Self-direction services means that you get to exert more control and structure over your life choices, including the staff you work with, schedule, and chosen services.

Self-Direction provides you with the opportunity to select your own services, allowing you to live the life you desire. When you self-direct your services, you have greater freedom to pick the supports that are suitable for you, the staff members with whom you wish to collaborate, and the timetable that is most convenient for you. This provides you with greater flexibility in determining how you want to organize your life.

There are many ways you can exert more control over your life with self-direction, and things you can direct yourself. These include:

  • Where you live, whether you choose to live in a family residence, group home, or someplace else,
  • How you spend your days, as your time table and schedule are your choice and can be adapted to your best times
  • What you do in your leisure time, whether it be exploring hobbies, connecting with friends, reading, or trying something new,
  • How you keep healthy and active, whether you prefer sports or other activities, as well as food choices
  • Your connections with family and friends, as you will be able to make choices regarding who you would lie in your life,
  • Who you employ to assist you, from medical professionals and social workers to employment and transportation services.

These are all important factors to consider when planning your future.

At AC Cares, we can help you to determine whether self-direction is right for you, and guide you through the steps that must be taken in order to do so successfully.

Everyone has their own set of likes and dislikes, as well as their own set of interests and preferred pastimes. Self-Direction is all about having the ability to make decisions. When you self-direct, you will be able to choose your own activities, personnel, and timetable to fit your needs.

For those who can make their own decisions (or who have someone to assist them in doing so), and who desire greater responsibility, flexible supports and services, Self-Direction may be the best option for them.

Self-Direction is a very adaptable concept. When you decide that you want something else, you can make changes to your strategy. If you find that Self-Direction does not work for you, you may simply go back to a more traditional form of assistance.

How Does Self-Direction Work?

Self-Direction starts with a planning process to help you figure out what supports are most important to you.

You can choose to self-direct some or all of the services that help you in your daily life. You can:

  • Live in the home and community of your choice,
  • Work, volunteer and do activities you enjoy,
  • Have relationships with family and friends, and
  • Be healthy.

AC Cares will help you to learn about what service options exist for you.

If you choose to self-direct, you will work with a team of people who will help you select your services and put together a budget. This team, or Circle of Support, is a group of people chosen by you. Your Circle of Support could include family and close friends, your Care Manager, a Support Broker and staff who know you well. Self-direction is person-centered planning, in that it is your Life Plan which is at the center of all choices. You will develop a Life Plan with your care manager after discussing what you wish to achieve in your life.

Additionally, you may wish to opt for employer authority and budget authority.

Employer Authority grants you the authority to hire employees who will provide you with assistance and services on a contractual basis. Staff management can be shared with a provider agency that can assist you with hiring, managing, and directing support workers, or you can take on part or all of these tasks on your own, depending on your situation. In addition, the supplier agency assists you by doing tasks such as screening new workers and processing payroll. These are some of the conceivable obligations, although they are by no means exhaustive. Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is a program that allows an individual to hire their own home care workers – even family members and friends.

It is possible to exercise Budget Authority in order to assume responsibility for managing your personalized Self Direction budget. This power gives you the ability to make decisions regarding the supports and services that are included in your Life Plan, as well as who will be compensated to provide them and how they will be procured.

Budget power also provides you the ability to recruit your own employees and to set your own salaries, giving you complete control over your workforce. In the event that you elect to have Budget Authority, your Fiscal Intermediary will assist you by billing and processing payments for approved self-directed supports and services, as well as by providing fiscal accounting and reporting, as well as general administrative support, among other services.

If you want to control how the funds in your budget are spent, you can hire a Support Broker to help you. Your Broker will build a self-directed budget along with you, based on the services and supports you need. Your Broker can also help you develop a plan to work towards outcomes you want to achieve in life.

Is Self-Direction Right For Me?

If you are eligible for OPWDD services and enrolled in the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver, you can choose Self-Direction.

Self-Direction may be right for you if:

  • You want more flexibility with your services and schedule,
  • You are ready to make decisions about your services on your own or with help, and
  • You want to take more responsibility for managing your services.

Before you get started, take time to think about what kinds of support you need at home, in your community and in your daily life. If you try self-directing your services and it’s not right for you, you can always switch back to a more traditional model of support.