A light-touch review might help you manage your NDIS plan more effectively

8 November, 2018

James has been living with an SCI for many years. He has an independent outlook, and he retired recently from running his own business.

Among the recreations he wants to pursue in retirement are cycling, scuba diving and travelling.

Not long ago, James received his first NDIS plan, under which he engaged support coordination from AQA.

A discussion of his aims raised the likelihood that he might realise them more easily if he could change the way in which his plan would be managed. By taking on more responsibility, he could gain flexibility.

There are three forms of management for an NDIS plan: Agency managed, Plan managed, and Self-managed. In his planning meeting with a Local Area Coordinator, James had agreed that his plan would be agency managed.

Agency managed is a simple and often great way to go, because under this form of management the NDIA pays your service providers directly.

But it does have a downside: every provider you use must be registered with the NDIA.

Plan managed gives you more freedom in choosing service providers. Under this form, an external agency acts as an intermediary between you, the NDIA and your providers, and releases the funds in your plan.  Your providers send bills to your plan manager, and your manager pays the bills with your funding.

If you choose this option you can use unregistered providers. But you are governed by the prices in the NDIS price guide, as maximums.

Self-managed, the third option, gives you the most control. You can use unregistered service providers, and you do not need to observe the price ceilings in the NDIS price guide.

But this form also gives you the most responsibility. Providers bill you directly, you pay the bills yourself, and then you claim the money back from the NDIS. You must keep records of all your expenses, and you can be audited by the NDIA.

These NDIA resources may help you understand the self-managed option:

                Self Managed booklet

                Self Managed webinar

When James discussed his way of life with AQA support coordinators, he saw that a self-managed plan would let him travel to places where registered suppliers were not available, engage support services there, and claim reimbursement from his NDIS funds.

Self-management would also let James keep his gardener of many years.

Given his business experience, James was not daunted by the need to keep records.

Having seen how self-management could work for him, James initially contacted the LAC whom he had met in his planning interview. But she was not able to change his plan to self-managed.

James’s support coordinators then phoned the NDIS and asked for a service known informally as a light touch review. The request was that parts of his plan be changed to self-managed. This was granted.

James can now exercise the control of his funding that he needs to pursue his goals most effectively.

Take home tips:

  • Understand the different forms of plan management before your planning meeting.
  • You may choose any management option, or a combination of the three.
  • If you would like to change your management option for some or all of your plan, you can call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and ask if this is possible.

If you would like assistance with the NDIS please contact AQA’s support coordination service on 9489 0777.

AQA is registered with the NDIS to provide a range of services including Support Coordination, Peer Support, and Personal Care Services. We also provide Pre-Planning and Troubleshooting as a free service to our community. You can contact us here.

Tags: Blog, NDIS, Travel & Leisure