Getting NDIS ready is also about deciding how you want to manage your NDIS funds.
There are three ways to manage your NDIS funding. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) can help you manage payments to your providers, you can manage these payments yourself (Self Management) or you can have another provider (a Plan Manager) assist you. You can even mix them!
In your planning meeting we want you to be informed about your options so you can state clearly what you would like to happen.
We’re going to be dedicating some air time in the next while to the two options called Plan Management and Self Management.
Please note that at the time of publication the NDIA launched a new website. On the old website there were two documents that clearly described Plan Management and we cannot locate them on the new website despite a lot of looking!
These three options for managing your funds continue to exist!
Plan Managers need to be registered providers, so you can find and engage with them once you receive your plan, and through other organisations and businesses which are now listing providers.
Lauren Hislop lives in the Hunter NSW NDIS site and tells us about using a registered Plan Management provider.
Goals are a bit daunting important
A few years ago I was initially a bit daunted about the prospect of setting goals for my first NDIS plan. I thought, “what if I’m currently satisfied with my life?” However, as I did some self exploration, I discovered that there were, in fact, areas of my life that I wanted to improve.
I considered questions (and you can too) such as;
“what do I want my life to look like?”
“what excites me?” and
“what would infuse my life with colour?”
I had to be open to the possibilities.
My advice to people planning their goals is not to be afraid to dream big. When I first wrote my goals I was afraid to dream big. I wasn’t sure what goals to list, and maybe you aren’t sure too. However, with encouragement from others I dared to state my desires.
One of my goals was and is to find work.
Obtaining employment is one of my greatest desires. Being equipped with three university degrees I assumed I would get a position. However due to structural barriers I have found it a struggle. Unfortunately my disability overshadows my skills.
Turning goals into reality
Once I had established what my goals were, I had to figure out how to implement them. My goals were a template for my life.
When I received my first NDIS plan, it appeared great on paper. However I had no idea how to use it. I consider myself intelligent and yet I couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of it. At that time, NDIA were paying my support providers directly. Unfortunately I began to feel nothing had changed from before NDIS. I had the same agency providing me with the same care, but I was wanted something different.
Infusing my plan and life with colour
Last year I decided to engage a plan manager to help manage my funds. I also had some Supports Co-ordination hours in my plan to help with these kinds of things as well. I chose a local organisation that don’t provide any other kinds of services. I really like their independence and their values. These are two important things to look out for in my opinion.
From the moment I engaged a plan manager my life began to infuse with colour. I cannot believe how my life has changed. I have a plan manager, who puts me at the forefront of making my own decisions. They check to see how I’m going. They have done things like:
help me recruit my own workers
keep track of my budget
pay and process invoices
problem-solve with providers
This is definitely the best choice for me. I feel like I’m actually living life! It is so good to know that you are in control without having to deal with the mundane bits. It has made the principles, such as choice, a voice and control a reality in my life.
Gaining skills and finding work
Because I plan manage, I can use different kinds of services and supports to achieve the goals in my plan. I can definitely use disability services if I want, but I can also think beyond these. Previously I thought I had to use disability support workers for everything. This is one of the benefits of plan management and self management. I can look to different people, businesses and organisations in my community to help me achieve my goals.
In my plan I have some funding to help me develop confidence in my ability to undertake paid work. This is the importance of thinking about goals, because if I didn’t state this as a goal, it might not have led to this funding.
One brilliant outcome is I have used this funding to improve my professional skills.
I am a researcher and writer and have been looking for work in this area. I have been writing for different disability rights organisations. There is a lot of great opportunity here with a growing number of organisations valuing and paying people with disability to write. This got us talking about the online world, content marketing and social media marketing opportunities. My plan manager informed me I could use my funding to engage someone in this area to mentor and train me.
I was put in touch with Andrea, a small business marketing consultant. Her training definitely equipped me better, so when Libby asked me to work for InCharge in this area, I was ecstatic. This training will also help me with future opportunities. It enhances my appeal to other organisations who would like to contract me. I cannot express how much economic participation means to me and other people with disabilities. We yearn to be productive.
Freedom in finding my own support workers
One of the greatest benefits I have from plan management is that it has helped me to recruit my own support workers. Initially I just had personal care for an hour each day to help me shower and dress. I had no idea I could use workers for accessing the community and other things.
There has been great freedom in interviewing and choosing for myself. My worker is invaluable. She does things like takes me shopping, attends appointments with me, helps with filing and making calls because my speech is slurred, and acts like a personal assistant in work meetings. Having this assistance has allowed me to feel that I am a valued member in the community. I set the hours she works. I’m in control.
In my opinion we need to make the most of our plan. This will not only impact on us as individuals but on society as a whole. If we have support we can use our talents and skills to enhance society. Enjoy the journey!
Marianne Williamson wrote
“It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.”
It’s time to let our light shine