If you’re part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), your decision on how to manage your individualised funding can influence the control and choice you have in relation to your carers.
It’s important you understand your options, so you can make your plan work best for you.
There are three ways to manage the individualised funding in your plan:
- Plan Management (also known as Financial Intermediary Services)
- NDIA Management (also known as Agency Managed)
Let’s explore the benefits of each option:
NDIS Individualised Funding: Self-Management
Self-Management, as the name implies, gives you the responsibility of managing your support workers and carers.
A self-manager has the opportunity to devise strategies that suit them best to achieve their goals and aspirations. Self-Managers take on the responsibility of lodging payment requests to the NDIA via the Participant Portal and paying service providers invoices, or if employing carers directly, paying their wages each week.
Some of the benefits of self-managing include:
- Self-managers have the luxury of employing registered and non-registered support providers. This allows you more flexibility to engage a support worker who you feel most comfortable with, by employing them directly or as an independent contractor. This freedom means you can find the perfect support worker for you, while having full autonomy over your NDIS individualised funding.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has prepared useful resources for self-managers. These will help you get the hang of what you must do if you’re self-managing for your own needs or those of a loved one:
- How to directly engage your own supports https://www.ndis.gov.au/html/sites/default/files/Directly-engaging-my-own-staff.pdf
- NDIS Guide to Self-Management https://www.ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/self-man-18/310718-Self-Management-Book.pdf
- NDIS Self-Management Webinar and Transcript 2 August 2018 https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/self-mgmt-webinar-transcript.html
- Learning the Skills to Self Manage http://mind-the-gap.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/NDIS-Self-Management-Capacity-Building.pdf
Plan Management (also known as Financial Intermediary Services)
With Plan Management, an intermediary (middle man/woman) such as a care provider works on your behalf to manage your plan. Your Plan Manager will deal with all the invoices and you will never interact with the NDIS Portal.
Some Plan Managers also work with participants to improve the participant’s skills, such as developing service agreements and working towards self-management. Using a Plan Manager also allows you to hire independent contractors who are not registered with the NDIS. This gives you some added flexibility.
A Plan Manager is a good choice for someone who wants some flexibility but does not want to be entirely hands-on. However. if you wish to spend lots of time with your Plan Manager, work your plan more flexibly and be heavily involved, you may find you don’t have sufficient funds. Plan Managers say their budgets do not allow the time needed for individuals who wish to be very hands-on, meaning Self-Managed may be a better choice for them.
Having a plan manager allows for independent contractors but not for full autonomy. The benefits of having a Plan Manager for your NDIS individualised funding include the following:
- A Plan Manager allows for some flexibility while managing the more difficult aspects of your individualised funding for you.
- A Plan Manager can help you work towards self-management.
NDIA Management (also known as Agency Managed)
As you might have guessed, ‘NDIA Managed’ means that your entire scheme is run in-house through the NDIA. This is possibly the simplest way to manage your funds but it does become very limiting.
The NDIA will handle all your bookkeeping and invoices, with providers able to claim payment electronically. While the NDIA will handle basically everything for you, you will have very little flexibility. You may only use NDIS registered providers and will have little control over your budget.
NDIA management is a completely hands-off alternative. Almost everything will be managed for you but you will be restricted to NDIS registered providers and will have no autonomy over your individualised funding.
For the individual who is happy to get what they get and feels no need to ensure the scheme is personally tailored, NDIA Management is a great option. For those who want to make the most of the scheme and achieve their best lifestyle, Self-Management may be a better choice.
The flexibility of the NDIS means the decision is up to you and you are not locked into one way of managing your individualised funding for the long term. If you feel the need, you can try different options to discover what you prefer.
Real Support Choices: Self-managed NDIS made easy
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- Update timesheets
- Report on your expenditure
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- Manage all employee obligations
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