There are four options for how you can manage your NDIS Plan and its associated funding. It is up to you to decide which will be best for you and your needs.
Self-management means you or your nominee are responsible for paying the invoices related to the supports you receive through our NDIS Plan. Self-managing also allows you to make the contractual arrangements with the providers you want to provide your supports, or you can contract someone else to do this on your behalf.
The support providers you contract can be registered or unregistered service providers. Whether registered or unregistered, all service providers must meet all relevant industry requirements.
B. Registered plan management
A registered plan management provider is an individual or organisation that undertakes the management of funds for the supports in your plan. They will do things such as organising your providers and their payments; they’ll process expense claims and make claims from the NDIA. A registered plan manager will also help you develop the skills in these areas so your participation in the process can increase. Registered plan managers can organise registered and unregistered support providers to provide support services to you. If you have a preference for one or the other, let them know.
You can find registered plan managers via the NDIS website at: www.ndis.gov.au/document/finding-and-engaging-providers/find-registered-service-providers or alternatively, your Local Area Coordinator can assist you to find a plan manager.
C. The National Disability Insurance Agency
If you choose to have the NDIA manage your plan, they will make the contractual arrangements and pay your support providers for you. They will only use NDIS Registered Service Providers.
D. A combination of options A, B and/or C
This is when any of the above manages different sections of your NDIS Plan. If you decide on this option, whoever is managing a specific section of your NDIS Plan will manage all parts of that section. For example, if you are managing the social interaction section and two support services provide the support for this, then you will find your providers, negotiate costs, time and so on with them, and sign the service agreements with both of them.
If you decide to manage your own supports, there’s a decision-making tool in Chapter 7 to help you consider the level of involvement and responsibility you want to have in the selection and management of your support workers.
In choosing to self-manage, you will need to think carefully about the best way to manage your support workers to ensure you receive the highest quality support and live the lifestyle you choose.
As with all stages in the NDIS, you can discuss this with people you trust to support you make decisions.
If you need more information about what is involved in managing your own support workers, consider reading ‘A Guide to Engaging your Own Support Workers’, available at www.myplace.org.au.
The NDIS has a list of registered service providers on its website at www.ndis.gov.au/document/finding-and-engaging-providers/find-registered-service-providers
The lists are organised by organisation name and by support clusters. Support clusters are the types of supports provided by a registered service provider.
Your NDIS Plan will list the supports that aim to help you work towards your plan goals. Plan implementation is when you and anyone you want to assist you, will select and engage the type of support providers you have identified in your NDIS Plan. This means that you will have most of the control over what, when, where and by whom your support is provided.
For example, you may have identified that you need support with developing skills for getting to appointments and/or managing other important activities that require your involvement or input from you at specific times. You and anyone who is assisting you, and depending on a provider’s availability, will be able to choose from providers of this type of support.
Support providers’ fees will have to be within the funding allocated to you for specific services and the amounts charged will have to be within the NDIS Price Guide. The NDIS Price Guide will be included in your NDIS Plan handover pack. You will receive your handover pack from your Local Area Coordinator or through the mail.
Who qualifies as support providers eligible to provide services to you depends on the plan management option you chose. This is explained below. You can also download the NDIS ‘Understanding and self-directing my NDIS plan’ and the ‘Self-managing budgets in my NDIS plan’ booklets from http://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/understanding-your-plan-and-supports for more information.
If you are self-managing any part of your NDIS Plan you will need to create a ‘myGov’ account so that you can access the NDIS Participant Portal.
NDIS Participant Portal
The participant portal is a secure website where you, your nominee or other contact you have given consent to, can view your NDIS Plan, submit invoices and check that any claims submitted against your plan are consistent with your own records.
To create a myGov account, go to www.my.gov.au and select a button named ‘Create a myGov account’. Follow the instructions and answer the questions.
Once you have done this you will be given a username and password, then you can link this to your NDIS account and conduct your business with them. The ‘Understanding and self-directing my NDIS plan’ at http://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/understanding-your-plan-and-supports has additional information on how to do this.
If you have any problems setting this up contact the myGov helpdesk on 13 23 07 for assistance.
If you are self-managing or your nominee is managing your NDIS package, you can choose your own support providers. The support providers you contract or employ must meet, and be able to demonstrate they meet, any industry standards required.
For example, if you are receiving financial counselling to assist you in gaining financial management skills from an unlicensed financial counsellor, then they must be employed by a charitable organisation, not receive payment from you and be a member of or eligible for membership of a financial counselling association, and have appropriate training.
If your service provider is managing your package, the providers of services and support they engage can also be a registered or unregistered service provider.
Having a service provider manage your plan doesn’t mean you won’t have a choice about who will provide services and/or support to you. Generally, there is more than one registered service provider in an area and you will be able to choose from these.
If you and a service provider are sharing the management of your NDIS package, then as long as the service providers meet the relevant industry requirements they can be engaged to provide your support services.
If the NDIA manages your plan, then they are required to engage only registered service providers.
Using the previous example, this means that in addition to the financial counsellor meeting the industry standards, the charitable organisation that employs the financial counsellor would have to be an NDIS registered service provider, whereas if you are self-managing, this additional requirement doesn’t apply.
What’s the difference between a registered and unregistered service provider?
Both registered and unregistered service providers are required to adhere to any relevant industry standards and legislation.
In addition to this, to become an NDIS registered service providers (RSP), providers have agreed to ‘Terms of Business for Registered Providers’. These terms place additional conditions and responsibilities on the support provider that unregistered service providers are not required to meet.
Some of these additions are:
- Workingwiththeparticipanttodevelopawritten service agreement in the participant’s preferred form of communication. It must also state the expected outcomes and the quality and price of the supports to be provided.
- Only being able to charge participants for supports as per the NDIS Price Guide.
What can I do if I’m not happy with my support providers?
If you’re not happy with your support providers, you can change them if others are available. It’s often worth trying to resolve any issues you have with your support provider before changing them. You can ask your Local Area Coordinator or plan manager to help you with this. If you do need to make a complaint about a support provider, the ‘How do I make a complaint?’ section in Chapter 4 (section 4b) lets you know how to go about this.
So, before you sign any service agreements or other contracts, as with any legal contract, don’t sign it unless you understand all the terms, conditions and responsibilities in the contract. You can always seek advice from other people or organisations about the contractual conditions and you can ask for changes prior to signing it.
Can I change how my plan is managed?
If you find that the way your plan is being managed doesn’t suit you, then you can change how your plan is managed. Your Local Area Coordinator can help you make the arrangements to do this.