Issue 2 | Winter 2024

By Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy and Certified Pennsylvania Supports Broker, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University


Supports Broker Recertification

The Office of Developmental Programs has contracted with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University to provide the supports broker recertification training. This one-day virtual online training meets the recertification requirements set forth in the ODP Waivers effective January 1, 2023.

The recertification deadline is based upon the state fiscal year.

For example, if you were initially certified before July 1, 2020 (fiscal year 2021), then you must obtain recertification by June 30, 2024.

The recertification course will present a refresher of:

  • Supports Broker functions, responsibilities, and standards per the current waiver
  • Approved activities and tasks
  • Roles and responsibilities of the FMS organizations in Person-directed Services (PDS)
  • How to complete service and progress notes
  • A review of self-determination
  • More ways to amplify and support self-advocacy


We invite supports brokers to watch this video to learn more about intersectionality. As brokers, we should strive to ensure that our work embraces the diversity of the waiver participants who trust us to serve them, and their allies who provide support as common law employers, managing employers, support service professionals, or natural supports like family or friends.

Feel free to share this video with those you broker for. “Social Justice – What’s Disability Have to do with it?” video on YouTube.

Note from Public Partnerships — PPL

Happy New Year!

Transition enrollment to PPL begins January 8, 2024.

Instructions for enrollment and setting up accounts have been sent to CLEs and SSPs. We value your support during the transition process. PPL is excited about the future of self-direction in Pennsylvania!

The PDS Basics

What are Participant Directed Services or "PDS?"

Participant Directed Services empower people by expanding the amount of choice and control they have ever who provides their services and supports, and the ways in which those services and supports are provided.

This allows participants to:

  • Select and hire their own Support Service Professionals (SSPs)
  • Train the SSPs to provide services in a way that meets the participants' needs
  • Create the SSPs' schedules
  • Supervise the SSPs
  • Dismiss SSPs from employment

How do Participant Directed Services work?

Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) offers two types of Participant Directed Services. The type a person chooses depends on how much control and responsibility they want to have.

People can also self-direct some services and use a provider agency for other services.

What services can be self-directed?

  • Assistive Technology
  • Companion
  • Homemaker/Chore
  • In-Home and Community Support
  • Participant-Directed Goods and Services (P/FDS Waivers and Community Living only)
  • Respite
  • Supported Employment
  • Supports Broker Services
  • Education Support Services
  • Specialized Supplies
  • Home Accessibility Adaptations
  • Vehicle Accessibility Adaptations
  • Family/Caregiver Training and Support
  • Public Transportation and Transportation Mile

Participant-Directed Supports and Services (PDS) in Pennsylvania — A Closer Look


Aligning with principles of self-determination, participant directed services, or "PDS," provide a model whereby people with disabilities have more control over where, when, how, and who provides their supports.

With participant direction, people who live in their own home or with family are able to hire their own support service professionals (SSP) and conduct many of the employer responsibilities related to this. The person may opt to take the lead with these tasks or select a surrogate to perform these employer responsibilities.

Supports Brokers

People with disabilities and families do not have to be on their own when it comes to participant-direction. People may choose to hire a Support Broker. Supports Coordinators should have a list of approved support brokerage agencies, or people with disabilities may opt to hire an SSP who is certified and qualified to provide the supports broker service.

Supports Brokers work collaboratively with the person, family, Supports Coordinator, and other members of the Individual Support Plan (ISP) team and may help with:

  • Recruiting and hiring SSPs;
  • Expanding and coordinating informal, unpaid resources and supports;
  • Facilitating a Circle of Support;
  • Developing and maintaining back-up plans;
  • Enhanced person-centered planning and communicating suggested modifications to the ISP;
  • Common Law Employer or Managing Employer responsibilities;
  • Problem-solving to help achieve outcomes;
  • Compliance with Waiver and PDS standards, regulations, and policies.

NOTE: A Supports Broker should never take over the responsibilities of Common or Managing Employer.

Financial Management Services Models

  • Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent (VF/EA) or
  • Agency with Choice (AWC)

Once a person decides to use participant directed services, they will need to choose the Financial Management Service (FMS) model used to employ SSPs. The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) offers two options: Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent (VF/EA) or Agency with Choice (AWC).

There are differences between the two models and it is important that people choose the one that will best meet their needs.



Photo credit: "Winter In Pennsylvania" by audreyjm529 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit