What is ABPAS?
In 2010, my spine began to compress, resulting in my inability to function independently and significantly increased reliance on personal assistant services. In On Becoming More Disabled, I described the shock of the change, my appreciation of the work PCAs perform, and the luck I have living in California, where people with developmental disabilities receive the assistance they need regardless of their income or assets.
Personal care assistants (PCAs) differ from caregivers in the same way the independent living model differs from the medical model. The medical model helps patients’ get better,’ feel better, be comfortable, etc. The independent living model enables clients to do what they want and live their lives their way. It is a very different mindset.
PCAs often perform extremely personal care tasks for minimum wages, no fringe benefits, little or no training, and a wide range of work environments. They see us at our best and worst. Their reliability, punctuality, and understanding of non-verbal cues are often critical to survival. Medical team members, including caregivers, usually only see us when we are ill or in a strange, confining, and alienating environment.
I am starting Abilicorp Foundation as a low-profit L3C corporation whose mission will initiate and promote Disabled Owned Businesses. Its 1st project is developing and implementing the Abilicorp – Personal Assistant Services(ABPAS) in the Berkeley/Oakland area, with plans to roll out its new model to many communities.
ABPAS’ mission is to establish a personal care assistant((PCA) referral and management agency that will enable people with disabilities and elders to have complete control in managing their assistance needs. ABPAS will also assist PCAs in achieving their work and financial goals.
Our Unique Approach
ABPAS is the latest community-driven agency to actualize the independent living model. The IL model affirms that clients (people with disabilities, elders, and their families) are the experts on their own needs and can live the lives they want when they have the support they need.
ABPAS realizes this ideology by giving clients as much control as they want over their PCA search, hiring, and management processes while providing PCAs with living wages, healthcare options, training opportunities, and support. While other agencies charge high overhead fees for middle management services,
ABPAS offers ways that clients can manage the PCA management process. They can
Use the website tool for free and independently handle all aspects of PCA management
Work with an ABPAS independent facilitator to recruit and vet PCAs
Clients work with an independent facilitator to manage all aspects of PCA management
Engage ABPAS as the legal employer of PCAs, responsible for payroll, tax filings, liability, etc., giving clients as many or as few day-to-day management responsibilities as they want.
ABPAS will also offer the infrastructure for support circles. These localized networks of clients, PCAs, and independence facilitators share work schedules, rotate PCAs, and respond to an emergency or varying needs. Support circles allow PCAs and clients greater flexibility, knowing there is a diversified support network that can adapt in the face of emergencies or changes in schedule.
ABPAS will assist PCAs in achieving their work and financial goals may. This assistance may include financial counseling, advocating with funding sources, and referrals to multiple clients. ABPAS will also encourage PCAs to be independent living facilitators or work at local businesses and agencies to augment their wages.
Holding equity at its core, ABPAS will work with government agencies and healthcare plans to help ensure that people with disabilities and elders receive the assistance they need regardless of income and assets and that PCAs receive livable wages and benefits.
We will work with clients and their support circles to recruit PCAs from colleges, universities, medical schools, community groups, religious institutions, and social media. We envision interwoven
We are looking forward to this new venture!