Participant-Directed Services

Summary of Frequently Asked Questions for Self-Advocates and Families About Participant-Directed Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Blog Department of Developmental Services

Regional centers can pay for more types of services using the Participant Directed Services model so that individuals and families have more choice and flexibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) explain Participant-Directed Services and how they may help individuals and families during COVID-19.

1. What Are Participant-Directed Services?

Participant-Directed Services let the consumer or family choose who to hire, schedule, and supervise the work for some types of Individual Program Plan (IPP) services. The services can be used by individuals who live in their own home, their family home and some community living arrangements.

2. How Can Participant-Directed Services Help Me?

Sometimes it may be hard for individuals or families to find providers. Participant-Directed Services let you use providers or individuals you already know, or who speak in your language. You can also have the provider work for you when you need them.

3. Which IPP Services Can Be Participant-Directed?

Some Participant-Directed Services were available before COVID:
• Respite
• Day care
• Non-medical transportation
• Day Services
• Nursing
These Participant-Directed Services will continue after COVID.

Some regional centers use other names for these ongoing Participant-Directed Services and may call them “Employer-of-Record,” “Conversion,” or “*Self-Directed,” but the concept is the same. *At HRC these are referred to as self-directed services.

Because of COVID-19, Participant-Directed Services temporarily includes:
• Personal assistance
• Independent living skills
• Supported employment services
These services give individuals and families more options during COVID

4. Who Can I Hire to Provide Participant-Directed Services?

• You must use a Financial Management Services (FMS) agency. Your regional center has information about how to do this.
• The FMS you select helps you hire and pay staff.
o The person must be 18 years old or older.
o The individual must be eligible to work.
o The individual you hire does not need to be a regional center vendor.
o The individual has the needed job skills.

You may hire a family member, friend, or another qualified person.

A spouse or parent generally cannot provide respite, day care, personal assistance, or independent living skills.

5. What Steps Should I Take If I Want to Use Participant-Directed Services?

Contact your service coordinator and tell them you want to use Participant-Directed Services. Discuss which IPP services you want to get this way.
1. Your service coordinator can help you find a Financial Management Service
(FMS) to handle payroll, taxes, and reporting.
2. Ask your FMS what rules you must follow as an employer.
3. Identify the individuals you want to hire.
4. Ask those individuals to submit the required information to the FMS. The worker cannot start work or be paid until these forms are provided and approved:
• Verification of age
• Verification of qualifications
• Eligibility for employment
• Federal disclosure information
• CPR/First Aid certification is required for in-home respite. It must be provided within 30 days of starting work.

6. How Are Participant Directed Services Approved?

The regional center will approve these services with the FMS for the amounts specified in your IPP.

7. How Does the Worker Get Paid?

The FMS pays the worker and the taxes after you approve the worker’s timesheet. The regional center will tell you the set rate. The rate includes payroll taxes and other costs. For example, the minimum hourly rate for personal assistance, supported employment, and independent living skills services is $22.80 an hour. The minimum hourly rate for respite is $17.03 per hour. Nursing services are paid at a higher rate.

8. What Happens to My Services That Aren’t Provided Through the Participant-Directed Model?

All other services in the consumer’s IPP will continue to be provided by regional center vendors.

9. Can I Use A Combination of Vendored and Participant-Directed Services From My Regular Respite Agency?

You may use both vendored and Participant-Directed Services for your respite services. For example, if your regular respite agency is not able to provide a respite worker, you may use Participant-Directed Services for the “unused” hours that have been approved. This may help you if you have more respite hours because of COVID. You can use your respite agency as your FMS agency. This is sometimes called “employer of record”. If the same respite worker, works more than 40 hours per week for you, this will count as overtime pay. Your FMS or Service Coordinator can assist you with overtime questions.

10. What If I Need Additional or Different Services?

Because of COVID-19 you may need more services or want a different kind of service. school, or work may be closed. Or you may need home-based independent living skills training for safety. You can talk to your service coordinator or your IPP team to assist you or to help you find generic services or more support from your current program.

11.Where Can I Find More Information?

Go to DDS issued guidance for providing Participant-Directed Services.
If you want to know more about the types of Participant-Directed Services, provides a description of each service.

Summary of Frequently Asked Questions and Description of Services That Can Be Provided Through Participant-Directed Services