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The Who's Who of CDCS

In programs such as Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) the terminology and the roles of the people involved can be confusing. To help, we have created this guide to provide an overview of the roles involved in supporting a participant using CDCS.


Often referred to as the client at MRCI-CDS, the participant is the person receiving services. The participant chooses to receive care or support at home and in the community with the support of caregivers that he/she or the participant representative selects.

Participant/Client Representative

Accepts responsibility for creation and oversight of the authorized dollars to support the care of the participant. The participant can be the representative and manage their own services, if able. The representative hires, trains, schedules and manages performance of staff, purchases and/or orders goods, facilitates necessary services, and ensures the charges are within the budget limits.

The representative manages the services, maintains oversight of the budget to ensure there are funds for hours worked by staff and tracks reimbursements to ensure funds have been used appropriately by validating that all time and reimbursements are true and accurate prior to submission.

County Assessor

The Assessor meets with the participant and representative at least annually to complete the MNCHOICES assessment. This assessment details the areas where the participant needs support and the dollars provided to address those specific needs. An assessment can be requested at any time if the needs of the participant change and support areas need to be reevaluated.

Case Manager

After the assessment is completed, the case manager will work with the participant/representative to evaluate service options that meet the participant’s needs. If CDCS is chosen, the case manager processes the service agreement to secure funding for the services. The case manager works closely with the participant/representative to ensure the plan addresses all the participant’s assessed needs and meets the waiver guidelines. The case manager needs to approve the initial plan as well as any revisions to the plan before payment can be made. The case manager provides technical assistance and support to ensure the participant’s health and safety needs are met and all program rules are followed.

Support Planner

Once the budget is identified, the support planner works with the participant/representative to outline how the funds for services will be spent. The support planner lays out the goods, services and/or staffing hours that will be required and the reason these are needed to support the participant. They will break down all associated taxes and fees and will send this to the county case manager for approval. Using a support planner is not required, but is recommended, especially during the first year of service.

Financial Management Service (FMS)

The Financial Management Service or FMS like MRCI-CDS, is tasked with monitoring State and Federal regulations including Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to ensure employers are abiding by all requirements and workers are paid appropriately. The FMS acts as the employer of record and opens a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) for the participant. The FMS then manages employer taxes and payments to workers. The FMS will act as Human Resources by making sure all staff are hired following the appropriate legal standards and providing guidance to participant/representatives, as requested. The FMS provides oversight of the budget making sure items that are in the plan are approved and paid out following waiver guidelines.


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