What to think about when choosing a plan manager
If you’re receiving funding under the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), you have a number of options about how to manage your funding. Choosing Plan Management means you aren’t restricted to receiving support via only NDIS registered providers – you can also use non-registered services such as Mable. But it also allows you to engage someone to assist you to manage your funding. You can learn more in detail about plan management and and how to make the switch if you’re already using the NDIS but are self-managed or agency-managed.
If you’ve already chosen this route, we offer some advice on how to know if a plan manager is right for you.
This article will help you understand what your plan manager will do for you. There are a number of resources out there to help you find plan managers – and it pays to do a little research. The NDIS lists registered providers in each State and Territory on their website – but you can also tap into the extensive community knowledge that you can find in forums like the NDIS Grassroots Discussion page on Facebook.
How to choose a plan manager
When you’re choosing your plan manager, keep in mind the different tasks they’re typically engaged to do for you;
- pay your support providers (such as Mable) on your behalf,
- help you keep track of your funds and spending,
- provide you with updates on your spending, and;
- monitor your bills and invoices
What about supports?
You may already have a very clear idea about what supports you would like to access and from where. Others might appreciate some guidance from a plan manager about available support options out there.
It’s important here to also understand the difference between support coordination and plan management. According to the NDIA, a Support Coordinator will support you to understand and implement the funded supports in your plan and link you to community, mainstream and other government services. Plan Management is more about managing the financial aspects of your plan. Support Coordination is a funded support that you may have within your NDIS plan. If this is the case, you may decide that you would like the same provider to do your Support Coordination and your Plan Management.
Understand plan managers’ different strengths
Mable’s Senior Manager, Sector Partnerships, Luke Van Schie recommends considering expertise and the different strengths of plan managers or plan management organisations.
Do they have the skills and knowledge to help you understand your plan and budgets?
Are they an organisation that offers a range of services or do they specialise in plan management? Are you more comfortable working with a larger organisation, or an individual plan manager? Do they offer online tracking tools so you can keep track of your budgets, and are they available to you when you need to reach them? Do they have a background in financial management? Again, this will be a very personal decision which is often driven by how comfortable you are with any individual provider.
Trust your instincts
If you’ve looked into a number of options but are still undecided, Luke offers this final piece of advice;
Let your community help you decide – do you have friends that have had a great experience and can recommend someone?
Whether it’s hiring someone to manage your NDIS plan, babysit your kids or fix your plumbing, selecting the right person is often about who you know. Speak to friends or people in your community about who they use; what they like and dislike about them. What lessons can you learn from the experiences of others? Have they worked with a plan manager who didn’t meet their expectations, and what are the things to look out for? Finally, don’t feel you need to do it alone. Here at Mable, we have a number of plan management partners we work with. Contact us to know more. You can also learn more about plan management organisation Plan M (a related but separate entity to Mable) – who can help you maintain the financial aspects of your NDIS plan.
Interested in finding your own support workers? Search Mable’s community of independent support workers today.