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June 1, 2021Advocacy Matters

CMS Guidance for American Rescue Plan Funds

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

June 1, 2021


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CMS Guidance for American Rescue Plan Funds

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There is additional federal support for Home and Community-Based Services available to all States through the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan was the most recent COVID relief bill passed by Congress. President Biden signed the law on March 11, 2021.

There are many sections to the law. Our focus today is on Section 9817 of the American Rescue Plan. This section provides States with an opportunity to apply for additional financial support for Medicaid-funded home and community-based services. In particular, the American Rescue Plan would increase the federal medical assistance percentage (or FMAP) by an additional 10% for State Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services through March 31, 2022.

Congress defined HCBS eligible for the additional support to include home health care services, personal care services, case management services, and rehabilitative services, including those related to behavioral health needs.

To receive the increased FMAP, a State must be eligible; however, there are only 2 requirements to be eligible.

  1. States must use the funds to supplement, not supplant the level of State funds expended.
  2. The State had to implement or supplement one or more activities to enhance, expand or strengthen HCBS under our State Medicaid program. In other words, states must use the enhanced FMAP to go beyond what is currently available under HCBS state plans. Examples would include building HCBS capacity or long-term care rebalancing.

States have until mid-July to submit their HCBS spending plans to CMS for review. Pennsylvania could receive up to $729,000,000 million more dollars for HCBS from the American Rescue Plan.


Advocates should watch for opportunities to comment on their state plans for HCBS under the American Rescue Plan. For more information on the CMS guidance, the American Rescue Plan, and a policy brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation visit

CMS Guidance American Rescue Plan

CMS Press Release on American Rescue Plan Funds

American Rescue Plan

Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Brief