Service Coordination: SSA or RSS?

Summit DD is the community connector to services and resources for people with developmental disabilities. We connect people to their communities through service coordination staff such as Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) and Referral and Support Specialists (RSSs). Both of these team members can connect you to the resources that are right for you. But how do you know if you need an SSA or an RSS? What’s the difference between the two? What if you need to switch between the two? Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand your Summit DD support options.

What is an RSS?

RSS stands for Referral and Support Specialist. These trained professionals are knowledgeable staff who can connect you or your loved one to community resources that help support your needs. RSSs typically work with individuals between the ages of six and 22 and retired adults who do not have Medicaid waivers or may not need funding for services.

They also help individuals and families with a variety of common needs such as: finding camps, guardianship, social security or SSI applications, IEP meetings and more. An RSS’s role is to connect you to the community organizations that can support your needs.

What is the difference between an RSS and an SSA?

Both RSSs and SSAs provide service coordination. They both connect people to community support such as local organizations like Special Olympics and JFS. Both can help you set and work toward goals through an Individual Service Plan (ISP) or help navigate questions that people with disabilities or their families may have about schools, equipment needs or community programs.

The difference between the two is that an SSA typically works with adults who have additional funding needs. Services that require funding sources include employment support, day programs, transportation to work or day programs and home and community-based (HCB) services. Often times these services are Waiver-funded. SSAs are authorized to connect people to funding sources and budget the services needed to meet the needs of many adults.

How do I decide if I need an RSS or an SSA?

Good news. When you or a loved one are eligible for services, a Summit DD team member will work with you to determine where you are on your journey and match you with the staff member that fits your current needs.

What if I need services or a waiver in the future?

Don’t worry, if your needs change and you and your RSS determines you are in need of funding for services, your RSS will work with you to seamlessly connect you to an SSA who can then work with you on funding and services that are right for you. Your RSS is there to guide you through what you can expect from your services long-term.

Lastly, whether you have an SSA or an RSS, you can be sure that you have a knowledgeable professional to help you navigate supports you need to thrive.


Still have questions? Contact us.

Need to contact your SSA or RSS? Visit our online RSS and SSA Directory.

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