So, you’ve worked out what disability supports you need, and would like, to access. How will you go about administering your NDIS Plan?
Plan Management involves coordinating all your NDIS funded supports from selected providers; managing all plan expenditure against budget, coordinating supplier payments and expense reimbursement, and ensuring all government reporting requirements are met.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) provides 3 options for participants in managing their NDIS plan:
- Independent Plan Management Provider
- NDIA Managed (known as Agency Managed)
For many participants, your chosen option* will be dependent on a few considerations:
- How much choice and control you would like over the administration of your Plan?
- Whether you have the time, capacity, confidence and desire to manage your own Plan?
- How comfortable you are in appointing an independent Plan Manager that will keep your best interests at heart?
Importantly, YOU have the choice in how you wish your plan to be managed. You may even opt for a combination of all 3 options.
The Pros and Cons
This option will provide the greatest choice and flexibility in managing your plan, however, will require the greatest time input and effort from your end!
Self-management of your plan will allow you to choose which support providers you would like to use, including those not registered with the NDIS. Plan management can be participant self-managed, or managed by a participant’s nominee. If appointing a nominee to manage your plan (generally an existing informal carer), the NDIA will need to approve this.
If opting for self-management, the NDIA will pay you directly. You will need to ensure that your budget is effectively managed over the life of your Plan, that all supplier payments and reimbursements are managed in a timely way, and that all paperwork requirements are met in contributing information to the NDIS participant portal ‘Myplace’ and reporting outcomes against your approved Plan.
The NDIA publishes a useful Guideline for participants looking to self-manage their NDIS Plan.
Independent Plan Management Provider
An independent plan management provider will act on your behalf in administering your Plan, managing your Plan budget and undertaking all financial management, including payment coordination of your supports; negotiating your services directly with providers and managing all paperwork on your behalf.
This can alleviate much of the headache on your end!
The NDIA will pay your plan manager directly but you will still have an active responsibility in the administration of your Plan – in choosing your services and supports, which can include services from providers not registered with the NDIS.
Your Independent Plan Management Provider can be, but does not necessarily need to be, a current support provider to you. Appointing a Plan Provider that you already have a trusting relationship with, though, can assist in understanding your individual circumstances and support access needs.
You may wish to keep a separation, however. The important thing is to ensure that you are receiving adequate transparency around the management of your Plan.
Should you wish to appoint an independent plan management provider, these services should be included within your funding request.
Assured Home Care can provide you and/or your nominee with assistance as a plan management provider.
NDIA Managed (Agency Managed)
Regarded as a default option, under an agency managed relationship, you will have the least control over your Plan expenditure.
The NDIA will approve all payments to providers directly and handle all your paperwork. When opting for this option, you will only be able to choose registered NDIS providers to provide support to you and you may experience less price flexibility.
However, it may be a beneficial option for those who would prefer a greater degree of management over their Plan (i.e. having all aspects managed for you).
There are some definite pros and cons depending on which Plan Management option you choose.
Remember, it’s not set in stone either. You can choose to change your Plan Management approach at any point in time. What works for you now may not work for you in the future.
This approach goes to the heart of the philosophy of the NDIS; providing you with greater choice and control.
* Following confirmation of your approved plan, you will be contacted by an NDIA Support Coordinator to discuss how you wish to implement the plan and manage your supports.