DHS Issues Memo on Temporary Absence Waiver for Housing Support (GRH) Recipients

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Housing Support team has published a memo regarding the end of the temporary absence waiver that has been in place under the authority of the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-12, under which the DHS Commissioner waived certain absence day requirements for Housing Support recipients. The absence waiver allowed for absences longer than 18 days per absence and/or beyond 60 days total in this calendar year. The absence waiver is for people who are temporarily absent due to offsite quarantine, isolation, or hospitalization. The absence waiver is ending on Dec. 30, 2020. There is no authority to extend beyond this date.

The memo provides direction to providers, recipients and case managers:

  • Housing Support payments cannot continue past Dec. 30 for absences under the absence waiver that are longer than 18 days for a single absence, or for multiple absences totaling more than 60 days in this calendar year. The Housing Support team has asked financial assistance workers to prevent Housing Support payments past Dec. 30, 2020 for any cases that are currently in an extended absence period under the absence waiver. Federal funding associated with the absence waiver does not allow any payments after Dec. 30, 2020.
  • Financial workers will send out notice to the impacted cases they identify. Housing Support providers should receive a copy of the notice. Social service case managers should receive a copy of the notice if listed as the case manager. The notice will let people know that the absence waiver is ending and they may need to make decisions about what they will do after the waiver ends.
  • Impacted cases typically paid in advance will be temporarily post-paid. Post-payment prevents the case from closing immediately and allows time for people to plan their next steps along with their family, case managers, etc.
  • Financial workers may not know about every absence under the temporary absence waiver. Housing Support providers and case managers should report all absences as soon as possible – regardless of length – so workers can track the absence.
  • Housing Support providers should assist in coordinating returns for people that choose to do so. People are not required to return to the Housing Support program immediately on Dec. 31, 2020. People don't have to return at all if they have other plans. Payments may resume from the date a person returns to the Housing Support program.
  • Consider that the 60 days per calendar year absence limit starts over in January 2021.
  • If financial workers don’t receive confirmation that a person with an impacted Housing Support case has returned to the Housing Support location by 2/28/2021, the impacted case will be closed.

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