San Diego SDRC Self Determination Orientation with Regional Center, California

“I am a great example as being Independent living adult” ~ Gabriella Ledesma

Congratulations on attending your Self-Determination Orientation. The California governor approved $10.5 billion ($6.5 billion General Fund) for the Department and estimates that approximately 386,753 individuals will receive developmental services by the end of 2021-22.

In October 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 468 into law creating a statewide Self-Determination Program that offers regional center consumers a voluntary alternative to the traditional system and more control over the services they receive and the individuals who support them. Starting July 1, 2021, all consumers can switch to Self Determination.

..but wait… For current regional center consumers, the budget will equal 100% of the amount of the total purchase of service expenditures made by the regional center during the past 12 months.

…um, so…If your case manager or regional center supervisor says that they are still (1) unsure and (2) “waiting to find out funding availability” and (3) not providing clear instructions, please write to us now.

Here’s what is supposed to happen next for you.

We learned about an IF (Independent Facilitator). We asked if a consumer can get the $2,500 from the budget if they complete the work. According to district managers, you cannot pay yourself, and you have to pay others; there is no mention in the State order (Dec 2018) about this ad hoc prohibition.

We are looking into training our autistic clients to have job opportunities by becoming an IF for their peers! Stay tuned.

IF – Independent Facilitator

An IF is not required for your next step, but recommended. Their role is to sit in meetings with your R.C. team. They are supposed to negotiate rates and service codes for your budget. They can advocate for you to get the best possible budget based on what you know you need. If you expect your service coordinator to be sluggish, non-responsive, or cruel with their service agreement rate disclosures, then an IF is a good idea for you!

FMS – Financial Management Service


A Financial Management Service (FMS) is the only required service for participants in Self-Determination. You can find a list of the FMS agencies that San Diego Regional Center partners with here.

  • about 10 companies listed, check out the negative yelp reviews.

3 Different Models

There are actually 3 models available for Self Determination, but most agencies will offers 2.

  1. Bill Tier Model – very similar to traditional services with regional centers. They choose the agencies they know and make their own suggestions.
  2. Sole Employer ModelYou choose your own agencies and personnel. The FMS responsibility is to collect the w-2 forms, calculate the tax withholdings, and send the paychecks. Consumer’s responsibility is to enter the GROSS rate, not the NET into the budget, since we pay the tax withholdings from the overall budget. The deduction is 14.8%. If you’d like to calculate that, you would have to say, “If you want $15 per hour, we will have to calculate 15*1.48 = 22.” $22 is then the gross rate entered into the budget.

The FMS will send you forms to complete, and set an appointment for your initial meeting.

  • We recommend that you ask for a zoom call and complete the forms together.
  • They will offer paper mail forms
  • they are amenable to digital processing for efficiency and disability accommodations.

Expand Your Network

  • Please join our email list (email us, to receive news, updates, call to action, and interact with other list members via email


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.