What is NDIS Plan Management?

April 24, 2021    |    By Madeeha Usman    |    11 min read
What is NDIS Plan Management_

The funding in an individual's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan is governed by NDIS plan management. There are numerous types of plan management; therefore, selecting the appropriate one is critical. Utilising your NDIS plan to acquire a service or equipment constitutes a financial transaction. Each transaction involving funds from your plan must adhere to the regulations set forth by the NDIS and be duly recorded and accounted for. Your decision regarding who is accountable for monitoring your budgets and remunerating your service providers constitutes plan management.

What does NDIS plan management do?

NDIS Plan management is a type of disability service funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The overarching function of plan management is to assist and support NDIS participants in managing their NDIS plan funding. Plan management can support participants by:

  • Managing and monitoring a participant’s budget.
  • Managing a participant’s NDIS claims and disbursing funds to providers for services delivered.
  • Providing regular statements to a participant to show the financial status of their plan, including prompt notification of over or under-utilisation.
  • Offering increased choice and control to a participant over plan implementation and utilisation through additional financial assistance.
  • Participants can also receive advice from plan management providers about utilising their NDIS plan funding best, which can assist in building a participant’s financial capacity and knowledge.

Management of funding in a participant’s plan

Funding in a participant’s NDIS plan can be managed in many ways. Some of them are discussed below.

Management-of-funding-in-a-participants-plan

1. Agency managed

This is when a participant uses the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to manage their NDIS funds. The NDIA will directly pay registered providers of relevant services on behalf of a participant. When you schedule any equipment or services with a provider, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) pays for it. Service providers can directly invoice the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Alternatively, your plan includes funds for support coordination. In that case, you may receive assistance from a support coordinator hired by the NDIA or a local area coordinator employed by a third party.

The primary advantage is that you will not be required to monitor your spending or manage the cash associated with your plan. Instead, you will be able to concentrate on organising and getting services. The most significant drawback of this choice is that it offers less flexibility. You are only allowed to make reservations for services from providers registered with the NDIS, and you will be required to obtain approval from the NDIA for any purchases. This includes those that are minor and fall in your consumables budget.

2. Self-managed

This is when a participant (or their plan nominee) manages their NDIS plan funds. The NDIS will reimburse a participant or their plan nominee directly for the NDIS support received. When you self-manage, you are directly accountable for the financing in your plan, and you will be responsible for managing receipts, invoices, and service bookings on your own.  

One of the benefits of taking this strategy is that specific components of your plan are accessible to you in a direct manner. As an illustration, you can make purchases in your consumables budget and then submit a claim to the NDIA to reimburse those purchases. Even though they are not registered with the NDIS, service providers can be booked by you. The drawbacks are the management of expenditures, the maintenance of records, and the verification that the financing in your plan is utilised appropriately. Also, you may be required to negotiate service agreements with your partners.

3. Plan managed

This is when a participant chooses to use a plan management provider who will assist in managing their NDIS plan funds. Plan managers can purchase support on behalf of participants from either registered or unregistered providers. A plan manager will receive funds from the NDIA and disburse funds on behalf of a participant to providers of other services accepted. You will meet with a plan manager instead of meeting with your support coordinator or local area coordinator to discuss services. This contrasts with an agency-managed plan, which will meet with you to discuss benefits.

In addition to lowering the amount of administrative work you must do, the plan-managed option offers many of the benefits associated with the self-managed option. Nevertheless, you are still partially responsible for appropriately spending the funds. In exchange for their services, you will be required to pay a fee to your plan manager; nevertheless, you can obtain financing from your plan for plan management.

Principles of Plan Management

The following principles guide expectations about providing plan management support to participants. These principles have been developed through consultation with participants and outline expected behaviours in delivering plan management services.

Management-of-funding-in-a-participants-plan

1. Achieving goals and outcomes

Plan management providers should support participants with budget management and NDIS-funded support administration activities to achieve a participant’s goals and outcomes. Plan management providers should work collaboratively with participants to understand the funds available within their plan and provide advice about how to draw on this funding to achieve their goals and outcomes.

2. Ensuring Independence

Plan management providers must assist participants in managing the financial aspects of their plan without seeking to further the financial or other interests of themselves and their organisation or any third parties. This means plan management providers must have policies and processes in place to manage any real or perceived conflicts of interest actively. The NDIA encourages participants to engage with an independent plan manager who does not provide other NDIS-funded support to them. This will ensure that plan management services are impartial, enabling participants to make informed decisions about their support arrangements.

3. Demonstrating Accountability

Plan management providers must provide information and advice to participants about managing their NDIS funding to purchase support per a participant’s plan budget. Plan management providers must work with participants to define how they will manage their funds. This includes determining the invoice authorisation process and keeping accurate records of required evidence (such as invoices) and information needed to monitor and make a claim for funds from a participant’s plan. Plan management providers must provide a participant with regular (at least monthly) reports of plan expenditure and the balance of funds remaining in a participant’s plan. The plan management providers must also alert a participant of any risks associated with plan spending on services that will exceed a participant’s NDIS plan limit or paying for support and services not funded by the NDIS in a participant’s plan. A plan management provider must have robust security processes to store and maintain participant information. The physical and electronic ways of storing NDIS participant information must protect against unauthorised access. These records should be consistent with the Australian Taxation Office requirements.

4. Consumer Awareness

Plan management providers are expected to uphold participants' rights as consumers and, in line with their plan, enable participants to exercise greater choice and control over the support and services they engage in. These rights apply to disability items or services bought with NDIS funding, in the same way they apply to other goods and services. With the support of a plan management provider, a participant should be encouraged to make informed choices within the market.

The benefits of hiring a plan manager

Having a plan manager has so many benefits for NDIS participants. Some of them are below.

  • You can utilise both registered and unregistered NDIS providers, giving you more alternatives, especially in places with few providers (Learn more about the difference between registered and unregistered providers).
  • You will not be required to complete any administrative work because your Plan Manager will pay your bills, record receipts, and track your expenditures.
  • You have received assistance in understanding your NDIS funding - Your Plan Manager will assist you in comprehending the many components of your NDIS plan.
  • Tracks your budget to ensure you have enough money - this is critical! Your Plan Manager will track how quickly or slowly you spend your funds and keep you updated.
  • Increases your control over how you spend your cash - your Plan Manager will advise you on the services for which you can use your funding.
  • Removes the burden of paying bills on time - your Plan Manager handles all your expenses, allowing you to spend more time doing things you enjoy.
  • It increases your confidence and skills in budget management because you have the knowledge you need and someone to help you along the way.
  • Registered NDIS providers, giving you more alternatives, especially in places where there aren't many providers (Learn more about the difference between registered and unregistered providers).
  • You will not be required to complete any administrative work because your Plan Manager will pay your bills, record receipts, and track your expenditures.
  • You have received assistance in understanding your NDIS funding - Your Plan Manager will assist you in comprehending the many components of your NDIS plan.
  • Tracks your budget to ensure you don't run out of money - this is critical! Your Plan Manager will keep track of how quickly or slowly you spend your funds and will keep you updated.
  • Increases your control over how you spend your cash - your Plan Manager will advise you on the kind of services you can use your funding for.
  • Removes the burden of paying bills on time - your Plan Manager handles all of your expenses, allowing you to spend more time doing things you enjoy.
  • Increases your confidence and skills in budget management because you have the knowledge you need and someone to help you along the way.

Conclusion

When managing your NDIS plan, the above information will help you make a good decision. The plan-management option is the one that receives the most attention among the three management choices. It is common knowledge that plan management allows participants to select registered or unregistered NDIS providers. Care Assure is a registered disability service provider in South Australia, and you can get in touch with us if a plan manages your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding. We work effectively to improve the lives of persons who have impairments. You can use our services to achieve greater independence and a higher level of control over your support. We will assist you in gaining access to the financing made available by the NDIS, and we will also ensure that the participants successfully achieve their NDIS goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does NDIS Plan Management work?

NDIS Plan Management involves a third party, such as a dedicated plan manager, taking over the financial management of the participant's NDIS plan. The plan manager works closely with the participant, their service providers, and NDIA to ensure the smooth and efficient utilisation of their allocated funds.

What are the benefits of NDIS Plan Management?

Implementing NDIS Plan Management offers several advantages:

  • Efficiency: Plan managers have expertise in navigating the NDIS system, allowing them to streamline the claims process and ensure that supports are delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • Confidentiality: Plan managers are bound by confidentiality laws, protecting the participant's personal information and ensuring that their NDIS funds are managed securely.
  • Coordination: Plan managers coordinate with various service providers, negotiate rates, arrange services, and ensure all invoices are accurately processed and paid.
  • Accountability: Plan managers provide regular financial reports to the participant and the NDIA. This helps participants stay informed about their spending and ensures their funds are appropriately allocated.
  • Independence: Plan management empowers participants to take more control over their NDIS funding, enabling them to make informed decisions about their support and pursue their goals.

Who can receive NDIS Plan Management?

NDIS Plan Management is available to all NDIS participants, regardless of their disability or the level of funding they receive. However, it is important to note that NDIS Plan Management is an optional service, and participants can choose to manage their own funds or choose another funding option.

Can I change my plan manager?

Yes, NDIS participants have the freedom to change their plans, including their plan manager. However, it is advisable to consult with your current plan manager and the NDIA before making any changes to ensure a smooth transition.

Are there any costs involved in NDIS Plan Management?

The cost of NDIS Plan Management varies among service providers. It is important to discuss fees, payment options, and any associated costs with your potential plan manager to ensure transparency.

Is NDIS Plan Management compulsory?

No, NDIS Plan Management is an optional service, and

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