartments.

Learn more about long-term care facilities.

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTC)

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An insurance policy that may cover long-term care facility costs. When and if you need long-term care services, the policy may cover the cost, letting you keep your personal savings. You may purchase an individual policy or may have a policy as a job benefit or retirement benefit.

Learn more about long-term care insurance.

Long-Term Homelessness (state programs)

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The state of lacking a permanent place to live for a year or more or at least four times in the past three years.

Managed Care

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Health coverage that requires you to get most services within a network.

With managed care, you have a primary care provider who oversees your care and refers you to specialists within the network when needed.

Market Rate

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The price of a product or service as set by the owner. This price is usually based on what the owner would like to charge and what the owner thinks people would be willing to pay. When many sellers and buyers negotiate over similar products or services, they will tend to have similar prices based on what the real value is.

Market-rate rental housing includes single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments. With market-rate rental housing, the cost of rent is what the owner wishes to charge and the rent is not subsidized or reduced based on your income or situation.

Learn more about market-rate rentals.

MA-Waiver Programs

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Additional services beyond what's covered under standard Medical Assistance (MA) to help people with disabilities live in the community. These services can include Personal Care Assistant (PCA) services, extended home health aide and nursing services, extended homemaker services, medical equipment and supply services, and more transportation services.

Here are four MA-Waiver programs available to Minnesotans with disabilities:

Note: Not all people with disabilities will qualify for an MA-Waiver program.

Learn more about MA-Waiver programs.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

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A law that created funding for programs that help people who are homeless. These programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Learn more about HUD programs for people who are homeless.

Medical Assistance (MA)

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A state-run health care program that pays medical expenses for people who are disabled, young, elderly, poor, or pregnant. If you meet program requirements, MA will help pay for a variety of medical services including visits to the doctor, hospital stays, medical equipment, home care services, and prescription drugs.

Learn more about MA on Disability Benefits 101.

Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities

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A program that gives Medical Assistance (MA) health coverage to employed people with disabilities. To qualify you must:

MA-EPD covers the same services as standard MA, but lets you have higher income without losing your coverage.

Learn more about MA-EPD on Disability Benefits 101.

Medicare

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A federal program that provides health insurance for people 65 or older and many people under 65 who have disabilities. If you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will be eligible to get Medicare after a two-year waiting period.

Learn more about Medicare on Disability Benefits 101.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

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Minnesota's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (sometimes called "welfare-to-work"). MFIP provides cash and food assistance to low-income families with children, and also helps with job training and finding employment.

Learn more about MFIP on Disability Benefits 101.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)

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A state program that provides monthly cash benefits to people who are aged, blind or disabled, and who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Some people who don't get SSI benefits may still be eligible for MSA if their income is low enough and they meet other program criteria.

The MSA benefits you get depends on your living arrangements, the amount you get in SSI (if you get SSI benefits), and whether or not you have any special needs expenses. You may also get additional Housing Assistance, depending on your situation.

Learn more about MSA Housing Assistance.

MnCHOICES

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A review of your situation to see what long-term services and supports are best for you. MnCHOICES assessments are for people of all ages who have any type of disability or need for long-term services and supports.

The MnCHOICES assessment can help you learn about the services and programs that would help you live in the community, including MA-Waiver programs, Medical Assistance (MA), personal care assistance (PCA) services, or other benefits. After your assessment, you get a plan that includes service and support options that can help you meet your needs.

You can ask for an assessment by calling your local county human services agency. An assessment should be scheduled within 20 days.

Learn more about MnCHOICES.

Note: Long-Term Care Consultations (LTCCs) used to help people in a similar way. MnCHOICES assessments are replacing LTCCs, Developmental Disabilities (DD) Screenings, and Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Assessments in Minnesota.

Mortgage

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A loan for funds used to buy real estate property.

Moving Home Minnesota

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A program that helps people transition out of nursing homes, hospitals, Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DDs), and institutions for mental diseases to community living. It serves people who do not qualify for MA-Waiver programs.

Learn more about Moving Home Minnesota.

MSA Housing Assistance

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An additional monthly cash benefit for people who get Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA). Your total shelter costs (rent, utilities, and initial security deposit) must be more than 40% of your household gross income to qualify for Housing Assistance.

Learn more about MSA Housing Assistance.

Nursing Home

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A long-term care facility for people who need 24-hour skilled nursing. To gain admission to a nursing home, you must go through a pre-admission screening to make sure you need skilled nursing services. A nursing home that accepts payment through Medical Assistance (MA) or Medicare is known as a skilled nursing facility.

Learn more about nursing homes.

Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Services

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Support services for people with disabilities who live independently in the community. A qualified personal care assistant (PCA) provides the services in the person’s own home, in the community, or in the workplace. A PCA may help a person get dressed, go from one place to another, prepare meals, bathe, or do other activities.

Learn more about personal care assistance.

Premium

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A regularly scheduled payment to an insurer or health care plan.

Principal

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The amount that a person borrows. For example, if you borrow $100,000, the principal amount is $100,000. Interest is calculated over the principal.

Project for Assistance in Transitioning from Homelessness (PATH)

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A program that helps people with serious mental illness, including people with substance use disorders, who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. PATH helps with:

  • Community-based outreach
  • Mental health, substance abuse, case management and other support services, and
  • Some housing services.

PATH is federally funded, but managed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Project-Based Housing

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Specific units in privately owned buildings set aside for people who qualify for housing programs that help pay rent.

If you get an apartment from a project-based housing program, you do not get to choose which apartment you will live in. With many project-based programs, you will pay about 30% of your income as rent, and the program will pay the rest.

The Section 8 project-based voucher (PBV) program is a large project-based housing program. Other project-based housing is available through HUD Homeless Programs, HTF Rental Assistance, Section 202, and Section 811.

Provider Agency (PCA)

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A service organization that provides and manages personal care assistance (PCA) for people who don’t want to or who aren’t able to do so themselves.

Learn more about personal care assistance.

Public Housing

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Rental housing for people with low income that is owned and managed by public housing authorities (PHAs). Public housing comes in many sizes and types, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings. Some public housing units are reserved for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Learn more about public housing.

Public Housing Authority

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A local agency that is in charge of assigning Section 8 housing vouchers, taking care of upkeep of public housing, and making sure that the housing is safe, decent, and affordable. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees and assists PHAs. Some public housing authorities are called “housing and redevelopment authorities” (HRAs).

Find a PHA near you.

Realtor

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A person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land. Also called a real estate agent.

Reasonable Accommodation

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An adjustment or modification to a job or workplace that enables an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.

In education, a reasonable accommodation is a modification that allows a student with a disability to successfully participate in an activity, class, test, or other aspect of school.

Learn more on Disability Benefits 101.

Rehabilitation

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Services or devices which help a person with a health condition to relearn skills that they knew how to do before an illness, accident, or injury.

Rental Lease

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A rental contract between a landlord and a tenant.

Renter’s Property Tax Refund (Renter’s Credit)

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A state tax refund of up to $2,060 for people who rent the place they live in and have annual household income below $58,880. To get this refund, you must file a separate form from your state taxes, and your refund will also be sent to you separately from any regular state tax refund you may get. Also called the "Renter’s Credit."

Learn more about the Renter’s Property Tax Refund.

Representative Payee

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A person who gets and manages benefits on someone else's behalf. Social Security does an investigation before making a relative, friend, or other person the representative payee of a beneficiary who needs help managing their benefits. For children under 18, a parent or guardian is usually the representative payee.

Resources

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See assets.

Room and Board

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Housing which includes meals and other household necessities, such as utilities, a bed, linens, and bathroom supplies.

Section 202

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A program that pays for the construction of housing developments that serve seniors and some people with disabilities who have low income.

Learn more about Section 202.

Section 8

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A program that helps people with low income pay for housing. Federally funded and administered by local public housing authorities (PHAs), Section 8 has three main programs:

  • The housing choice voucher program, which helps pay for rent in any privately owned housing that accepts a Section 8 voucher. This is the most common Section 8 program.
  • Project-based Section 8, which also helps pay for rent in privately owned rental housing, but only in specific privately owned buildings.
  • The Section 8 Homeownership Program, which helps buy a home and meet the monthly homeownership expenses.

Learn more about the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

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Also called “tenant-based Section 8,” this is the largest part of Section 8. With this program, you pay about 30% of your monthly household income on rent in privately owned housing, while the government pays the rest. Once you are issued a Section 8 voucher, you can continue to use it even if you move to another city or state. The only limitation is that a public housing authority (PHA) has to be available to service the voucher in the area where you want to move.

Learn more about the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.

Section 8 Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Program

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A part of the federal Section 8 program that helps people with low income pay for rent in privately owned rental housing, but only in specific buildings or units. If you get a project-based voucher, you don’t get to choose the unit you live in. If you qualify for the PBV program, you will end up spending 30% of your income on your housing and your local public housing authority (PHA) will pay the rest.

Learn more about the PBV program.

Section 811

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A program that pays for the construction of housing developments that serve people with disabilities who have low income. Disabilities can include physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illness.

Note: Some Section 811 housing units for people with disabilities are part of a separate demonstration project.

Learn more about Section 811.

Section 811 Demonstration Project

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A program that helps people with disabilities who have extremely low income and their families afford housing by paying for part of their rent in specific privately owned apartment buildings. Disabilities can include physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illness.

If you are helped by the Section 811 Demonstration Project, you will pay 30% of your income on your rent.

Learn more about the Section 811 Demonstration Project .

Security Deposit

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Money you leave with a landlord when you move into a home or apartment you will be renting. Often the same amount as one month’s rent, this money is used to repair any damage you cause to the apartment while you live there. Any money left over after the repairs are completed is returned to you when you move out. If the place doesn't need any repairs when you move out, you should get the full amount back.

Services for People with Disabilities and Seniors

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Help with certain activities that people with disabilities and seniors need due to physical or mental limitations. This help is done by a person or people who may be paid or unpaid. Examples of common services include:

  • Help with bathing
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Help taking medication
  • Transportation
  • 24-hour skilled nursing care

A housing setting may include services, but you can also often get the services you need in your own home.

Learn more about services.

Skilled Nursing

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Services that require the attention of a registered nurse. These can include making medical evaluations, providing medical services, planning for future care, and informing doctors of a person’s needs. Skilled nursing is included in certain settings, including nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities (SNF), which may be paid for by Medicare.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

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A care location covered by Medicare that includes a semiprivate room, meals, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services, and other services and supplies. All skilled nursing facilities are also licensed as nursing homes in Minnesota, but some nursing homes are not considered skilled nursing facilities by Medicare.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

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A federal government agency that runs important programs like:

Social Security offices also handle some aspects of Medicare.

To contact SSA, call 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) or visit your local Social Security office.

Learn more on SSA.gov.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

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Wage replacement income for individuals who have worked and paid FICA taxes and who now have a disability that meets Social Security disability rules. SSDI provides a variety of benefits to family members when a primary wage earner in the family becomes disabled or dies. SSDI is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed people. SSDI benefits are payable to disabled workers, widows, widowers, and children or adults disabled since childhood who are otherwise eligible.

Learn more about SSDI on Disability Benefits 101.

Special Needs Expenses (MSA)

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Extra costs you have that Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) will help you pay for. Special needs expenses can be things you need just once or they can be ongoing expenses you have each month.

Special needs expenses must be approved by your county human services agency before MSA will pay for them. Examples of things that might be approved include:

  • Medically prescribed diets (foods you must have for health reasons)
  • Fees you pay to a representative payee who collects your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments
  • Needed home repairs, furniture, or appliances
  • Emergency basic needs expenses like food and shelter.

You must fully document all special needs expenses with receipts or other proof.

Spenddown (MA)

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The amount of money you have to pay for health care expenses each month before Medical Assistance (MA) starts to pay for the rest of your health care bills. If you have countable income that is greater than the income limit for disability-based or age-based MA, you may need to pay a spenddown.

Read more about how a spenddown works on DB101.

State Medical Review Team (SMRT)

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A group within Minnesota's Department of Human Services (DHS) that decides whether or not the state considers you blind or disabled for state benefits programs. SMRT uses a standard process to decide whether people who are not already considered disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) meet the state's disability standards.

If you already get benefits from Social Security based on your disability, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your disability automatically meets the state’s standards and you do not need to be reviewed again by SMRT.

Contact your local county human services agency to request a SMRT review.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

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The amount of monthly earned income that shows a person is doing significant work according to Social Security. People who cannot earn more than SGA due to their disabilities may be considered disabled by Social Security and other agencies that use Social Security’s definition of disability.

In 2017, SGA is $1,170 per month ($1,950 for people who are blind).

Learn more about how Social Security determines whether an adult has a disability on Disability Benefits 101.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

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A county-run, federal program that helps people with low incomes buy food. Formerly called Food Support (in MN) or Food Stamps.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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A Social Security Administration (SSA) program that gives cash benefits to people with disabilities who have limited income and resources. The amount you get in SSI benefits is based on your financial need and your living situation. The maximum monthly SSI benefit is $735 for individuals and $1,103 for eligible couples.

Learn more about SSI on Disability Benefits 101.

Supported Employment

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Services to help people with disabilities find jobs or stay employed. Examples are job skills training, job coaching, or help requesting reasonable accommodations from an employer.

Tax Credit

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A dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes owed. If the tax credit is greater than the amount of taxes you owe, the remaining credit will be sent to you by check or direct deposit.

Unearned Income

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Funds received from sources for which no paid work activity is performed. Disability benefits such as SSDI, SSI, short-term disability insurance, and long-term disability insurance; VA benefits; Workers' Compensation; income from a trust or investment; spousal support; dividends, profits, or funds received from any source other than work are all usually considered unearned income. (Contrast: earned income.)

Veterans Service Organization (VSO)

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An organization that represents the interests of veterans. Most VSOs have specific membership criteria, but you usually don’t have to be a member to get help with benefit claims or appeals.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)

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A state agency that helps people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs. To apply for services, call or visit a vocational rehabilitation counselor at a WorkForce Center.

Learn more about VRS on Disability Benefits 101.

Waiting List

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A list of names of people who applied for services or benefits or products that are not immediately available.

Waiting Period

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The amount of time you have to wait before getting a benefit. For example, you begin getting Medicare coverage two years after you start getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).