What is the difference between support coordination and plan management?

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When you get approved for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan, you may be wondering who can help in your journey and what they may be able to assist with.

Key points:

  • A support coordinator manages and organises the NDIS supports you need to live well
  • A plan manager only covers the financial side of your NDIS plan
  • What experts you decide to bring on to assist with your NDIS plan can be dependent on your personal situation and what capacity you have to undertake these tasks yourself

You will likely hear about plan managers and support coordinators who can help you with your NDIS plan.

And while they are both great experts to assist you on your NDIS journey, they provide very different services.

Below, we outline the differences between support coordination and plan management.

Support coordination

Once you have been given an NDIS plan, you can make the decision to have funding in your plan allocated for a support coordinator.

A support coordinator can help implement the supports you need to live well, as well as ensure you reach all the goals and objectives in your NDIS plan.

You can expect your support coordinator to go through your plan with you, make sure you understand the supports you are receiving in your plan, and find and action those support services that would meet your needs and requirements.

There are a couple of different types of support coordination you can access, including:

  • Support connection – which supports you to strengthen your own support coordination abilities
  • Support coordination – which helps build your skills to use your plan to the fullest
  • Specialist support coordination – which is used for more complex needs and supports

While a support coordinator can help you with making the most of the funding within your NDIS plan, they do not manage or deal with the financial aspects of your plan, which would fall under the role of a plan manager.

You can learn more about support coordination in our article, ‘What is NDIS support coordination and how can it help me?

If you are unsure whether you may need specialist support coordination or not, you can read more about this service in our article, ‘When would I need specialist support coordination?’.

Plan management

A plan manager can assist with the financial side of the funding in your NDIS plan, which requires quite a bit of oversight to make sure you are meeting all requirements of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Organising the financial side of your plan can be quite stressful by yourself – you need to make sure providers are paid, claim funds through the NDIS portal and collect and organise all your receipts so the NDIA knows you are spending your funding correctly.

This can be a complicated and time-consuming process and you may find that a plan manager can be best placed to organise this for you.

Your plan manager will only deal with the financial and funding side of things and won’t be able to assist with coordinating or scheduling the supports you receive. That is where the support coordinator would come in.

The plan manager you choose doesn’t have to take over every aspect of managing your NDIS funds, you can be as involved as you like and request for yourself to manage certain aspects of your plan.

You will not have to pay privately for a plan manager as the cost of their services will come out of your NDIS plan budget.

Plan management can be undertaken by the NDIA, which is known as agency managed, or by a plan manager from an NDIS provider. However, if you want to monitor your NDIS funds completely by yourself, you can also self-manage.

You can learn more in our article, ‘How can a NDIS plan manager help you?

Do you need both?

Whether you have a support coordinator and a plan manager or not is up to you.

You can decide to manage your support coordination but have someone deal with the financial side on your behalf, or vice versa.

You may decide that you don’t want to deal with any of the NDIS planning and get professionals on board for both areas. This does not mean that you don’t have control over how your NDIS funds are used and what supports you receive, you should always have the final say in what you pay for and the supports you receive.

Who assists you with your NDIS plan is up to you, and you may make this decision based on your current capacity to manage your NDIS plan.

You may decide to receive support coordination and plan management assistance for a certain amount of time until you feel comfortable doing it yourself, before taking on both these roles when you are confident in your skills.

Whatever you decide, the decision to use professionals should work for you and your situation so you can get the most out of your NDIS plan.

Are you planning to get help from experts to organise your NDIS supports? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

How can a NDIS plan manager help you?
What is NDIS support coordination and how can it help me?
How to manage your NDIS funds