How does Self-Direction work?

If an individual with IDD is eligible for Self-Direction and would like to choose this option, he/she will work with his/her Care Manager to choose a team of people to work with to select the services that they need, as well as the budget for those services.  This team is known as the “Circle of Support,” and it can include family and close friends, as well as the individual’s Care Manager.

Through Self-Direction an individual with IDD and his/her Circle of Support can take on responsibilities that fall into two main areas – known as “Employer Authority” and “Budget Authority.”

  • Employer Authority refers to choosing not only WHAT supports and services are needed but also WHO will be hired to provide these services. This can include identifying eh qualifications that the staff will have, what specific tasks they will be doing and how the staff will be supervised.
  • Budget Authority refers taking responsibility for managing the budget that gets established by OPWDD to pay for the supports and services that are needed.   This includes authorizing payments for the supports and services, reviewing the bills for them and monitoring monthly and yearly expenses to ensure that they call within the budget.

To assist with these efforts, someone who is self-directing can hire a “Support Broker” and a “Fiscal Intermediary” to be part of their Circle of Support.

  • A Support Broker is a person with special training to assist an individual with IDD with building and managing a self-directed budget, based on the supports and services the individual needs.
  • A Fiscal Intermediary is an individual/organization that works with someone who is self-directing to assist with hiring the staff to deliver the needed supports and services, as well as managing the billing and payments for these services.

Once the Self-Direction plan and budget has been identified and approved, the individual with IDD and his/her circle of support is in full control of the process and can manage all the day-to-day activities.

It’s important to note that If an individual with IDD wished to try self-directing their services, but then determines that it is not right for them, he/she can switch back to a more “traditional” model of supports.

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