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Minnesota: Plaintiffs in Minnesota Lawsuit Claim Department of Human Services Underspent $1 Billion in Medicaid Disability Waiver Funds

September 25, 2015

Minnesota attorneys, representing a group of plaintiffs with disabilities, are arguing that Minnesota’s Department of Human Services mismanaged money set aside for Medicaid HCBS waivers, leading to the plaintiffs’ placement on waiting lists for waivers for more than a decade. One plaintiff stated that he had been waiting for Medicaid benefits for his daughter for more than 14 years. If a person with a disability in Minnesota receives one waiver service, that person is eligible for additional services to support their integration into the community, employment, independent living and transportation.

According to the complaint, there is wide variation in how much each county spends of the waiver funds allocated to that county, and some Minnesota counties underspend to avoid the possibility of a payback to the state. Under Minnesota law, any county that overspends the funds allocated to them must reimburse the state for the amount overspent. As a result, some counties spend 20 to 40 percent of their allocated funds, while other counties spend most of their allocated funds.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner has noted that reducing the waiting lists is one of the key goals of the state’s new Olmstead Plan, which proposes sweeping expansions to community services for people with disabilities. For further information on this issue, read the DisabilityScoop article.