Supports Brokerage is picking up traction and here is why. While Support Coordination is the overarching service to help our individuals, Support Brokerage is a service billed through the budget that encourages self-direction by enabling greater resource exploration in the community. The Support Broker’s role is to assist the person to foster independence, social engagement and choice. Individuals are required to have a Support Coordinator before they can access Supports Brokerage.
Let’s just take Fred as an example. Fred lives in his own apartment and wants to pursue activities in his community that are of interest to him. Fred discusses this with his Support Coordinator and they decide that a Support Broker will be put in the plan to help Fred achieve this outcome. Fred and the Support Broker decide that the Support Brokers role will be to assist Fred in hiring support staff, assist Fred in securing benefits that he needs to maintain his apartment and then to assist Fred in locating music studios for voice lessons and places that have “open mic” nights in his community. The Support Broker helped Fred interview prospective support staff by helping him develop interview questions, discussed Fred’s preferences and initiated background checks for two applicants. Then completed the applications for food stamps and utilities assistance with Fred. The Support Broker will continue to work with Fred on finding community resources. The role of the Support Coordinator in this scenario is to identify and discuss this service with Fred and his family (if applicable), allocate budget resources to this service, monitors the service and completes referral to the fiscal intermediary for payment of the self-directed employee.
This is just one example of many that may apply to this service. Supports Brokerage is a service/function that assists the participant (or the participant’s family or representative, as appropriate) in arranging for, directing and managing services. Serving as the agent of the participant or family, the service is available to assist in identifying immediate and long-term needs, developing options to meet those needs and accessing identified supports and services. Practical skills training is offered to enable families and participants to independently direct and manage program services. The service/function includes providing information to ensure that participants understand the responsibilities involved with directing their services.