Medicaid‘s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (also known as CDPAP) provides eligible recipients in New York State with a means to pay for a caregiver of their choice. This allows consumers to remain in their homes and to choose certain family members, loved ones, or friends to provide caregiving services. It also allows those caregivers to be paid for their services.


Below we’ll discuss how to become a CDPAP caregiver in the state of New York, including how to apply for the program, qualifications for caregivers, and whether or not you have to take a drug test.


Steps to become a personal assistant or CDPAP caregiver

In order to become a CDPAP caregiver/personal assistant, you must have an eligible Medicaid Managed Care or Managed Medicaid Long Term Care recipient who is willing to hire you for those duties. If someone asks you to be their caregiver there are several more steps to take before you can be approved.


Next, you’ll need to contact the consumer’s selected fiscal intermediary. This is a private insurance company that helps the government administer the program on a state level and they help process all of the necessary information and ensure that funds are being used properly. The intermediary needs your information so they can pay you. They will ask you to provide:

–          Your Social Security card

–          Proof of residency

–          Two forms of photo ID


You will also need to have your own physical exam from a licensed physician. Your personal doctor can complete this exam. The purpose is to ensure that you are physically capable of doing the caregiving work you’re being hired for and don’t have any limitations that would prevent you from carrying out your duties for the consumer.


A physical exam will include screening for diseases such as rubella and rubeola (which most Americans are vaccinated against at a young age), blood tests, and a drug screening.


The drug screening tests for 8 drugs in your system:

–          Amphetamines

–          Barbiturate

–          Benzodiazepines

–          Cannabinoids (THC)

–          Cocaine

–          Methadone

–          Opiates

–          Phencyclidine in the system.


If you test positive for any of these substances, the fiscal intermediary will discuss your case with you to determine any next steps.


Finally, you will need to complete payroll documents in order to receive your salary from the intermediary.


Since the Medicaid recipient, or “consumer,” initiates the program and acts as the caregiver’s employer, there are steps they must take in order to get the ball rolling.


Steps to get a CDPAP caregiver

If you are the consumer and would like to hire a caregiver from amongst your loved ones or friends, you must first be eligible for Medicaid and be enrolled in (or willing to enroll in) the Medicaid Managed Care or Managed Medicaid Long Term Care programs.


If you are eligible, the first thing you’ll need to do is call your Medicare planner (also referred to as the “fiscal intermediary”) and alert them to your desire to join the CDPAP.


You can ask them to recommend a caregiver for you if you do not know someone willing to take on the task. But if you have a family member or friend, you will provide them with the person’s name. You will then ask your proposed caregiver to contact the planner/intermediary to provide the necessary documentation (listed above).


The intermediary will process this information and, if approved, schedule a home assessment with a registered nurse to ensure you truly require caregiving services and how many hours a week you require them.


Once the services have been approved, you will wait for formal authorization before you can begin paying your caregiver.


Do I need a background check?

You do not need a background check if you are a potential caregiver hoping to provide services through the CDPAP. This is only the case for those acting as home care aides through an agency.


If you were providing formal nursing services for a licensed care facility, that would be different and you would need to undergo a background check.


Why do CDPAP caregivers need to take a drug test?

The 8-panel drug test required for CDPAP caregivers ensures that you are capable of giving care without being under the influence.


Because those who require care are vulnerable and usually on multiple medications, ensuring you are not using drugs also lets the intermediary know that you are less likely to steal drugs from the consumer.


How do I apply for CDPAP?

To get started on applying for CDPAP as a consumer, you will need to be on Medicaid and be able to manage your own personal assistance since you will be considered your caregiver’s employer.


An outside source will do a home visit to make sure you’re capable of the following:

–          Making your own choices about your daily activities

–          Understanding the implications of your choices and anything you ask your caregiver to do for you

–          Assuming responsibility for the outcomes of your decisions, including any harmful behaviors such as refusing to take your medications

–          Understanding what to do (and what to request from your caregiver) in emergency situations


During a home visit, a registered nurse may also ask you or your family if you have any history of unintentional wandering or negligence. This is because the CDPAP program is for people who understand how to care for themselves but are physically unable to complete the tasks due to disability, age, or illness.


If you are experiencing cognitive decline or suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, hallucinations, or frequent disorientation, you may not be eligible for the CDPAP. This is because you cannot be considered capable of “self-directing” your care. In this case, you would be unable to perform the duties of an employer for your caregiver. However, non-self-directing patients can have a designated representative manage their care in order to be eligible for CDPAP.