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An Uncertain Future: Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program

Young couple with Downs syndrome baking in kitchen at home.Since it was established in 2005, the Medicaid Money Follows the Person (MFP) Program has given people with disabilities the choice between living in a long-term care facility or receiving care in their home or a community-based setting.

MFP helps provide the necessary support that allows people living with a disability to avoid the dangers of living without professional support staff, limit exposure to abuse from neglectful nursing home staff, and find fulfillment living in their community.

What Is the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Program (MFP)?

MFP is a Medicaid demonstration program that lets states put funding traditionally set aside for long-term care toward home- and community-based services. Medicaid demonstrations are used to determine whether programs should become permanent. More than 40 states and territories currently are a part of MFP. In addition to people with disabilities, Medicaid-eligible seniors also benefit from the program.

Abuse People With Disabilities Face in Long-Term Care Facilities

Disabled people living in long-term care institutions may experience abuse at higher rates. For example, the National Center on Elder Abuse reports that more than a third of institutionalized adult women with disabilities have endured interpersonal violence, compared with 21 percent of institutionalized adult women without disabilities.

Forms of abuse that people with disabilities in long-term facilities may encounter include:

  • Medication abuse
  • Neglect
  • Psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse

How Does the MFP Help Disabled People Maintain Independent Living?

MFP has helped tens of thousands of people with disabilities live independently on their own terms. Through MFP, states can funnel Medicaid funds to help individuals find suitable housing in their own communities.

Whether MFP participants are moving back into their homes or into a new home after spending time in an institutional setting, they may need assistance getting started. The cost of moving into a new place can add up quickly.

MFP can help with the following:

  • Transitional housing for a limited time
  • Security deposits for an apartment or a short-term rental home
  • The cost of necessities for setting up a home
  • Paying for groceries

Medicaid Money Follows the Person May Be Ending

Despite its positive impact on the quality of life for people living with disabilities, MFP is set to expire in September 2027.

Congress has inconsistently funded MFP. The uncertainty about whether the program will have long-term funding has made it difficult for states to budget, so over time some states have been opting out of the program entirely. If MFP expires in 2027, many more individuals living with disabilities will be forced to live in long-term care facilities, losing the independence they desire.

It remains to be seen whether Congress will make the program permanent. If it does, states that participate will have a permanent stream of funding to help support individuals with disabilities who wish to live on their own.

Learn more about the program at Medicaid.gov. For further guidance, find a qualified special needs planner near you.