Maine Developmental Disabilities Council

What is self-direction?

Self-direction is a way of receiving services that puts you in the driver's seat. You have choice and control over:

  • What services you want
  • Who provides the services and supports
  • When the service or support is provided
  • Where the service or support is provided
  • How the service or support is provided

How does self-direction work?

  • You are the boss. You recruit, interview, hire and manage workers that you choose. This can even include hiring friends and family members if you want.
  • You set the schedule. You decide when your staff will come to provide assistance.
  • You train your staff. Support can be provided how you want.
  • You decide what rate your staff will be paid, within program and state/federal guidelines.
  • You can use some of the money in your budget to purchase goods or services that will improve your independence, community involvement, or safety.
  • Self-direction is a lot of work, but many people self-directing find the challenges are greatly outweighed by the rewards.

What services can be self-directed?

If you are on Section 29, the following services can be self-directed:

  • Home Support- Quarter Hour
  • 1:1 Community Membership
  • Individual Directed Goods and Services
  • Assistive Technology Devices
  • Assistive Technology- Transmission
  • Home Accessibility Adaptations

Is self-direction right for me?

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you want more choice and control over your services?
  • Do words that describe you include: self-starter, go-getter, organized, or independent?
  • Do you feel comfortable recruiting and interviewing applicants?
  • Do you feel comfortable having conversations with people about their performance, especially if things aren’t going well?
  • Do you have family and friends that are currently providing assistance for you or would like to?
  • Do you feel confident in your own decision-making skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, self-direction might be right for you!

If you know you want more choice and control but are a little unsure about the rest, self-direction might still be right for you. In self-direction, you can appoint a representative.

A representative is a person that takes on some, or all, of the employer responsibilities. You can appoint a trusted adult in your life to be your representative, who will help you with decision making and problem solving. Using a representative means you still get to be in charge, but you will have someone else’s help along the way.

Support Available in Self-Direction

There are supports built into self-direction to make it easier. These include:

  • Support Broker: A Support Broker is an expert on self-direction. Your Support Broker can answer your questions and advise you as you make decisions.
  • Financial Management Services: A Financial Management Services (FMS) provider processes all the new employee paperwork and takes care of the tax reporting. They also run payroll and make sure your employees are paid accurately and on time. The FMS also does all the tax filing for you.

Click here to download a PDF file 

 What is a Support Broker?

Support Brokers are trained self-direction experts that provide help and advice as you selfdirect.If you are concerned about the responsibilities involved with self-direction, you willalways have a Support Broker to help if you need it.A Support Broker does not replace your Case Manager. If you choose to self-direct, your CaseManager will still work with you to develop a person-centered plan and coordinate yourservices.

A Support Broker’s job is to make sure you are getting what you need and want out ofself-direction.

A Support Broker’s responsibilities include:

• Finding services that make sure your needs are met and your budget is used

• Helping you recruit, hire and manage your staff

• Helping you develop backup plans

• Brainstorming when other solutions are needed. For example, if something you need isnot covered by the waiver, your Support Broker can help you find something that iscovered that meets the need.

• Helping you with problem-solving when something isn’t working out, such as what to dowhen one of your staff is always late to work

• Explaining program rules

• Finding community resources and opportunities beyond what is available through thewaiver

• Making sure spending is within the budget

 What else should I know about Support Brokers?

• The Support Broker is an advisor or coach to help you if you aren’t sure how to dosomething or feel stuck

• The Support Broker works for you

• The Support Broker will never make decisions for you, only with you

• Some people rely on their Support Brokers more than others

• Some people need more help when they first start self-directing, but not as much as time goes on and they become more comfortable

• You have the right to choose a new Support Broker if the one you have isn’t working out

• If you don’t feel comfortable completing employer tasks, you can also appoint a representative to provide additional assistance beyond what your Support Broker provides

Click here to downlaod a PDF file 

What Is Financial Management Services (FMS)?

When you choose to self-direct, you will choose a Financial Management Services (FMS) provider that will handles all payroll and administrative services for you. An FMS provider makes self-directing easier for you by:

  • Setting you up as an employer. When you start in self-direction, the FMS will assist you, or your representative, with paperwork to become a legal employer to start hiring workers.
  • Processing paperwork for your staff. When you find someone you want to hire, the FMS will process paperwork to set them up as your employee. The FMS will make sure the person is authorized to work in the United States and run a criminal background check.
  • Processing payroll. The FMS will ensure your workers are paid on time and correctly.
  • Processing timesheets or Electronic Visit Verification records of the hours your staff worked. Every two weeks, you an­d your staff will submit a record of the hours they worked to the FMS. The FMS will review these records and approve them for payment.
  • Paying taxes. Employers must pay taxes for their workers. The FMS handles the taxes for you and your employees to make sure you are following all state and federal rules.
  • Ensuring your spending is within budget. Your FMS will send you reports to make sure your spending is within your budget. If you are spending more than is in your budget, the FMS will let you know.
  • Protecting you from liability. Your FMS will maintain a Workers’ Compensation policy on your behalf. This policy protects you from liability if your worker gets injured on the job.
  • Answering questions. If you have questions about staff paperwork or payroll, you can contact the FMS. They will answer your questions or refer you to someone who can answer them.

Click here to download a PDF file 

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Maine Developmental Disabilities Council
526 Western Avenue  Unit 2
Augusta, ME 04330

 

Mail:

139 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333

 

Phone: 207-480-1478 or toll free 833-713-2618