Essential Community Supports (ECS)

ECS and NF LOC implemented January 1, 2015

The Department of Human Services implemented the revised Nursing Facility Level of Care (NF LOC) criteria and the Essential Community Supports (ECS) program January 1, 2015. These revised criteria are found in the MN Statutes 144.0724, Subd. 11. The ECS program description and criteria are found in MN Statutes 256B.0922.

ECS Program

People who are not eligible for Alternative Care (AC) services, long-term care waiver services or nursing facility services may qualify for up to $428 per month for essential services needed to live in the community. There are two groups of people who may be eligible.

ECS for seniors

The first group includes people who meet all of the following criteria:

  • • Are age 65 or older;
  • • Are not eligible for Medical Assistance (MA);
  • • Can benefit from one or more ECS services;
  • • Meet Alternative Care financial eligibility criteria;
  • • Do not or no longer meet the nursing facility level of care criteria
  • ECS for people in transition

    The second group includes people who:

  • • Were receiving BI Waiver, CADI Waiver, EW or nursing facility services and;
  • • Lose MA eligibility for those services at their next reassessment between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, due to changes in NF LOC criteria.
  • In addition, this second group:
  • • No longer meet the nursing facility level of care (NF LOC) criteria
  • • Are age 21 or older
  • • Meet Alternative Care (AC) financial eligibility criteria if not on MA
  • • Are not eligible for state plan (MA) Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services 0or Community First Services and Supports (CFSS); and
  • • Can benefit from an ECS service
  • People that retain their MA eligibility and assessed to have needs and ADLs are eligible for state plan PCA services or Community First Services and Supports. They may not use ECS.
  • Budgeting

    Under Essential Community Supports, individuals will receive up to $428 per month to support the allowable services.


    To receive ECS, one must live in their own home or apartment ECS cannot be provided in congregate settings that may include:

  • • Board and lodge
  • • Non-certified boarding care
  • • Corporate/family foster care
  • Service coordination

  • • Reimbursement up to $600 in a service year
  • • Performed by case manager or case aide employed by or under contract with the lead agency
  • • For the transition group only, a one-time $600 service coordination payment in addition to coordination as part of $428 per month budget
  • Services (definitions identical to AC/EW)

  • • Adult day service
  • • Caregiver training and education
  • • Chore
  • • Community Living Assistance (CLA)
  • • Home-delivered meals
  • • Homemaker
  • • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
  • • Service coordination
  • Tools

    Please regularly check for and download updated tools. DHS will update these tools periodically.

  • ECS Tool Instructions (PDF) - This document provides instruction for completing the workbook.
  • ECS Service AuthorizationTool Instructions (PDF) - The instructions for submitting the ECS workbooks through MN-ITS are described in this document.
  • ECS Workbook (XLS) - Nov. 14, 2017 - Ver4.2.0
  • ECS Change Log (PDF) - Information about the changes made in version 4.2.0
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