Consumer Directed Services

Caregivers work for people with disabilities, helping them live safely and comfortably at home.

The CDS program allows you to live an independent lifestyle.

Man interviewing a caregiver.

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.

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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.

cleaning the kitchen counter

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.

Want to become a CDS participant?

Call us. We'll guide you through the process.

An assessment is completed by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to determine eligibility and to identify which services are needed. CDS participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a physical disability
  • Be able to direct their own care
  • Require a nursing facility level of care
  • Be Missouri HealthNet (Medicaid) eligible
MERIL service area

We accept participants from all nine counties in our service area: Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, and Worth.

Want to become a CDS caregiver?

A caregiver helps a woman walk in her home.

Caregivers make a big difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

We can add your name to the list that is given to people who are looking for a caregiver. If they are interested, they will interview you for the position. CDS caregivers do not need any prior experience or training. Caregivers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to pass a background check (or obtain a Good Cause Waiver)
  • Not be the spouse or guardian of the participant

Fill out an application in our office. Bring your driver's license and Social Security card with you when you apply; they are needed for the FCSR and E-Verify. You also need to bring your bank account information; paychecks are direct deposit only.

Already a CDS participant?

Spread the word about the CDS program.

Make sure you tell people that these services are available. They may know of someone who needs a caregiver, or they may know of someone interested in becoming a caregiver.

You can download:

Radio Ads for the CDS Program

Life can be hard sometimes. Do you or someone you know have trouble making it through the day because of health issues? Maybe you can't stand on your feet long enough to cook a meal or take a shower. Or you can't keep up with cleaning your house.

If you have Missouri Medicaid, you may qualify for help through a program called Consumer Directed Services. Call MERIL today at 816-279-8558 for more information and a possible referral for services. MERIL - We help you live life fully.

MERIL provides many services and resources to help people live independently. We’re talking to Dawn who works for a participant in MERIL’s Consumer Directed Services program. Dawn, how does your being there make your client feel?

For my participant, I think it enables her to be more independent. It enables her to do more for herself. I think the most important thing is they feel that they have freedom, independence. They can go to and from when they please.

How has what you do for her changed her life?

It’s made her stronger. It’s made her more independent. It’s made her self-image of herself ten times better than what it was. It makes her confident. She doesn’t get intimidated when carrying conversations with other people. She’s happy.

If you or someone you know can use these services, call MERIL at 1-800-MERIL, the number 4 and the letter U. Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living – MERIL – working toward a barrier-free Northwest Missouri for over 22 years!

MERIL provides many services and resources to help people live independently. We’re talking to Dawn who works for a participant in MERIL’s Consumer Directed Services program. Dawn, how does your being there help your client?

It’s really changed who she is drastically, of just being able to work with someone that she trusts. Her and I have a really great relationship, so she trusts me with her life, and we depend on MERIL a lot.

What would you tell people about work as an attendant for a participant in MERIL’s Consumer Directed Services program?

Being able to work with MERIL and work with the participant – the hours are so much more flexible that way, cause you can kind of set them with the participant you are working for, and also, for me in my case, allows me to be at home and raise my children. It’s been a great value for me definitely.

If you or someone you know can use these services, call MERIL at 1-800-MERIL, the number 4 and the letter U. Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living – MERIL – working toward a barrier-free Northwest Missouri for over 22 years!

You can do small things right now to help people with disabilities.