If you want to use a plan manager you need to request it in your planning meeting
A plan manager is paid for by the NDIS
Plan managers give you control without the responsibility of self-managing
What is a plan manager?
If you don’t want to self-manage or have an agency manage your NDIS funds, a plan manager can help you on your NDIS journey. They receive invoices from your providers, pay invoices, claim funds from the NDIS portal and provide you with a monthly statement showing your funding spending.
Implementing your NDIS plan and finding providers that are right for you can be really stressful to do by yourself. Having a plan manager can make the implementation and navigation of your plan easier. Instead of contacting the NDIS to access your funding or dealing with providers directly about payment, a plan manager is your financial third party who can handle all monetary agreements on your behalf.
Essentially, the NDIS pays your plan manager with your NDIS funding through claims on the NDIS portal. However, the funding to pay your Plan Manager is separate from your other NDIS funding, so there’s no cost to you and it doesn’t take away money from your other supports. A plan manager doesn't have to manage all of your NDIS spending either. There may be areas you feel you can manage yourself, whereas there might be management of other supports that you can delegate to your plan manager.
How to request to use a plan manager?
If you would like to use a plan manager, you must request this at your planning meeting. Funds to pay for this service will be allocated under ‘Improved Life Choices’ on your plan - this is separate to other NDIS supports for your plan. If you don’t currently have Improved Life Choices you can ask for this to be included in your plan at an upcoming meeting, or request a review of your NDIS plan.
If you are mid-plan and want to change how you manage your plan, contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 to discuss how you can include plan management in your plan.
How to choose the right plan manager?
When selecting a plan manager, look at reviews of their business and meet face to face to gauge whether they are the right fit for you. While you pass over the financial burden of your NDIS plan to a plan manager, you are still required to make sure your funding is being spent appropriately.
At your NDIS planning meeting you can discuss how you want your funds managed and you can choose a plan management provider. Your support coordinator can help you select the best plan manager for you.
A plan manager should be impartial and should not push you towards a provider that you don’t require. A good plan manager always keeps your needs as a priority when providing their expertise.
Your first meeting with a plan manager
Once you have chosen a plan manager you need to meet with them to determine if they are the right fit. At your first meeting, it’s important to discuss your goals with your plan manager and to work on creating a service agreement.
A service agreement outlines:
the support services the plan manager will provide
how to pay your service providers
how much those services cost
how long they will be your plan manager
A service agreement will ensure you get the service you pay for. Your plan manager should make sure you understand the agreement and also help if you need to have your service agreement shared in a different format, such as a different language or in an Easy Read version.
Where to find a NDIS plan manager?
You can choose whichever plan management provider you like, so it’s important to look around and find one you are confident with.
For a list of registered plan managers near you, browse the Disability Support Guide provider finder.
Plan managers can help you make the most of your funding and also allow you to use the support of both registered and non-NDIS registered providers. They give you the freedom of choice and control without all the responsibility of self-managing your NDIS plan.
Depending on who you choose as a plan manager, they may provide other accompanying services or “skill building” options. These benefits include the set up of service agreements with providers, perspective on budgeting options, assistance on building your own financial literacy around the NDIS, and potentially developing your own skills at self-managing your NDIS fund.
What do you think of using a plan manager to help with your NDIS budget? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!