Self-Direction gives individuals with IDD (and the people who help them), the ability to decide on a mix of supports and services that work best for their needs. Supports and services can include help to find and keep a job, help to live safely and learn new skills, help to learn about and enjoy activities in their community and help to stay healthy. Self-Direction gives individuals and families greater control over the services they receive, how they receive them and who provides them. Through Self-Direction, people with IDD have more control and flexibility to live as independently as they are able in their homes and communities.
Individuals who self-direct choose to accept the authority to make decisions over some or all of their supports and services. They also accept responsibility for taking a direct, leadership role in managing these supports and services. These areas of responsibility fall into two categories: employer authority and budget authority. Some services offer both authorities while others may offer one or the other.
Employer Authority means that you and/or the people you choose to help you make primary decisions about the supports and services you need and who you want to provide these services. You may recruit your own staff, obtain your services from a community organization or hire an OPWDD provider agency to provide your services. Other choices you may make include deciding what qualifications your staff needs to have; what tasks they need to do to help you; what hours you need their help; and how to supervise your staff to let them know if the work they are doing meets your needs.
Budget Authority means that you will responsibly manage an OPWDD approved budget OPWDD to pay for the supports and services you need. You and people who you choose to help you will make decisions about the services you need now and any changes you need to make to your services. You may also have responsibility for authorizing payments for your supports and services, reviewing bills to make sure that you received the services you are paying for, and monitoring your monthly and yearly expenses to make sure that the cost of the services you receive stay within your approved budget amount.
Upon receiving authorization to start working on a Self-Directed plan you will receive contact information to begin the process of selecting a Support Broker and a Fiscal Intermediary.
Support Broker: The Support Broker you select will help you develop a customized Self-Directed plan within your budget parameters. Your Support Broker may also help you decide what qualifications your staff needs to have and help to recruit your staff. They will also help you identify what tasks they need to do to help you, what hours you need their help, and how to supervise your staff.
Fiscal Intermediary: A Fiscal Intermediary (FI) works with the participant to implement the Human Resource (HR) activities and to complete billing and payment of the services identified in the budget template.
Support Brokers and Fiscal Intermediaries have participated in mandated OPWDD Self-Direction trainings. Their increased knowledge base will help the participant and/or family navigate and implement a successful Self-Directed plan.
OPWDD currently offers a variety of services that can be self-directed. These services are: Community Habilitation, Respite, Supported Employment, Individual Directed Goods and Services, Support Brokerage, Paid Neighbor and Live-in Caregiver.
Community Habilitation is a service that can support the participant to achieve his/her valued outcomes through activities such as skills training, assistance with daily living, and relationship building.
Individual Directed Goods and Services (IDGS) are services, equipment or supplies which includes improving and maintaining the participant’s opportunities for full membership in the community. Some examples of IDGS categories are: Inclusive camps, community classes, training/coaching, health clubs, organizational memberships and household- related items and services.
Live-in Caregiver is an unrelated care provider who resides in the same household as the participant and provides supports as needed to address the participant’s physical, social or emotional needs in order for the participant to live safely and successfully in his or her own home.
Paid Neighbor is someone who lives near an individual who lives in non-certified housing, and is paid a monthly salary to be available when needed.
Respite Services are only available to the participant’s parent or the person who is responsible for the primary care if the participant still lives at home. It is a service that allows parents, family members or other caregivers to have someone available to meet the participant’s needs when they are not available to do so.
Support Brokerage Services help the person-centered planning process, by assisting the person to develop a circle of support and complete an approvable individualized plan and budget for services. The Support Broker may also provide training and support to the person to help him/her gain the skills and competencies he/she needs to manage self-directed services.
Supported Employment (SEMP) services are designed to meet the outcome of competitive employment for individuals. Self-Hired SEMP Staff will help the participant in Job development/job finding, situational assessment and reassessment, job coaching, skill training, improving work behaviors, mobility training, work-related socialization skills and employer/co-worker training and support.
Where can I go to get more information?
You can find more information on OPWDD’s website: www.opwdd.ny.gov
As you think about the supports and services you can choose through OPWDD, we hope that you think about Self-Direction as an option that can provide more choice and control over your services and your life. Please contact your Regional Office for help and guidance.