I wanted to talk about the responsibilities you have as an employer of your personal care attendants if you self-direct your Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in Kansas.
I talked about some of our rights when we self-direct our personal care attendants in last month's article which are so important for us to know. But it is equally important for us to know what our responsibilities are when we receive KanCare HCBS and self-direct our attendants or Direct Support Workers (DSWs). Self-direction allows you to have more control over who is providing your services, but it does take more work on your part, although some providers can help or guide you along the way. But you are the employer when self-directing.
First we are responsible for hiring our attendants or DSWs. Many providers like SKIL can help you to recruit applicants but you are ultimately responsible for the hiring. After being approved to receive services on one of the HCBS waiver programs, you will receive a Plan of Care which tells you how many hours your attendant or DSW can work and what tasks they should be helping you with. For example if you get two hours of housecleaning, then it is your responsibility to work with your attendant on what housecleaning tasks they will do in those two hours. You are responsible for deciding the tasks under each category on your plan of care although some tasks may be specific on your plan. For example with bathing, your plan may detail that you need help with transferring if that is what is determined when you visit with the Care Coordinator from your Managed Care Organization (Aetna, Sunflower, or United). You are responsible for also training your attendant or DSW which gives you the ability to make sure things are getting done the way you want it done. This is so important to me in that I can make sure my personal care and housecleaning is done my way, rather than the way another employer may have trained my worker. You also need to make sure your employees know how to use the Authenticare system, so they are clocking in and out correctly and their work hours are being recorded accurately.
Of course since you are the employer, you manage and supervise your employees as they work in providing you assistance as approved. Be sure to treat your employees (attendants or DSWs) with respect and dignity as they should also treat you the same. While managing and supervising your employees, you should maintain control and watch to make sure to prevent fraud and abuse. If you suspect your employee is committing fraud, such as reporting work hours when not working, or if you feel fearful that you are being abused in any way, you should report it immediately.
You should also make certain that your employees know what their responsibilities are when working for you. They should be on time. They should treat you with respect, as you should your employees. They should follow your direction on tasks that need done, which should follow your plan of care as stated earlier. You must work with your FMS provider or payroll agent, like SKIL, to get any paperwork that you as the employer and your employees or DSWs need completed on time, employee hours and attendance are accurate, and other things required by the State and needed by your providers are done.
It may seem like a great deal of responsibilities to self-direct sometimes, but if you want control of who comes in your home to work for you, this is the way. If you have never been an employer or supervised employees, you can learn. And the skills you learn could help you in other situations in your life. SKIL is always available if you have questions or need help. Do not hesitate to reach out to us.
I wanted to let you know that the 2020 KS Legislative session starts January 13th. I will be writing about some things we will be working on this session to improve life for Kansans with disabilities. I hope that I can get your support on some of these issues.
By Lou Ann Kibbee, Systems Advocacy Manager at Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL) Resource Center.
- by Lou Ann Kibbee
Hello Everyone! So the 2020 Kansas State Legislative session began January 13th. Governor Kelly gave her State of the State speech on January 16th. Disability advocates work throughout the year to make changes for Kansans with disabilities to live independently in their homes and community they choose to live. But during the legislative session, we are even busier watching what the legislators and the Administration are doing, so they do not make changes that would affect our lives negatively, as well as work with other organizations to make positive changes for us all.
Last year's legislative session, we partnered with other organizations to educate legislators about the Protected Income Level (PIL) and Client Obligation (CO). They learned from individuals with disabilities who pay Client Obligations, that they could use that money for other necessities in life, such as healthier foods, toilet paper, and utilities. In response, the legislators put in the final budget of the 2019 session to raise the Protected Income Level to $1,177 (equivalent to 150% of SSI) for a year. Advocates requested they raise the Protected Income Level to 300% of SSI which would be around $2,250.
The increase to $1,177 was a huge step and helped many individuals so they don’t have to pay the Client Obligation anymore. This year some of the legislators are looking at putting the increase of 150%, hence the $1,177, permanently in law, whereas some of the Administration may prefer to make the change in regulation. Advocates, on the other hand, will still educate legislators about the need to get the Protected Income Level increased to 300%. Although the $1,177 increase benefitted a lot of individuals who receive Home and Community-Based Services and pay Client Obligations, there is still some in our community who pays this monthly fee. Individuals who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) have earned this monthly income by building work credits with the Social Security Administration as you make income through employment. Contrary to what many people believe, SSDI is not "welfare." We have earned these funds to be available in the future in case of disability, and eventual retirement. Individuals with incomes above the current Protected Income Level of $1,177 worked to make sure they would have a higher income of Social Security when they needed it, but they are being punished by having to pay a Client Obligation because they need Home and Community-Based Services to stay in their home. Advocates believe this is not right, nor fair!
So we are looking for individuals with disabilities that use Home and Community-Based Services and still pay Client Obligations that are willing to do a short video (1-2 minutes) about how their life would be better if they did not have to pay this monthly fee.
• What would you use this money for?
• How could it improve your life?
The individual testimonies made the biggest difference last year in getting the increase, so that is what we need this year.
Next month I will talk about some other things we are working on and give you an update on the work above.
Samual got involved with Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL) in 2002. He has served on the Board of Directors for the last 8 years. He always took great pride in representing people with disabilities and assuring that the services they needed in Southeast Kansas were in place.
He was a long time member of Kansas ADAPT. This gave him an opportunity to stand up for people's civil rights and fight for equality for people with disabilities.
Samual joined the Neosho County Disability Coalition in 2013. He served terms as the Chair and Vice Chair of the coalition. The Coalition allowed him to be a part of a peer group that works together to empower one another.
He leaves us some big shoes to fill. He will be missed