The ‘employer model’ in personal assistance

Rhein-Main inklusiv e.V.
Country of Implementation
Western Europe
First published

This project offers support for persons with disabilities who use personal assistants, and encourages them to organize these assistants themselves. After a certain period of time, the level of experience and self-confidence becomes strong enough for the "new employers" to continue managing their assistants on their own.

Solution details


Corina ZOLLE
“Assisted assistance is a form of peer support in managing personal assistance.” Corina ZOLLE, Project Coordinator

Problems Targeted

Many people with disabilities who are dependent on personal support are still living in institutions against their will, or they are dependent on help from their families (parents, partners, etc.), with little control over their own lives.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

Counselling and support are offered by a team of experts (psychologists, social education workers, lawyers, business administrator, and entrepreneurs) who have many years of experience dealing with the ‘employer model’. Advice is given in the all relevant areas, including personal budget counselling, cost calculations/monitoring, finding and hiring assistants, organizing work schedules, managing assistants, and mediation in cases of employer/assistant conflict.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

The financial incentive for the government to provide personal assistance using the employer model is that it reduces costs both for persons currently living in as well as out of institutions. The model requires no administration costs or additional investments.


Life Story


“Finally, I could leave the house, see my friends, and do household tasks – all with the support of my personal assistants.”

I have cerebral palsy. As a regular school was deemed impossible for me due to my physical disability, I had to spend most of my life in special institutions. After my apprenticeship I went back to my parents’ home, hoping to find a job. Unfortunately, it did not really work out – neither finding a job nor living with my parents. That’s when I decided to ask my municipality how I could live independently. In my small town there was only a very traditional organization for people with disabilities. They offered me a one-room apartment and a couple of hours of their service for my personal hygiene, but they could not provide me with the kind of assistance that I really needed. After a while I became depressed because I could not leave the house or meet my friends. The local state-appointed social worker sent me to a psychologist because he thought I just couldn’t come to terms with my disability and that I was too demanding. It was in summer 2013 that I first heard about a new organization, Rhein-Main Inklusiv (RMI), that helped people with disabilities to organize their personal assistance on their own. Corina Zolle from RMI was completely outraged about the situation I was in. We applied for a personal budget so that the money from the municipality would be sent directly to me – as the employer of my personal assistants – rather than to the traditional service provider. By organizing everything on my own and with a little help from RMI, I got many more hours of assistance with the same amount of money than before. Finally, I could leave the house, see my friends, go shopping, and do household tasks – all with the support of my personal assistants. A few weeks later I started going to the local university. Today I am in my third year at the university and I have moved to an apartment in the city where I am studying. Also, with the help of a lawyer I finally succeeded in having assistance around the clock. Now I am already thinking about what might happen to me after finishing my studies and finding a job as a social worker!

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