The New York CDPAP program helps children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) build independence and social skills by providing them with the opportunity to receive in-home assistance from a trained caregiver. 

If your family needs help to deal with the challenges surrounding autism, read on to learn if you’re eligible.

What is CDPAP?

CDPAP is a Medicaid program that allows people with chronic illnesses or disabilities to choose and train their in-home caregivers, who are then paid by the state. Short for Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, CDPAP is a program intended to give patients more control over their care and to reduce costs by keeping people out of nursing homes and other institutions.

Families of children with autism may be unaware that through CDPAP, they can get paid for being their children’s caregivers. Let’s look at what it takes to qualify as a CDPAP caregiver.

Can a Parent Who Takes Care of Their Autistic Child Qualify as a CDPAP Caregiver?

Parents often want to know if they can qualify as their children’s caregivers. The answer is yes, and no. Let’s examine both.

  1. If your autistic child is over 21, you can qualify to look after them under the CDPAP regulations. 
  2. Unfortunately, if your child is under 21, you are still legally responsible for them; therefore, you cannot be their caregiver.

There is a process you must undertake to be your child’s caregiver, keep reading to learn about it.

The Process of a Parent Becoming the CDPAP Caregiver of Their Autistic Child

There are a few steps necessary to apply and be approved as a caregiver for your autistic child, but before you even begin the process, you must make sure you are both a New York State resident and a Medicaid recipient. Once you’ve confirmed you meet those two criteria, you can apply through your nearest Department of Social Services or your Medicaid plan. 

As you continue your application, here are some tips to help you weed through the red tape. 

1. Confirm the Type of Medicaid You Have

There are two types of Medicaid, Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS), often referred to as regular Medicaid, or managed care Medicaid. Here are their differences:

Fee-for-service plans. When you receive a service covered by Medicaid, the state will pay the provider for that service. People with this type of Medicaid can apply for the CDPAP program directly through the New York State Department of Social Service. 

Managed care plans. Under a managed care plan, the state will reimburse the plan holder (usually a private insurance company) for the service you received, and then the program will reimburse the provider. In other words, the insurance company “manages” the payments, which means you will need to go through your private insurance company to coordinate your child’s care.

If your child on the spectrum doesn’t have Medicaid, but you think they qualify for the program, you should contact your local Medicaid office.

Next is the assessment; we’ve got some tips to help you through it.

2. Go Through the Assessment Process

Nobody likes assessments; they sound like a test, which can cause anxiety. Remember, the purpose of the following reviews is to get you the support and help you need for your child.  

1. An assessment by a licensed social worker from the state. During this visit, the social worker discusses your family’s current situation and asks questions about your child’s development, health, and behavior. 

2. A second assessment will be conducted by a nurse or another qualified healthcare provider from your health plan. This assessment will include a review of your child’s medical and developmental history and an evaluation of their current functioning. 

The nurse will then develop a support plan and help you identify an agency that can provide the needed services. CDPAP offers up to 60 hours weekly, but overtime is available if required. 

Of course, there are many forms you must fill out to initiate the assessments and follow the steps, and we’ve supplied them for you below. 

3. Fill Out the Forms

Applying for CDPAP can seem daunting, but we’ve broken down the process into a few easy steps. You will need to fill out or have handy these forms:

  • Doctor’s certification, 
  • Proof of New York residency
  • Proof of income
  • Health transfer form
  • CDPAP Application form

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll be contacted by a CDPAP representative to schedule the intake assessment we discussed in the previous section. Let’s take a look at the next step, choosing your caregiver!

4. Choose the Caregiver

You have many options when it comes to choosing your child’s caregiver. You can select yourself if your child is over 21, a relative, a friend, or a neighbor, or you could even choose to work with a professional agency that specializes in providing care for children with autism.

The key here is to discuss who your child would be most comfortable with and find someone you trust. Take your time and do your homework. The best part about the CDPAP program is you can also have a say in training your caregiver to meet your child’s specific needs.

5. Find a Fiscal Intermediary

Once you’ve chosen your CDPAP caregiver, you will also need to select an agency to manage and organize the expenses and payments. This is called a “fiscal intermediary” and can be:

  • A Medicaid-enrolled provider with a CDPAP contract, 
  • OR a licensed home care services agency (LHCSA) that has a CDPAP contract, 
  • OR an individual who is self-employed and has a CDPAP contract 

The fiscal intermediary will be responsible for processing your timesheets, paying your caregiver, and managing the overall budget for your care. Let’s give you some information to help you better pick the right caregiver for your autistic child.

Who can become a CDPAP caregiver for someone with autism?

You have many options to pick from when choosing a CDPAP caregiver for your autistic child, such as:

  • Friends
  • Siblings
  • Relatives
  • Parents of children over 21
  • Grandparents
  • People you choose to hire from agencies working with the CDPAP program

There are some restrictions on who can become an in-home assistant through CDPAP, so let’s examine those.

Who Cannot be a CDPAP Caregiver?

These are the restrictions on who you can choose as an in-home caregiver. You cannot be a caregiver if you:

  • Are a legal spouse
  • Happen to be a parent of a child under 21
  • Serve as a designated representative or legal guardian of a child under 21

Aside from the list above, we should mention a few more requirements that CDPAP caregivers must meet.

Caregiver Requirements

A CDPAP caregiver is not required to have certifications or licenses because they will receive on-the-job training through you, your child, and their agency. However, a helper must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • Legally reside in New York State
  • Pass a criminal background check 
  • Have the physical capacity to lift, transfer and ambulate patients 
  • Own or have access to reliable transportation 
  • Be willing to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends 
  • Submit to and pass a physical exam, including a drug test, and blood tests
  • Allow a screening for Rubella and Rubeola and other vaccinations that must be up to date.

Aside from these criteria, you have a lot of freedom when choosing a caregiver for your child with ASD, especially since all New York counties offer the CDPAP program.

Reach Out and Ask About CDPAP Today

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program exists to help people struggling with autism. Children with ASD face many challenges, and in-home care can be a dealbreaker for families when it comes to improving their quality of life, health, and happiness. Reach out and start your application today!

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