Community Mental Health Supports Waiver (CMHS)

A waiver is an extra set of Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program) benefits that you could qualify for in certain cases. These benefits can help you remain in your home and community. Waivers have extra program rules and some programs may have waitlists.

The Home and Community-Based Services Community Mental Health Supports Waiver (CMHS) provides assistance to people with a mental illness that require long-term supports and services in order to remain in a community setting.

  • CMHS services work with or add to the services that are available to you through the Health First Colorado State plan and other federal, state, and local public programs.
  • CMHS works with the supports that families and communities provide.
  • If you receive services through the CMHS waiver, you are also eligible for all Health First Colorado covered services except nursing facility and long-term hospital care.

View the full text of the CMHS waiver and Waiver Lifecycle

Who Qualifies?

You must meet the following financial and program criteria to access services under this program. To use waiver benefits, you must also be willing to receive services in your home or community.

Level of Care

  • You must require long-term support services at a level comparable to services typically provided in a nursing facility.

Eligibility Group

  • A person experiencing severe and persistent mental health needs that require assistance with one or more Activities of Daily Living (ADL),
    • 18 years of age or older with a severe and persistent mental health need,
    • Currently has or at any time during the past year leading up to assessment has a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and
    • Has a disorder that is episodic, recurrent, or has persistent features, but may vary in terms of severity and disabling effects, and
    • Has resulted in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major activities.
  • A severe and persistent mental health need does not include:
    • Intellectual or developmental disorders, or
    • Substance use disorder without a co-occurring diagnosis of a severe and persistent mental health need.


  • Your income must be less than three times the current Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limit per month. (See SSI website for current information)
  • For a single person, your countable resources must be less than $2,000.
  • For a couple, the countable resources must be less than $3,000.
  • If you do not meet these financial requirements, you may be eligible through the Health First Colorado Buy-In Program for Working Adults with Disabilities.

Benefits and Services

If you are enrolled in the CMHS waiver, you will receive regular Health First Colorado benefits. Additionally, you will also receive the following services specific to the CMHS waiver:

How to Apply

If you are already enrolled in Health First Colorado, contact your local Case Management Agency to start the waiver application process

If you are NOT yet enrolled in Health First Colorado you can apply now.

If you have more questions about this program please contact your local Case Management Agency or the Member Contact Center.

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