If you receive funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you know there’s a lot of record-keeping.
One big question to answer is, “Who is going to complete all that paperwork?”
NDIS Participants have four ways to manage their plans.
AGENCY MANAGED by the national disability insurance agency
Agency management means the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) manages your funds and pays providers.
Service providers can directly invoice NDIS plans or through a Support Coordinator.
Why Choose Agency Managed?
This method is easy for you because the NDIA handles everything. But it comes with restrictions:
- It’s less flexible.
- Every purchase needs approval from the NDIA, including small purchases from your consumables’ budget.
- Only NDIS registered providers can provide services.
Self-management is like it sounds.
If you want to control your plan, take this route.
Especially if you have confidence in planning your services, managing money, paying providers, and drafting complicated paperwork.
Self-management means you’re responsible for the funds in your plan and for managing receipts and bookings.
You must regularly check your NDIS funds, pay providers, make sure disability service providers follow the NDIS price guide and other rules.
Why Choose Self-Managed?
Self-managing your NDIS funds lets you build skills and feel confident about how you manage your NDIS budgets.
You’re responsible for making sure providers and Support Workers receive prompt payment and follow the rules.
When you self-manage your plan, it can seem like a part-time job.
You have to submit claims and pay invoices.
But you can use unregistered providers.
The third option is hiring someone specialising in NDIS Plan Management.
An NDIS Plan Manager meets with a client to determine your wishes, needs, and goals.
For an organisation to offer plan management services, they must be an NDIS-registered plan manager.
You’ll work with the plan manager on establishing Service Agreements so your NDIS registered provider knows how you want your funds used.
The manager must stick to your NDIS budget and give you monthly updates on your plan balances.
A definite benefit is you can use non-registered providers for your treatments and other services.
Why Choose Plan-Managed?
The plan-managed option provides many benefits of the self-managed option while reducing your administrative burden.
Plan management costs, but the fees get included in your NDIS funding, so the NDIA pays the manager directly.
You can create any combination of agency-, self-, and plan-managed supports to meet your needs.
You choose how the plan pays for each part of your supports.
You just need to clarify who handles what with your LAC and the NDIA during your annual review
WHAT DOES A PLAN MANAGER DO?
An NDIS Plan Manager helps you navigate the NDIS so you get the most from your financial resources and accomplish your desired objectives.
The plan manager handles the paperwork and oversees financial details.
You still need the flexibility to choose and arrange your supports, including service providers.
A good plan manager remains neutral rather than pushing you to choose a particular provider.
Some plan managers provide templates and give advice on developing Service Agreements with providers.
Some also offer online resources, like patient portals and online access to fund balances.
Check out several plan managers to find one that will work best for you.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING A NEW PLAN MANAGER?
When investigating and choosing plan managers, it’s best to find a company that knows what your disability and your circumstances are, and can help you achieve your goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you are comfortable discussing your situation and needs with your chosen plan manager.
Check you’re comfortable using their processes:
- How do they want to receive documents like receipts or invoices?
- How easy is it to get in touch with them in an emergency?
WHAT DOES PLAN MANAGEMENT COST?
Support for plan management requires additional funding.
Your total NDIS funding request includes that amount.
The NDIA allocates money to the “Improved Life Choices” category of your plan to cover the plan management expenses.
Having a plan manager does not decrease your overall funding.
Plan managers get a standard fee for setting up your account. They then receive a monthly amount for account maintenance.
When you have the funding in your NDIS plan, you won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses.
WHEN CAN I CHOOSE A PLAN MANAGER?
During your initial planning meeting, you and your NDIS Support Coordinator, Local Area Coordinator (LAC), or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) coordinator will discuss how you intend to manage your plan.
You don’t need to know who your plan manager will be.
Just let the LAC, Support Coordinator, or ECEI Coordinator you want one.
You can tell them who you choose later.
And if you’re not sure if you’re eligible for the NDIS, take our fun assessment to find out.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M UNHAPPY WITH MY PLAN MANAGER’S SERVICE?
Every NDIS Participant has different needs and goals. Sometimes the planning process doesn’t give each participant the best results.
If you have issues with your current plan manager, talk to them first. You may resolve many conflicts with a simple conversation.
Contact Your LAC for Help Changing Service Providers
If that doesn’t work or you feel uncomfortable doing that, tell your LAC that you want to switch.
It’s up to you to monitor your NDIS program to ensure you get the supports you need and make the most of your budget.
If you run into any problems with the plan management process, find support through the NDIA website.
HOW TO SWITCH PLAN MANAGERS
Switching plan managers is straightforward:
- Contact the NDIA. Let them know you want to change managers.
- Contact your new manager. Keep in mind that some managers may not add you to their roster during your existing plan. Work everything out with your new manager before moving on to the next step.
- Tell your current plan manager you’re changing services, giving them notice according to your Service Agreement
What Happens If I Switch?
The fund pays your new manager like it paid your previous one—through funding in your plan for Improved Life Choices.
Switching managers costs nothing. Your plan funds won’t be affected.
When you start with your new manager, your previous one will stop paying your invoices.
Then the responsibility switches to your new manager.
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?
Remember, when determining how to manage your NDIS plan, it must serve you.
Talk with your LAC or Support Coordinator to get your needs met.
The SALT Foundation is Here to Help
Susie Taylor spent nearly 29 years as the primary carer for her son with multiple disabilities until his death in June 2021. She has two other adult sons, one (28) who has learned to thrive with ADHD and another (24) who has overcome epilepsy and is leading a thrilling life with suspected high-functioning autism.