Frequently Asked Questions

What is Family Managed Supports (FMS) funding?

Family Managed Supports is a funding option available through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program. This option enables families to receive funding directly from PDD to hire staff and/or approved agencies to provide supports to their adult son or daughter. Under this arrangement the family is accountable for the use of the funds and the provision of supports to their family member. Individuals with developmental disabilities must first be eligible for PDD prior to applying for FMS.

Most families that have had funding from Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) for their children with disabilities, will already be familiar with receiving funding directly from the government and hiring their own staff or agency.

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Why would I want to choose to use FMS?

Some families feel that it is important to have a primary role in directing the supports and services their family member requires. With FMS funding, families are directly involved in all decisions related to the supports for their family member. The family is able to plan and pursue inclusive pathways that may include such areas as education, employment, recreation and community involvement.  Families may tailor supports based on individual choices by hiring staff or contracting directly with service agencies.

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How do I know that FMS is the right choice for my family member and my family?

There is not an absolute way of deciding if FMS is the best choice for your family member or your family.  The following are some things to consider:

  • Do you have a vision for your family member that you want to see fulfilled?
  • Do you have an understanding of the type and amount of support (natural and paid) your family member needs?
  • Would you like the supports for your family member to be personalized and individually tailored to meet their needs?
  • Would you like your family member to be more engaged in their community and in relationship with other people in the community?
  • Are you interested in hiring, supervising and, if necessary, training staff?  
  • In accessing the training to do so?
  • Do you want to have a role in the planning and day-to-day supports for your family member?
  • Are you willing to learn how to manage the financial and administrative responsibilities for which help is available?

If you answer YES to the majority of these questions, then FMS is likely a good choice for you and your family member to consider.  If you answer YES to about half of these questions, further exploration into the FMS option should be considered.  

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Who will train the staff that I hire?

As you know your son or daughter best, you and your family member(s) are responsible for training your staff and/or ensuring they receive training. The Family Managed Supports Resource Centre periodically provides educational opportunities for families and/or their staff.  These workshops may be provided by the Family Managed Supports Resource Centre, Inclusion Alberta or other organizations/agencies.

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What are my responsibilities when using Family Managed Supports funding?

Once you sign a Family Managed Supports contract with PDD under Family Managed Supports you are responsible for creating, managing and monitoring the supports for your family member and managing the money received from PDD. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Developing the plan for how supports will be provided for your family member.
  • Implementing quality supports that nurture the vision for your family member.
  • Hiring, supervising, directing, training, and paying staff or agencies that you contract with. (payroll can be managed by a payroll company of you prefer)
  • Monitoring the supports and plans for your son or daughter to ensure they are effective in reaching the stated goals and vision.
  • Managing the funds received from PDD by paying staff and submitting the invoices
  • Participating in training sessions, as required by PDD.
  • Meeting the obligations of the PDD funding agreement.  

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What steps are necessary to apply for Family Managed Supports funding?

It might be helpful to remember that many hundreds of families in Alberta are already using Family Managed Supports and many of these families are willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.  You can meet or talk with one or more of them to learn about the pros and cons of FMS through the Resource Centre.

First and foremost your family member with developmental disabilities must be PDD eligible.  This is done by applying to PDD for eligibility.  If your family member is not found eligible you may appeal this decision.  The Resource Centre can assist you in applying for eligibility and Inclusion Alberta will assist you in appealing if necessary.

Having determined eligibility, the next step is to create or clarify the vision you and your family member have for a good life in the community.  If this vision is one you believe can be best achieved by Family Managed Supports, you then need to develop a plan, including the staffing requirements and the costs associated with the plan.  The Resource Centre can assist you with of all of these steps and PDD can provide assistance as well.

The plan is then submitted to PDD for approval.  PDD has to approve of both your capacity to manage FMS as well as the plan and its costs.   As before, if PDD does not provide approval, then steps can be taken to resolve this or an appeal filed.

The Family Managed Supports Resource Centre is there to guide you through the entire process, and provide support with managing FMS when you are approved.

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How do I pay for work related expenses for my staff (i.e., CPP, EI, WCB, health benefits, mileage, admissions to activities)?

When you hire staff you are required to pay Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI) and usually Workers Compensation Board (WCB) as well as making tax deductions. PDD will provide you with the funding to cover these costs.  As noted before, you may use a payroll company to make these calculations for you.

PDD does not provide money for the payment of staff costs associated with mileage, admissions to activities, training or health benefits. These costs will need to be paid using other funds.  PDD often points to a person’s Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped  
(AISH) as a source to pay for admissions and mileage.

There may be other avenues that can be explored with families pertaining to personal circumstances.

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Can I hire a family member to provide the support to my son/daughter?

PDD does not permit the hiring of a family member (i.e., brother/sister, father) except in highly unusual circumstances. If you are considering hiring a member of your family you will be required to apply for an exemption to PDD policy.

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There are costs associated with my role in managing the supports for my family member (e.g., having a bank account, criminal record checks for staff, etc.).  How do these costs get paid?

PDD will advance funds equivalent to two months of your approved FMS budget to your bank account at the start of your funding agreement to ensure you have funds to pay staff. 

PDD will pay for costs related to the management of FMS for your family member, such as:

•    Payroll services (e.g. Ceridian, ADT)
•    Banking fees (monthly service charges)

PDD does not pay for costs related to the management of FMS for your family member, such as:

•    Criminal record checks
•    Office supplies (paper, office equipment, phone services, photocopying, etc.)
•    Mileage
•    Admission to activities
•    Administration fees for the supports

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