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(9.15) What is a Self-Determination Program?

(9.15) What is a Self-Determination Program?

The Self-Determination Program (SDP) is a way to get your regional center services.[1]Section 4685.8 It is different from the traditional way, where the regional center purchases your services from its vendors. In the SDP, consumers and their families have more freedom, control, and responsibility in choosing services and supports to help them meet objectives in their Individual Program Plan (IPP). As of July 2021, the SDP is available to all eligible regional center consumers. Each regional center has a local advisory committee that meets to help plan the SDP in that area.

In the SDP, you: 

  • create a Person-Centered Plan to work toward your preferred future. During the process of creating a person-centered plan, you direct the conversation about your strengths, capabilities, preferences, lifestyle and cultural background. At the end of the process, you will have a written plan for your goals for recreation, transportation, friendships, therapies, home, employment, family relationships, and anything else you want.
  • will have an Individual Budget, which is your money to buy your services and supports. Your IPP team determines your budget based on the money you used for services in the most recent 12 months. You will then make a spending plan to say how you will spend your budget on services.
  • can have an Independent Facilitator to help you create a person-centered plan, make decisions about your budget and spending, find services, and advocate for you.
  • must have Financial Management Services (FMS). You choose an FMS vendored by the regional center. FMS will help you manage your budget by paying bills and managing the pay for support workers.
  • Find providers for your services and supports. They do not have to be regional center vendors, like they do in the traditional system. You can buy services that are approved by the federal government and listed in the SDP waiver. There are a lot of different services you can buy with your budget. There are some you cannot buy, like room and board (rent, food, utilities).

If you disagree with your IPP, individual budget, or other parts of your services under the SDP, you can appeal and ask for a fair hearing. Your appeal and hearing rights are the same in SDP as in the traditional regional center system. See Chapter 10 for appeals, complaints, and timelines.

For more information about the SDP, visit the Department of Developmental Services SDP website here: To enroll in SDP, talk to your regional center service coordinator. You must attend an orientation before you can begin the SDP. Orientations are available through the regional center or the local advisory committee in different languages. There may also be statewide orientations you can attend.

1 Section 4685.8