Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

Print: Print this page

How-To Guide Glossary


Budget Authority – One of two “authority” choices in Self-Direction (see the other, Employer Authority, below) in which the person/family has the authority to make budget decisions, including hourly staff pay- and fringe-rates, inaddition to hiring, firing and supervising staff. 

Circle of Support – The “Circle of Support” consists of the person, the Support Broker and the MSC; the person chooses to invite any other family, friends and professionals who are committed to helping him/her live a self-directed life. 

Developmental Disabilities Profile (DDP-2) – A needs-assessment tool; Scores from this assessment are used to calculate the Personal Resource Account (PRA) for the Self-Direction budget. 

Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) – OPWDD’s local offices, which oversee and coordinate delivery of Medicaid Waiver services. 

Effective Date – The date on which the Self-Direction budget can begin paying for goods and services. 

Employer Authority – One of the two “authority” choices in Self-Direction (see the other, Budget Authority, above) in which the person/family makes staffing decisions only. The hourly pay- and fringe-rates are set by the provider agency contracted by the person/family to provide staffing. 

Fiscal Intermediary (FI) – A not-for-profit agency that serves as “employer of record” for Self-Direction plans with Budget Authority; In that role, the FI conducts background checks, collects service-related documentation, pays for or reimburses budget-approved goods and services, and provides payroll/benefit services. 

Habilitation Plan – Not to be confused with the ISP, habilitation plans provide self-hired staff with action plans for supporting people to meet the valued outcomes they have identified; safeguards are also built into the plan to identify areas where people need extra support as they take risks in meeting their valued outcomes. 

Individualized Service Plan (ISP) – A document prepared by the MSC and based on information gathered from the person during Person-Centered Planning; the ISP provides a detailed profile of the person, andidentifies natural and community supports, Medicaid State Plan and/or Medicaid Waiver supports, and safeguards necessary to help the person achieve their dreams. 

Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) – A professional, selected by the person family from an approved list, who helps the person access supports and services. 

Medicaid Waiver – An authority granted to states by the federal government to develop delivery or payment methods for Medicaid supports, such as Self-Direction, which are a departure from those approved in the Medicaid State Plan. 

Person-Centered Planning – A process that aims to understand the person’s vision for a meaningful life, taking into account his/her strengths and abilities, needs, and planning for outcomes consistent with that vision; This process takes place through a series of conversations between the person, family (as needed), the MSC, and/or Support Broker. 

Personal Resource Account (PRA) – The maximum amount of money, based on the needs-assessment, which can be budgeted to pay for the person’s supports and services. 

Self-Direction Budget – A detailed budget developed by the Support Broker using an OPWDD-provided Excel template with an itemized amount of money to be allocated for supports and services included in a person’s ISP. 

Self-Direction Information Session – A training session, conducted by the Self-Direction Liaison at the local DDRO, for people/families seeking to self-direct their services and supports. 

Self-Direction Liaison – A DDRO staff-member who provides training on OPWDD’s Self-Direction option to people/families, Support Brokers and Fiscal Intermediaries; Liaisons also review and approve Self-Direction budgets. 

Start-Up Budget – A preliminary budget developed by the Support Broker and sent to the Self-Direction Liaison for approval. Once approved, the process of developing the comprehensive Self-Direction Budget can begin.  

Support Broker – A professional who educates the person and family on Self-Directed service options, and assists the person in developing a Self-Direction budget, writing Habilitation Plans and facilitating Circle of Support meetings.

*Prepared by Lower Hudson Families for Self-Direction