Managing the Money
for your NDIS Plan!

Original article can be found at The Growing Space

There are several ways you can deal with the money side of things with the NDIS, and if the way you have chosen isn’t working for you, or you need more support, you can switch at any time – not just at review time – just let your NDIS office know!

At the end of your planning meeting, your NDIS Planner should ask you “How do you want to manage your Plan?”

Here are your choices and the pros and cons as identified by the Growing Space.

1: AGENCY MANAGED

When a participant chooses their Plan to be “Agency Managed” this means your funds are paid directly by the NDIS (the “Agency”) to your registered service providers after services are provided.

With Agency management, you can ONLY choose NDIS Registered Providers (see explanation of terms at the bottom) to give you supports and service with your NDIS funds. Those registered providers have a direct portal link to the NDIS online and electronically send their bills directly to the NDIS after they have provided you a service. Then the NDIS pays them directly.

You (participant or nominee) can check in on the MyPlace NDIS web portal at any time to see how you’re tracking with your funds, what has been claimed, and what is left.

This option offers the least choice and control but is a good option for people who aren’t looking for much flexibility, and want the security of all registered providers.

I am Agency Managed, how can I make a purchase on the Bcause Store?

Currently Bcause does not support Agency Managed payments directly through the Store. Agency Managed NDIS participants can only make purchases through NDIS registered providers.

For more information about using the Bcause store as Agency Managed, visit our FAQ’s here.

Pros

  • no bookkeeping
  • no upfront costs
  • no separate bank account
  • never audite

Cons

  • can only choose registered disability providers
  • less control and creativity over how to spend your funds
  • no spontaneity (for example, most registered support worker agencies will have minimum shift lengths that may not suit your needs)

2: SELF MANAGED

This means the money effectively (but not actually) goes to you, the participant, to spend to meet you or your child’s goals. You can use any providers or mainstream supports and services – they do not have to be disability specific, nor registered providers.
An example might be that you want to learn to surf, but need two instructors to assist. With self Managed funds, you could pay the fee for the extra instructor from your self-Managed funds – as surf schools are not likely to be Agency registered providers you could not do this if your plan was Agency Managed.

When your plan is self-Managed, it’s important to know that no provider is obligated to stick to the NDIS fee schedule – they can set their own fees and charges (this might be good if you want to pay a valued support worker more than the scheduled fee, or bad if the provider is the only one in town and charges ridiculously high fees).

You’ll need to open a separate bank account just for your NDIS funds (for nominees of children, a student account in your child’s name or an offset account of your own are both fine, and if you have more than one participant in your family, each of them will need their own account). You can then go out and purchase services and supports yourself.

You can either pay up front for services as you use them or put in claims after you are invoiced, and then pay (very easy on the portal) – your reimbursement will be deposited into your account, usually within a few days. You will need to keep decent records and all of your receipts for auditing purposes.

I am Self-Managed, how can I make a purchase on the Bcause Store?

Once you have selected your products, proceed through the checkout process. You will receive an Order Summary and invoice once you have made the purchase. You can then use this invoice to submit your claim through the NDIS (My Gov Portal).

For more information about using the Bcause store as Self-Managed, visit our FAQ’s here.

Pros

  • complete control of funds
  • choose any provider or company to help meet your goals (which means you can be more spontaneous)
  • you can pay higher rates for valued staff and/or be able to negotiate lower prices for stuff and maybe stretch your funds further

Cons

  • you will probably have to pay for stuff upfront at times and wait for reimbursement
  • you’ll need to keep good records
  • you could be audited

3: PLAN MANAGED

This offers pretty much the same advantages as self Managed, without the disadvantages, and the NDIS adds extra funds in your Plan specifically to cover the cost of someone else to do the paperwork and pay providers for you – it’s a bit like having your own NDIS funded accountant.

Your NDIS funds are reimbursed directly to a registered Plan Manager of your choice when they claim, who then pays the bills that you send them, or your providers can send the bills directly to the Plan Manager. You can use registered or unregistered providers to provide supports and services through a Plan Manager, but all Plan Managers are registered (you can’t use your own regular bookkeeper or accountant).

The money to fund a Plan Manager is an added extra in the Plan, and does not eat into your therapy or any other Plan funds. Make sure, if you choose a Plan Manager, that they have a system that lets you login and see all your claims anytime.

I am Plan Managed, how can I make a purchase on the Bcause Store?

You can do this using ‘Bcause Pay by Plan Manager’. When proceeding through the checkout process, select ‘Pay by Plan Manager’. Once you have finalised the order an invoice will be sent to your nominated Plan Manager. They will review the invoice and, if approved, will arrange payment.

For more information about using ‘Pay by Plan Manager’, visit our FAQ’s here.

Pros

  • choose any provider or company to help meet your goals (which means you can be more spontaneous and flexible)
  • you might be able to negotiate lower prices and maybe stretch your funds further
  • never audited
  • never have to worry about record keeping

Cons

  • your Plan Manager might not pay your providers as quickly as they’d like (but they might – depends on the Plan Manager you choose)

4: A MIX

Plans can be part Self Managed and part Agency Managed, so, for example, you might want your capacity building therapy funds Agency Managed, but Self Manage your consumables continence supplies funds so you can buy nappies on sale and stretch your funds further.

How do you find a Plan Manager?

The NDIS website has a provider search function, which will list registered Plan Managers – I suggest you call a few and interview them BEFORE your planning meeting so you can tell your NDIS planner who you’ve chosen. When you interview these Plan Managers, ask them how long they take to pay bills, how flexible are they, and whether they have their own online system you can check into anytime to track your claims.

GLOSSARY

The terms I’ve used in this info sheet are all *very* specific, so have a quick read below to know *exactly* what I’m talking about.
Agency or Scheme– the “National Disability Insurance Agency” NDIA are the government group who are responsible for running and implementing the “National Disability Insurance Scheme” NDIS which is the program that assesses and provides funds for people with NDIS plans.
Disability service providers – are companies, people, not-for-profits and businesses that offer services specifically to assist people with disability – they could provide therapy, support workers, equipment, behaviour support, accommodation and/or other stuff. People often call them “Providers” for short.
Registered Providers – are disability service providers who have jumped through lots of registration hoops and satisfied the NDIA that they meet some basic safeguards and standards. You can generally be assured that registered providers are not recent bankrupts, have appropriate insurances, policies, training and, for example, support workers employed by registered service providers will all have national and state police clearances.
MyPlace – is the online “portal” where participants (people with disability who have NDIS plans for support) or their nominees (usually family carers) can login and see their NDIS plan, how much they have spent, and how much is left.

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