What is the Self-Determination Program?
When does the Self-Determination Program start; can I enroll now?
How can I keep updated on the progress of the Self-Determination Program?
How can someone learn more about the Self-Determination Program?
What is person-centered planning and how does it relate to the individual program plan?
For more information regarding person-centered planning, please see the section in these FAQs titled Person-Centered Planning.
Who is eligible for the Self-Determination Program?
- Has a developmental disability as defined in Welfare and Institutions Code 4512.
- Agrees to specific terms and conditions, which include but are not limited to, participation in an orientation for the Self-Determination Program, working with a Financial Management Services entity, managing the Self-Determination Program services within an individual budget; and only purchasing services which are eligible for federal financial participation and not available from a generic agency.
- Does not live in a licensed long-term health care facility (i.e., a Skilled Nursing Facility or Intermediate Care Facility or State Developmental Center). If an individual living in one of these facilities expresses interest in the Self-Determination Program, through the person-centered planning process, he or she can request that the regional center begin making arrangements for their transition to the Self-Determination Program, provided that he or she is reasonably expected to transition to the community within 90 days.
Are children under three years of age eligible to participate in the SDP?
Children under three years old who receive services through the Early Start program because they are at risk of having a developmental disability or have developmental delays and have not qualified to receive regional center services under WIC 4512 are not eligible to participate in the SDP. Information about who is eligible for Early Start Services may be found here.
Can children under three years of age remain in Early Start Program if they qualify for Lanterman services and want to enroll in SDP?
Does a regional center consumer need to receive Medi-Cal to participate in the SDP?
What is Medi-Cal “institutional deeming”?
- Have a qualifying developmental disability, two or more qualifying conditions and receive at least one qualifying service from your local regional center and use that service at least one time a year.
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Live with their family.
- Be ineligible for other Medi-Cal coverage because of their family’s income.
Your regional center can provide you with more information about this program and help you apply for Medi-Cal under “institutional deeming” if the minor’s family wants to consider this option.
How do I enroll in Self Determination?
What is Orientation for the SDP?
How do I find out when and where Orientations are scheduled?
Is the Orientation available in languages other than English?
What Are Participant Choice Specialists?
What kind of assistance can Participant Choice Specialists provide?
Program support may include the following:
- Expanding awareness of the SDP and other participant-directed service options. Providing information to consumers, families and regional center staff about all participant-directed service options;
- Providing training to regional center staff, to include service coordinators and staff involved in the fair hearing process, as needed, about the SDP;
- Leading efforts for the regional center to meet and track SDP enrollment targets and benchmarks;
- Identifying and addressing concerns and barriers to enrollment and barriers;
- Developing and implementing an outreach and training plan for diverse communities and obtaining input from stakeholders about the effectiveness of the outreach and training and other strategies; and,
- Working with eligible consumers and their families to apply for Medi-Cal.
Accounting and Administrative support may include the following:
- Preparing expenditure reports for use in developing individual budgets;
- Acting as a Liaison with FMS agencies to support consumers and families and respond to inquiries from FMS agencies regarding billing system issues and payment for goods and services;
- Coordinating with consumers, families and regional center staff to make changes and corrections pertaining to POS authorizations and other consumer data;
- Facilitating timely spending plan changes and needed updates in accounting systems;
- Upon guidance from DDS, completing additional reviews of participant budgets which exceed a specified threshold;
- Meeting with others as needed to resolve procedural issues and helping to disseminate information; and,
- Preparing accounting reports as needed to assist consumers, families and regional center staff.
What is person-centered planning?
For Self-Determination Program (SDP) participants, the individual program plan (IPP) must be developed utilizing a person-centered-planning process. Per the February 11, 2019 correspondence from the Department of Developmental Services, participants can request initial person-centered-planning services to assist them as they transition into the SDP. Person-centered planning is an approach to determining, planning for and working toward the preferred future of a person with developmental disabilities and her or his family. The preferred future is what the person and family want to do in the future based on their strengths, capabilities, preferences, lifestyle and cultural background. Person-centered planning is a framework for planning and making decisions. It is not a collection of methods or procedures. Person-centered planning is based on an awareness of, and sensitivity to, the lifestyle and cultural background of the consumer and family. (Welfare & Institutions Code Section 4646.5(a)(1)). Additionally, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations (or rules) for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS,) person-centered planning is a process directed by the person with services and supports needs. It may include a representative who the person has freely chosen, and/or who is authorized to make personal or health decisions for the person. The planning process should also involve others the person or their representative wishes to include, such as family members, legal guardians, friends or others. The person-centered planning process should provide the supports necessary to ensure the person directs the process to the maximum extent possible. Ultimately, the person-centered planning process leads to a written plan that is consistent with the person’s needs and desired outcomes and includes the person’s goals and preferences in areas such as recreation, transportation, friendships, therapies, home, employment, and family relationships.
What resources are available for support with person-centered planning services prior to enrollment in the SDP?
What should the participant expect from the individual or organization providing person-centered planning services?
- Presuming competence
- Reframing behavior as communication
- Respecting cultural diversity
- Providing critical supports for health and safety across the lifespan so people may live in the community where and with whom they want (Sally Burton-Hoyle, Ed. D, Eastern Michigan University)
The individual or organization providing person-centered planning services are expected to demonstrate they have received training or certification in the person-centered facilitation process. If the selected individual or organization has been trained in any specific approaches (Planned Facilitation, Liberty Plans, MAPs, etc) the participant has the option to request and receive proof of such training. The participant and their support team should determine how much time the planning process will take based on the needs of the participant, their own scheduling needs, as well as the recommendations of the individual or organization providing person-centered planning. Person-centered planning can range from one short and focused intensive meeting to several meetings, depending on the needs of the participant. At the end of the planning process, the individual or organization providing person-centered planning services should ensure that there is a written document with clearly stated outcomes provided to the participant that captures the strengths, hopes and dreams of the participant, along with their vision for their future and the supports needed to have a meaningful life in the community.
What should the individual or organization providing person-centered planning services be paid?
- Non-vendored providers
- The participant and individual or organization providing the service should come to an agreement regarding payment terms and then, prior to beginning planning services, provide that information to the Regional Center so that payment arrangements to the provider can be made under service code 024.
- If the individual or organization is seeking vendorization from the Regional Center, they should contact the Community Services Department of the Regional Center in their community regarding the process for obtaining vendorization.
Is a participant required to have a person-centered plan separate from their individual program plan (IPP)?
How do I find a provider or someone to do my person-centered plan?
Is there support to pay for initial person-centered planning when transitioning into the SDP?
If I have a separate person-centered plan, do I still have to have an individual program plan (IPP)?
What if I disagree with my IPP?
What is an individual budget?
How does the individual budget amount get determined? Can my budget be adjusted?
What if there is disagreement amongst the planning team regarding an increase in the individual budget?
How does the individual budget amount get determined for an individual, who is either new to the regional center, or does not have a 12-month history of purchase of service costs?
If I use my individual budget funds for a one-time purchase or expense, will those funds be taken out of my next year’s budget?
Are there restrictions on what the individual budget can be used for?
Is the Self-Determination Program budget and In-Home Supportive Services [budget] different?
Will enrolling in the Self-Determination Program decrease an individual’s budget for services and supports?
Can I use my budget to pay for recreation activities?
What is the difference between the individual budget and the spending plan?
Is there a cap on the budget? An amount that cannot be exceeded?
Can my individual budget be adjusted to include temporary COVID-related services I currently receive or new services I may temporarily need as a result of COVID-19?
What rates are used to calculate a COVID-related adjustment to the budget?
What is a spending plan?
What is the difference between the individual budget and the spending plan?
Are there limits on who can be paid to provide services?
Can a parent who is the conservator of an adult consumer be paid to provide services?
A parent of an adult child is not legally responsible to provide care to their adult child or a legally responsible caregiver even if they are also the individual’s conservator. Therefore, when consistent with consumer choice, the parent can be paid to provide those SDP services they are qualified to provide.
Can a parent who has a durable power of attorney for an adult consumer be paid to provide services?
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets an unconserved adult appoint someone, including their parent, to represent them. A power of attorney lets an adult authorize someone to handle a specific task such as paying their bills, signing contracts, applying for benefits, or attending planning meetings such as IPP meetings.
Someone who has a power of attorney is not legally responsible to provide care to the individual. A parent of an adult child is not legally responsible to provide care to their adult child or a legally responsible caregiver even if they also have a power of attorney. Therefore, when consistent with consumer choice, the parent can be paid to provide those SDP services they are qualified to provide.
What is a natural support?
What if I don’t know the exact cost of a good, service or support when I am developing my budget or spending plan?
What if I don’t know who will provide a service when I am developing my spending plan?
Is payment made for any services outside of the individual budget?
Generally, a Self-Determination Program (SDP) participant purchases the services needed to implement their Individual Program Plan (IPP) with their individual budget funds. In some cases, however, consumers may require additional services and supports outside of what is funded by the individual budget to meet the participant’s IPP needs and support the key principles of the SDP. The following costs are excluded from the calculation of the individual budget, and expenses associated with these services shall not count against the individual budget once a consumer has transitioned to the SDP:
- Costs for insurance co-payments, deductibles, or co-insurance.
- Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Incentives.
- Paid Internship Program (PIP) payments.
- Rental payments consistent with Welfare and Institutions Code section 4689(i).
- SSI and/or SSP payments.
- The cost of the Financial Management Services provider.
What are the limited circumstances when an adult Self-Determination Participant may receive rental assistance?
- Health and Safety Risk: Rental assistance is required to meet the consumer’s specific care needs set forth in their IPP and needed because of the consumer’s demonstrated medical, behavioral, or psychiatric conditions which present a health and safety risk to the consumer or another individual; and
- Assistance in Accessing Other Resources: The supported living services provider assists the consumer in accessing all sources of generic and natural supports consistent with the needs of the consumer; and
- Time-limited: Rental assistance is limited to six months unless the regional center finds that it is needed to meet the individual consumer’s IPP needs, reviews the finding of necessity on a quarterly basis; and the regional center executive director annually verifies that the requirements for providing rental assistance continue to be met.
Where can I get information about using my budget to directly hire staff?
Can a participant get help developing a spending plan?
- A family member or close friend.
- An Independent Facilitator if you chose to hire one.
- Your regional center service coordinator.
- Your Financial Management Services (FMS) provider.
- Regional center funding to purchase transition services, including help with the spending plan. More information on assistance with person-centered planning, and other transition services including developing a spending plan, can be found here.
- Other transition support that your regional center is working with its Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee to develop.
Does the regional center review the services in the spending plan?
Are there any limits on what I can include in my spending plan?
- The spending plan must be spent on services and supports to implement the participant’s IPP.
- It cannot be used to purchase services available from generic agencies such as IHSS, Medi-Cal or school districts.
- The spending plan must be spent on goods and services that are eligible for federal financial participation.
What if I need to make changes in my spending plan during the year?
Support is available to participants from their FMS provider, their regional center and/or their planning team in making these changes.
What is an independent facilitator?
- Assisting the individual with making informed decisions regarding their individual budget
- Locating, accessing and coordinating services and supports consistent with the participant’s individual program plan (IPP)
- Identifying immediate and long-term needs and developing options to meet those needs
- Leading, participating, and/or advocating on behalf of participants in the person-centered planning process and development of the IPP
- Obtaining identified services and supports
What type of certification or licensure should individuals request from independent facilitators?
Where does the independent facilitator obtain the necessary training?
Who pays the cost of the independent facilitator and how much does it cost?
Are there any limits on who can be paid to be an independent facilitator?
What if I need help locating services and supports but choose not to work with an independent facilitator?
What are Financial Management Services (FMS)?
- Paying for services, including paying employees
- Assist with hiring employees
- Verifying provider qualifications
- Helping providers get criminal background checks, if needed
- Helping the participant comply with employment laws and tax requirements.
The FMS also makes sure the participant has funds to purchase needed services and support for the entire year. The FMS provides the participant and the regional center with a monthly expenditure report. This report provides the following information
- The amount of funds allocated by budget category;
- The amount spent in the previous 30 days; and,
- The amount of funds remaining in the individual budget.
Does everyone have to have an FMS provider?
Who can be a Financial Management Services Provider?
As a Self-Determination Program participant, would I pay my providers directly and get reimbursed by the Financial Management Services entity, or would I submit the expenses to the Financial Management Services entity for payment to my providers?
Who pays for the cost of my FMS provider?
As a Self-Determination Program participant, do I pay my providers directly?
What are the different types of FMS services and how much does each cost?
Are the services provided by the FMS provider counted when determining the FMS rate?
For individuals needing 24-hour supportive services, is overtime pay applicable whether the co-employment model or fiscal employer agent is selected?
Will FMS providers be expected to verify the use of generic resources?
Where do I find more information about FMS?
How do I find a Financial Management Services provider?
When choosing an FMS, you will want to learn about the different kind of FMS providers that are available. Information about FMS providers requirements, tasks, and responsibilities may be found on the Department’s directive at FMS Roles and the FMS model comparison chart. Because it is important to choose an FMS you feel comfortable working with, you may have to interview several. Before deciding which FMS provider to choose, you may want to speak with your service coordinator, your independent facilitator, or another person or agency you trust.
Where can an individual find a list of services available in the Self-Determination Program?
Can a consumer request services through a provider that is not familiar to the regional center?
Can a Self-Determination participant purchase services that are provided by a generic agency such as IHSS, Medi-Cal, or a school district?
Are there services that cannot be funded with the SDP budget?
What if the IPP team disagrees about a service need?
What is the HCBS Final Rule and how does it affect SDP services?
Are services available to address a specialized medical need still an option with the SDP?
Who is required to get a background check? Will parents and family members need one also?
Can a consumer request that a provider obtain a background check?
Who is responsible for paying for the background check?
Can a consumer get help in arranging a criminal background check?
Are special incident reports (SIR) or other reporting required in the SDP?
Some individuals including health care providers, social workers and individuals who provide paid or unpaid care are responsible must report abuse or neglect of regional center consumers under Mandated Abuse Reporting Statutes. These reports are made to law enforcement and the regional center. Additional information may be found here.
Where can I find more information about Background Checks?
Do I have to enroll in the Self-Determination Program?
What kind of rights and responsibility will participants or their family have if they choose to participate in the Self-Determination Program?
If I choose to participate in the Self-Determination Program, will I still have the same rights as other regional center consumers?
If a current participant moves to another regional center, can they still participate in the SDP?
Where can I find more information about my rights and responsibilities in the Self-Determination Program?
Last modified: January 6, 2023