National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is something Australia can be very proud of. The Australian people wanted to ensure that people with disability receive the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live fulfilling lives with dignity and respect. We voted for it!
Even though the scheme has been in operation for some time now, many people who may be eligible to participate don’t know a lot about it.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) website is the best place to find out about the scheme and whether you, or a family member, may be entitled to become a participant.
Here https://ndis.gov.au/participants.html is a link to a 5 minute introductory video on the NDIS and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOxwsa0Oqkw you can see how other participants are experiencing the NDIS.
Managing Your NDIS Funding
Once you know you are eligible to become an NDIS participant you will have a chat with an NDIA planner, also known as a Local Area Coordinator (LAC). The LAC will ask you how you would like your plan to be managed. They mean how do you want the funding or money to be managed? It is a good idea for you to think about this before the planning conversation. Then you will be ready to say what you think or feel about how your funding would best be managed.To be plan managed, you must ask for ‘Improved Life Choices’ to be included in your plan so ask for it at this meeting. The plan management fees will be added to the funding package.
There are 4 ways to manage funding for supports:
- Registered Plan Management Provider
- National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) managed
- A combination of the above
If you, or your personal representative, think you would like to manage tasks like paying your service providers every month then you could choose to do so. Remember the NDIS is designed to give participants choice and control. Your plan, your choice, your life!
But, if you think or feel that this is something that would cause you to worry or stress, and that the responsibility of paying the accounts, filing the paperwork and providing audit documentation sometime down the track would be too much of a burden, or to take up too much of your precious time when you have other things to do, then you could choose one of the other options.
So be ready for the question when they ask you because the choice you make will not only impact the level of responsbility you have, it also impacts on the choices you can make over who can provide you with your services and supports (for example NDIA managed plans can only use Registered Providers) and on the commitment of time and energy you, or your family or representative, must make to managing the funding.
Here is a brief summary of the 4 different choices:
You can choose to work with both registered and unregistered service providers. You are responsible for paying the service providers accounts each month and for keeping transaction records. You will also need to report expenditure and balances to the NDIA and provide evidence in the event of an audit. These tasks might give you a great sense of accomplishment and empowerment. You must be capable of taking on this responsibility for the Self-Managed option to be approved. The LAC will assess whether or not you are capable of being self managed. They will also assess whether there is an unacceptable risk that the funds may be used inappropriately or that you may be at risk by someone else. If this is the case, the planner will dis-allow the request to self-manage and will appoint a plan manager to manage your funding instead.
Registered Plan Management Provider
Like the self-managed option, participants who use a plan manager can choose providers who are either registered or un-registered. Knowing that registered providers have been authorised by the NDIA offers a degree of comfort when you are engaging strangers or new service providers and can be a good thing. You may decide to engage only registered providers in the Self-Managed and Plan Management options if you want that peace of mind. Or if you do want to engage a mainstream service or a person who is not a registered service provider for some of your supports, like using a personal trainer under your Improved Health and Wellbeing supports, or a cleaner or gardener under your Assistance with Daily Life supports and they are not registered, you can do so under the plan management option.
So this option allows you the same choice and control and gives you more flexibility over who you engage to work with you as the self managed option. The difference is that you don’t have the responsibility, stress and worry of paying providers and keeping records because the plan manager does this for you. Providers send their invoices to the plan managers and, after confirming that the support has been given and the information on the invoice is accurate, we process the payment through the NDIS portal on behalf of the participant. Monthly reports are prepared and available to you so that you know where you are with your budget, both what has been spent and what amounts still remain. We can also liaise with providers for you to help to ensure that you are working towards your goals and that funds are being properly allocated.
Participants who choose the Agency option can only use registered providers for your supports. So, if you do want to use unregistered service providers, someone you know and trust, or if you want to employ your own staff this option will not work for you. Using this option, like the plan managed option, means you don't need to worry about paying the account and keeping the records.
Again, choice and control are the feature here. You might like to organise some of your regular supports directly with the NDIA, or with your some providers but delegate the burdensome responsibility of paying other bills and managing the paperwork for other service providers to a plan manager.
So, have you decided to include Plan Management in your NDIS Plan?
If ‘Yes’ is the Savvy Way for you, then let’s get started!
If you are meeting with your NDIA planner, LAC or other Plan Coordinator tell them that you want to include Improved Life Choices in your plan and that you have chosen Savvy Plan Management as your Plan Manager.
If you want to change from either the Self-Managed or Agency options it is likely that your current plan does not have Improved Life Choices included. You can request a review of your NDIS plan to have plan management included and say that you have chosen Savvy Plan Management as your Plan Manager.
You can also go to our contacts page and send an introductory email so we know to expect you, or you can ask us to contact you if you have any questions.