What is NDIS Plan Management?
NDIS Plan management is a type of disability service funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The overarching function of plan management is to assist and support NDIS participants to manage their NDIS plan funding. Plan management can support participants by:
- Managing and monitoring a participant’s budget.
- Managing a participant’s NDIS claims and disbursing funds to providers for services delivered.
- Providing regular statements to a participant to show the financial status of their plan including prompt notification of over or under utilization.
- Offering increased choice and control to a participant over plan implementation and utilisation through additional plan financial assistance.
Participants can also receive advice from plan management providers about how to best utilise their NDIS plan funding which can assist in building a participant’s financial capacity and knowledge.
Management of funding in a participant’s plan
Funding in a participant’s NDIS plan can be managed in a number of ways: 1. Agency managed: This is when a participant chooses to use the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to manage their NDIS funds. The NDIA will directly pay registered providers of relevant services on behalf of a participant.
- Self-managed: This is when a participant (or their plan nominee) manages their NDIS plan funds. The NDIS will reimburse a participant or their plan nominee directly for the NDIS supports received.
- Plan managed: This is when a participant chooses to use a plan management provider who will assist a participant in managing their NDIS plan funds. Plan management providers can purchase supports on behalf of participants from either registered or unregistered providers. A plan manager will receive funds from the NDIA and disburse funds on behalf of a participant to providers of other services received.
Principles of Plan Management
The following principles guide expectations about the provision of plan management supports to participants. These principles have been developed through consultation with participants and outline expected behaviours in the delivery of plan management services.
1. Achieving Goals and Outcomes
Plan management providers should support participants with budget management and NDIS funded supports administration activities to achieve a participant’s goals and outcomes. Plan management providers should work collaboratively with a participant to understand the funds available within their plan and provide advice about how to draw on this funding to achieve their goals and outcomes.
2. Ensuring Independence
Plan management providers must assist participants to manage the financial aspects of their plan without seeking to further the financial, or other interests, of themselves and their organisation, or any third parties. This means plan management providers are required to have policies and processes in place to actively manage any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
The NDIA encourages participants to engage with an independent plan manager who does not provide other NDIS funded supports to them. This will ensure that plan management services are impartial, enabling a participant to make informed decisions about their support arrangements.
3. Demonstrating Accountability
Plan management providers must provide information and advice to participants about the management of their NDIS funding to purchase supports in accordance with a participant’s plan budget.
Plan management providers must work with a participant to define how they will manage their funds. This includes defining the invoice authorisation process and keeping full, accurate records of required evidence (such as invoices) and information needed to monitor and make a claim for funds from a participant’s plan.
Plan management providers must provide a participant with regular (at least monthly) reports of plan expenditure and the balance of funds remaining in a participant’s plan. The plan management providers must also alert a participant of any risks associated with plan spending on services that will exceed a participant’s NDIS plan limit, or paying for supports and services not funded by the NDIS in a participant’s plan.
A plan management provider must have robust security processes in place to store and maintain participant information. Both the physical and electronic means of storing NDIS participant information must protect against unauthorised access. These records should be consistent with the Australian Taxation Office requirements.
4. Consumer Awareness
Plan management providers are expected to uphold participant rights as consumers, and in line with their plan, enable a participant to exercise greater choice and control over the supports and services they engage.
These rights apply to disability items or services bought with NDIS funding, in the same way, they apply to other goods and services. With the support of a plan management provider, a participant should be encouraged to make informed choices within the market.