In NYS individuals with disabilities who are eligible for the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver can choose their own supports and design their own service plan through Self Determination Services for the disabled (SDS).
In a nutshell, this means that when an individual is approved for SDS services they are awarded a certain amount of government funds to be spent on the supports and services of their choosing. (Of course there are limits to what SDS funds will cover. Every service the individual might want may not be covered under SDS )
Basically, the individual can choose:
- what goods and services they want and need to help them reach their goals such as: respite care, community habilitation, employment support, housing subsidies, gym memberships, community classes, etc.
- who will perform those services.
- when and where those services will be performed.
Each individual has the right to:
- Choose where they will live
- pursue interesting and meaningful employment, volunteer, or other community activities,
- engage in satisfying, productive relationships with family, friends, and community members,
- maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Once an individual is approved for SDS services, he or she must choose:
- A Startup Broker to help get the process started. The broker then facilitates person centered planning, and helps develop the individualized plan and budget.
- All the people that he or she wants included in their Circle of Support which can be relatives, friends, community members, or anyone else that the person wants included in their support system. This group of people brainstorms for ideas, develops strategies and opportunities, solves problems, and trains staff.
- An ongoing Support Broker who arranges for, directs, and manages services.
- A Medicaid Service Coordinator who assists persons with developmental disabilities and their families in gaining access to services and supports appropriate to their needs.
Then finally, everyone works together with the individual to put together a plan that will assist them in reaching all their goals and objectives to living a happy, satisfying life.
A fiscal Intermediary which has been chosen by the individual will actually manage the funds by paying:
- staff salaries
- staff mileage and activity costs reimbursements
- housing subsidies
- transportation costs
- gym memberships
- community classes
- music therapy
- hippo therapy
Bethany has been on an SDS Plan for about a year. I love the peace of mind that comes with being able to hire people we know and trust to work with her at home and in the community.
I also love having the ability to pick and choose community activities and services that support her physical health and mental well being. Being able to personalize and individualize a plan made with her specific wants and unique needs in mind is very important to us
Bethany is very happy with her choices and is enjoying having a new friend to accompany her on outings and help her with becoming more independent at home and in the community.
If you are an individual with disabilities and live in NYS or another state with this service, I highly recommend looking into Self Determination Services if you haven’t already.
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