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Consumer Directed Services

The CDS program lets adults with disabilities use Medicaid to hire someone – even a friend or relative – to help with cleaning, cooking, shopping, bathing, and more.
caregiver helping eldery man
Woman choosing a caregiver online

Choose your own caregiver.

You can choose anyone (except for a spouse or guardian) to be your caregiver. Caregivers do not need any prior experience or training. If you do not have someone in mind, we have a list of people you can interview, so you can find the right fit. In the CDS program, you are the employer, and you can choose a new caregiver at any time.

Maintain your independence.

Using a caregiver allows you to receive the care you need while living in your own home, instead of moving into a nursing home. We are here to guide you and help you resolve any issues. We will teach you the rules of the program and process your caregiver’s payroll.
Elderly woman at home gardening
Caregiver with womain discussing plan

Direct your own care.

As the employer, you set the work schedule for your caregiver, and you tell your caregiver how the services should be delivered. Services can include housekeeping, meals, shopping, personal hygiene, toileting, cleaning adaptive equipment, and more.

Do you need a caregiver?

Call us at 816-279-8558. We’ll guide you through the process.

To receive caregiver services through the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) program, you must be at least 18 years old, have a physical disability, be able to direct your own care, require a nursing facility level of care, and be Medicaid (Missouri HealthNet) eligible. For the MERIL CDS program, you must be a resident of Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, or Worth counties.

If you do not qualify for caregiver services through the CDS program, you may qualify for caregiver services through the In-Home Services program. For the MERIL In-Home program, you must be a resident of Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, or Nodaway counties.

For both programs, an assessment is completed by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to determine eligibility and to identify which services are needed. More information can be found at

caregiver helping woman walk

Interested in becoming a caregiver?

In the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) program, people with disabilities hire caregivers to help them with personal care tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, and bathing. The CDS participant may hire someone they know—such as a friend or relative—to be their attendant, or they can choose an attendant from a list of caregivers who are looking for employment. MERIL keeps an updated list of caregivers that participants can choose from.

If you are interested in being added to this list, please fill out an application in our office. You must be at least 18 years old and able to pass a background check (or obtain a Good Cause Waiver). CDS participants are looking to hire attendants in all nine counties in Northwest Missouri. Learn more about caregivers.

CDS Downloads

Consumer directed services handout

CDS Handout

Attendant Application

CDS Attendant Application (Print 2-Sided)

Attendant application download

CDS Payroll Dates (2024)

Attendant application download

E-Verify User Manual

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