NDIS funds management: A good percentage of people that I speak to do not realise how their plans (or those of the person they care for) are managed. There are four different ways that a participant’s NDIS funds can be managed. Do you know the way that the NDIS funds for which you are responsible are managed?
The very last question that you are asked at an NDIS planning meeting is “How do you want the NDIS funds managed?” After an exhausting planning meeting, this is often the last thing on your mind. It is also something that most people have not considered. Lifelong Pathways asks people to consider the management of NDIS funds in the week before the planning meeting, but not everyone thinks about it prior to this.
At the end of the planning meeting the Planner explains the four options available for managing your allocated funds:
This is where the NDIA controls all of the funding, and you sign a form with each service provider after the service has been provided. Participants that have Agency Managed funds can only use NDIS service providers to deliver supports to the person with Disability. The service provider then claims for the costs of the service directly from the NDIS myplace participant portal. This option is convenient for a lot of people, but limits your choice and control.
This option has more flexibility than Agency Managed NDIS funds. The participant (or carer) must open a specific bank account for the sole purpose of Self-Managing NDIS funds. The NDIA then release a “float” in to the account, usually around one month’s worth of a 12 month plan to assist with the NDIS funds management. The participant then pays for each service provided from this float. They can claim these costs in one of two ways:
- Electronically directly from the NDIS myplace participant portal after each support has been provided, or
- Submit a claim form for several supports provided.
Either way, the amount spent is then reimbursed into the designated bank account so that services can continue.
An important thing to remember is that you need to keep records for five years in case you are audited by the NDIA. Therefore, you need to be organised and good at keeping records. You also need to be mindful of what is left in the account so that you have enough funds to pay for the next support. This option does give you increased flexibility, as you can choose a provider that is not registered with the NDIS – provided you pay them no more than the rates set by the NDIA.
This is another form of “Self-Managed” NDIS funds. This still gives you all the choice and control of being Self-Managed, but without the burden of the paperwork. Funds are allocated in the NDIS Support Plan to engage a person or company to be your “Plan Manager”. A service provider sends you the invoice and you then forward this to the Plan Manager. The Plan Manager pays for all of the supports on your behalf and ensures all your records are kept securely in the event that an audit is required. Lifelong Pathways is in the final stage of registering to be a Plan Manager and will be able to provide this service in the very near future.
Combination of Management Options
The fourth option is to have a combination of the above. This allows you to have certain aspects of your plan Agency Managed and others Self-Managed. For example, you might wish to have the ‘improved daily living skills’ Agency Managed but the ‘assistance with daily life at home in the community, education and at work’ Self-Managed. This gives you added flexibility in the services and providers you use.
Lifelong Pathways encourages you to spend some time considering which method you wish to use for NDIS funds management. Many of the people I have spoken to believe their funds were managed in one way, when in fact they were managed in another.
You have the choice of how you want the funds managed and you can change at any time if the option you have previously chosen is no longer suitable.
If you would like more information on Plan Management, or would like training in how to build your capacity as a Self-Manager, please contact Lifelong Pathways.