The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way support is being provided to Australians living with disabilities, their families and carers.
The NDIS is a governmental organisation run by the NDIA and assists people living with disabilities to lead an ordinary life by funding services related to health, education, transport and community support.
Each NDIS participant is provided with an individual plan that lists the goals they want to achieve and the supports the NDIS can fund to help accomplish them. As part of the scheme, participants may qualify to self-manage their funding.
What is self-management?
Self-management allows people living with disabilities to have choice and control over the supports and services they purchase to help them achieve the goals outlined in their plan. Participants, family members, or trusted nominees will have control over funds including playing for supports and service providers.
Self-managers have complete control over how they spend their NDIS funding, including what supports to purchase in line with the NDIS plan, who will provide supports, and how the supports are delivered.
Participants have the flexibility to choose a provider that will best assist in meeting plan goals. Self-managers can negotiate the costs of supports and are responsible for managing the NDIS budget for the duration of the plan.
The benefits of self-management
Self-managed participants have the authority to use their allocated NDIS budget to purchase services that help in the self-management process.
Some of the benefits of being self-managed include:
Flexibility: Providers do not need to be registered with the NDIS. This gives self-managers the flexibility to hire whoever they want, allowing participants to hire a provider that has the experience and expertise that they feel is a suitable match for their needs.
Innovation: Self-managing funds allows participants to be more innovative in how they use funds to best meet their needs.
Control: Participants are in control of how they spend their funding. They have control over who they recruit as their support workers, which supports they need, and how much they would like to spend on them.
What responsibilities do self-managers have?
Self-managing an NDIS plan comes with responsibilities. The NDIS will want to hear feedback about how the supports in the their plan have assisted the participant in achieving their goals.
Self-managers will need to keep track of invoices, receipts, and bank statements for five years as evidence that NDIS funding has been spent appropriately.
Occasionally, the NDIS may ask participants to provide evidence that funds are being allocated and managed appropriately.
Purchasing services and support: Participants are responsible for ensuring that the supports and services purchased are reasonable and necessary and help them make progress in achieving NDIS plan goals.
Budgeting: Self-managed participants will have to manage their own budgets so they can purchase supports and services for the duration of their NDIS plan.
Managing: It is the responsibility of self-managers to select and arrange service providers and support. This includes requesting invoices and receipts for services, processing requests for payments online through the NDIS participant portal, and paying service providers.
Are there regulations?
Self-managers have certain regulations on how they manage their supports, including several legal obligations to comply with. These requirements are related to how participants spend the allocated funding and how they engage their supports and services.
These conditions include:
- Complying with all relevant legal requirements
- Managing funds responsibly
- Purchasing supports and services outlined in the NDIS plan
- Managing support workers
- Monitoring the safety and quality of supports
Who can I hire as my support?
Most people who self-manage choose to hire their own support workers. There are many options for hiring, including engaging someone as an employee, as an independent contractor, or as an employee of their own business.
It should be noted that family members cannot be hired as support workers. The NDIS believes that it is important to maintain close family relationships, therefore, it would be more beneficial to the self-manager to have a non-relative work for them.
How do I get approved for self-management?
To be considered for self-management, participants will have to undergo a short interview with their LAC or a member of the NDIA team.
During the interview, future participants will go through a self-management checklist with their LAC. They will then have an informal discussion about the goals, activities, and tasks that they want to achieve and their current funding needs.
LACs will be in charge of giving approval for self-management. If the NDIS representative feels the applicant is a suitable candidate, they will connect the participant with funded supports and show them how to use the NDIS MyPlace portal.
Once approved, participants are required to sign an Acceptance of Grant Funds Agreement.
How do I receive my NDIS funding?
To receive NDIS funding, participants will need to open a separate bank account reserved exclusively for self-managed funds.
The amount of funding received in an instalment will depend on how well participants have been able to self-manage in the past. However, a maximum amount of 12 weeks of funding can be deposited into the participant’s account in one instalment.
Self-managers are then responsible for using these funds to pay for their supports.
I’m not satisfied with my funding, can I have my plan reviewed?
NDIS participants have the flexibility to control their funding plan to ensure they can choose how to spend allocated funds to successfully achieve their outlined goals.
Throughout the self-management process, the participant’s LAC will offer support to ensure the participant is fully benefitting from their plan. If participants are not satisfied with the funding they received, they have the right to ask for assistance from their LAC to have an internal review by the NDIA.
An internal review can be made by written letter to the NDIA, sending an email, talking to someone at an NDIA office, or calling 1800 800 110.