This blog post has come about after receiving this question via the InCharge website:
‘I’m just wondering if we go with an agency to manage the funding for our plan for the first year, will it be possible to change agencies or even decide to self manage after that initial year? Will the NDIA policy allow us to do that or do we have to stay with the same agency indefinitely and never be able to self manage after being locked into one agency.’
We figured that many people would have the same, or similar, questions. So here’s our response.
First of all, it’s important to know that when we talk about ‘Agency’ and ‘Agency Managed’, we are referring to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
‘Service providers’ are the professionals that the ‘Agency’ will manage payments for.
There are four ways you can manage your NDIS funds:
- Self-management (you pay service providers with your NDIS funds)
- Plan-management (a plan manager pays service providers with your NDIS funds)
- Agency-management (the NDIA pays service providers with your NDIS funds)
- A combination of these options (you pay some service providers for some things, and/or a plan manager and/or the NDIA pays other service providers for other things.)
If you choose to have the NDIA manage your funds in the first year, you can absolutely change in the second year – and after that as well. During the first year of your plan, you can use your funds to engage any registered service providers* you wish, and you can also switch to use other registered service providers if you want to. Sometimes they might request notice of this, and so you should check their service agreement thoroughly.
*A registered service provider is registered with the NDIA to provide services for NDIS participants.
If you want to try self-management, we suggest a couple of things:
- You could try self-managing a small or manageable part of your plan in the first year, in order to gain experience so that you can potentially self-manage more of your plan in the second year. You can also ask for some assistance to learn how to do it; you might be provided with some hours for training and support, so that you can engage someone in your first year to provide more information and assistance. This is called Supports Coordination. InCharge provides Supports Coordination, and you can find out more here.
- You could also try Plan Management, which provides someone to assist with the financial side of things. Plan Management has many of the same benefits as self-management.
You will need to ask for these in your planning meeting. We cannot guarantee what the NDIA will decide, but we always recommend asking. For more information about some common terms used by the NDIA, check out our recent post about Supports Coordination, LACs and Plan Management.
If you’ve already been to your NDIS planning meeting and are self- or plan-managing part or all of your funds, how are you finding it so far?