The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is funding paid to individuals with a disability in order for them to have access to the support they need to live as independent and fulfilled a life as possible.
To obtain NDIS funding, an individual submits a plan containing details of their disability and the assistance they need: this may range from a carer to assist with activities of daily living right through to housing adaptations.
Once the funding is awarded, participants can spend the money as they think fit, in line with various criteria, in order to achieve the plan’s goals.
Although some people choose to manage their NDIS plan themselves, there are other alternatives which may result in better outcomes: here we take a look at the pros and cons of self-management, and outline what to expect should you decide to opt for a plan manager, or agency management option.
Managing your own plan ensures you have total control over who you contract with and what they provide. Whilst this can work well for some people, for others it can feel like their lives are dominated by completing paperwork, organising tendering processes to find a preferred provider, chasing equipment and similar administrative tasks.
Self management demands a good grasp of budgeting, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of the various products, providers and choices available on the market. Particularly for more complex plans, self-management can leave some people feeling overwhelmed and not confident that they are getting the most from their funding.
In this scenario, an agency manages the budget on your behalf. This frees up participants from the day-to-day responsibility of accounting for how their money is spent.
On the downside, it also means they don’t have the flexibility to find appropriate providers for their requirements.
Because agencies only contract with NDIS registered providers, using an agency can limit the range of service providers that can be accessed. Participants lose some of the autonomy over how their NDIS is spent, in comparison with self-managed plans. There is also some loss of flexibility in how the budget can be spent.
Using a plan manager
In many ways, plan managers provide the best of both worlds. Plan managers work with participants to ensure they get optimal value for money, without needing to do the job themselves.
A plan manager enables participants to opt for non-NDIS providers, as well as assisting them with any questions should they get stuck. Funding for plan managers is included in an NDIS funding plan, so there’s no need for any out of pocket costs to use one. Plan managers take care of all the paperwork and bills: aside from periodic meetings to ensure you’re aware of how your budget is being spent and are happy with how things are going, you need have nothing further to do with the day-to-day administration of your NDIS.
A good plan manager will also provide you with monthly statements along with tools, such as an app or a web portal to assist you in managing your plan. They can also engage with key people, such as your local area coordinator, Planner or Support Coordinator.
For many people, ensuring that all parts of their NDIS plan are facilitated appropriately can be a time-consuming and onerous task if they choose to do the job themselves.
Whilst agency management has some advantages, it lacks the flexibility which the services of a dedicated plan manager can provide.
To see why a growing number of NDIS participants are turning to skilled, experienced plan managers to help them get the most for their money, contact BudgetNet today on 1300 402 568.