Running an NDIS Business
What are the different ways of managing NDIS funds?
In the NDIS, participants can decide how they would like their NDIS funding managed. This decision impacts the flexibility the participant has, the service providers they can choose from, and the prices these service providers can charge.
There are three options for how NDIS funds can be managed: plan managed, self-managed or NDIA (also called Agency) managed. Participants can choose one mode of management, or they could use a combination of the three.
For example, a participant may choose to have their core funding plan-managed, but have their capacity building funding self-managed to give them the flexibility to purchase services above the NDIS Price Limits.
It may be helpful to view the funds management options as being on a spectrum of flexibility:
NDIA (Agency) Managed
NDIS funds managed by the NDIA can only be spent on supports delivered by registered service providers. This means the service provider is registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. NDIA managed funded supports must adhere to the price limits and business rules of the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits. NDIS registered service providers claim the participant’s funding directly via the NDIS online portal.
When a participant chooses to plan manage their funds, they can engage both registered and unregistered service providers. However, similar to NDIA managed funds, supports must adhere to the price limits and business rules of the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits.
Plan Managers are a financial intermediary who pay service providers on behalf of the participant, by claiming from the relevant funding categories in the Participant’s plan. The chosen Plan Manager will monitor plan budgets over the course of the plan, pay providers, maintain records and produce statements showing the financial position of the plan. Plan Managers can also provide capacity building support to assist participants to make decisions about what can and cannot be purchased with NDIS funds (by using the checklist on page 11 of NDIS Booklet 3).
This service is not an out-of-pocket cost to the participant. Plan Management services are funded by a specific support category in the participant’s NDIS plan (Capacity Building – Improved Life Choices). The NDIA might not accept a Plan Management request if it poses an unreasonable risk to the person with a disability.
Self-Management of NDIS funds provides for maximum independence and flexibility, but it means the participant is responsible for managing invoice payments, administration and record-keeping, and budgeting.
Self-Managed participants can choose to engage registered and unregistered service providers, and can also fund services above price limits set out in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits.
If a participant requires some capacity building support before they feel confident to self-manage their NDIS funds, they can request specific NDIS funds to facilitate training.
Self-Managed participants (or their payment nominee) make direct claims to the NDIA, via the participant portal. Within 24 hours, the funding is paid into a nominated bank account, so that they make the payment to the service provider.
The NDIA has developed the Guide to Self-Management booklet, which provides additional detail including the following overview of the difference between the plan management options on page 3.
How do you nominate a mode of funds management?
It is most common to discuss funds management during the ‘planning conversation’ at an NDIS planning meeting or review meeting.
If a participant raises the desire to self-manage during a planning conversation, the NDIA Planner or Local Area Coordinator will ask additional questions that assess the participant’s capacity to manage finances, and ask questions relating to past challenges with financial management (including whether the participant has a history of bankruptcy). A risk-assessment will also be applied if a person wants to use a plan manager.
If a participant would like to change the way their NDIS funds are managed between planning meetings, they could raise this request by submitting a ‘Change of Situation or Change of Details Form’.
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