There are several legal and medical definitions for “brain injury” (BI) or “traumatic brain injury” (TBI). For most social service programs in Minnesota, TBI includes any “sudden insult or damage to the brain or its coverings” as long as it happens after birth.
BI is a broader term and also includes “acquired” brain injuries, like those caused by seizures, infectious diseases, or strokes. BI can also include degenerative diseases that cause cognitive damage like multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently, Minnesota has begun to use BI to describe the services available for persons with any brain injury sustained after birth.
Minnesota has a “Family Support Grant” (FSG) program that provides state cash grants of up to $3,113.99 per year to families of children with certified disabilities. The goal of the FSG program is to prevent or delay out-of-home placement of children with disabilities and promote family health and social well-being by providing access to family-centered services and supports. Apply at your local county agency.
For more information about the FSG program go to www.mn.gov/dhs.
- Click on People We Serve
- Click on People with Disabilities
- Click on Services then click on Home and Community Services
- Click on Programs and Services
- Click on Family Support Grant
Counties offer some home and community-based services through their “Vulnerable Children and Adults Act” programs. Check with your local county to see if it has programs or services specific to BI.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Rehabilitation Services branch, also offers vocational services and supports.
You might also be able to get services through the “Essential Community Supports” program if you need help to live in the community. You have to meet certain eligibility rules. It is designed for people who don’t need the level of care provided in a nursing home. You may qualify for up to $424 a month for services and supports.
The BI Waiver is the main program providing home- and community-based services for persons with BI. The BI Waiver is part of the Medical Assistance program. The Disability Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services administers the waiver with help from county social service agencies.
The Waiver gives services and support, so people can live in the community and be more independent instead of in hospitals or nursing facilities.
The Waiver covers services and support that you might not be able to get under regular Medical Assistance. Both children and adults can use the waiver.
With the Waiver you can live in your own home or:
in a biological or adoptive family’s home
in a relative’s home
in a family foster care home
in a corporate foster care home
in a board and lodging facility
in an assisted living facility.
If you are married, you can get BI Waiver services while living at home with your spouse.
You can apply through your local county social service agency. The county will arrange for a comprehensive assessment of your eligibility and service needs and can help you get any necessary health evaluations completed. To find your local office, go to www.mn.gov/dhs and click on Contact Us for a link to a list of county agencies.
If your county refuses to assess you for the BI Waiver or says you are not eligible, and you disagree with them, you can ask for an administrative appeal with the Department of Human Services.
Ask for your appeal from the county or from the Appeals and Regulations Division of the Department of Human Services. You have to ask in writing and you have to ask within 30 days of getting the notice from the county that you were denied. You have 90 days if you have a good reason why.
There are instructions and the form. Read everything carefully, fill the form out completely and click "Submit" on the bottom right. It is a good idea to print a copy for yourself.
By mail or fax:
You can print out a blank form from the website or you can get one from the county. If you don’t want to use a form it is okay to just write a letter and mail or fax it. Say you want to appeal a decision and why. If you want to keep getting your benefits during the appeal, there is a time limit. See “How soon do I have to appeal?” below.
Make sure you put your case number and the date on your letter. Keep a copy for yourself. You can give the appeal letter to your county worker.
You can also mail or fax your appeal to:
Minnesota Department of Human Services Appeals Office