Changes to Regional Center Services During COVID-19 Closures
As a result of the COVID-19 closures, the California Department of Developmental Services (“DDS”) has modified or waived certain provisions under Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act and Title 17, Division 2 of the California Code of Regulations to allow consumers more flexibility to receive needed services and supports.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE UNDER THE LANTERMAN ACT AND TITLE 17?
On March 30, 2020, DDS published a directive that allows for more services to be “participant-directed.” A participant-directed model, sometimes referred to as consumer-directed or self-directed services, will provide consumers and their families the flexibility to hire their own caretaking staff and direct how their care is received.
Previously, consumers could coordinate respite, day care, transportation, nursing, and day services through participant direction. Under the new DDS directive, consumers can now choose a participant-directed model for the following services: personal assistance, independent living skills, and supported employment.
HOW CAN I MAKE THE CHANGE TO PARTICIPANT DIRECTED SERVICES?
The first step to start receiving participant-directed services is to contact your Regional Center. You will need to identify who will be providing the service on behalf of the consumer. In order to eligible, the person (1) must be 18 years or older and (2) must have the ability to perform the work as verified by the consumer/family. If you are seeking participant-directed personal assistance or independent living skills support, please note that the provider cannot be the consumer’s spouse or parents.
Once you have identified who will be providing the care, you will work with the Regional Center to find a Financial Management Service (FMS) provider, who will handle your handle payroll, taxes, and reporting requirements. The Regional Center can provide you with different FMS options depending on the consumer and family’s unique circumstances.
After you select a FMS provider, the person providing the care will need to submit a verification of age and employment and federal disclosure information. The individual can begin working as soon as all required paperwork is received by the FMS.
HOW LONG WILL THIS CHANGE BE IN EFFECT?
DDS has extended this directive until December 25, 2020. However, DDS will continue to monitor the situation related to COVID-19 and may further extend the timeline for this directive. For the most up-to-date information, please visit https://www.dds.ca.gov/corona-virus-information-and-resources/.
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