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How to manage your NDIS program?

When your NDIS plan is approved, you may feel relieved, excited or confused. What’s next to track the funds in your plan and how to put them to best use? Where do you find the right service providers for you and how do they get paid? And how will you execute your budget?
When it comes to managing your plan, you have three options. The default option – if you don’t specifically ask for it – is for the NDIA to manage your money for you. The other two options are Program Management and Self-Management.
You can choose any one or a mix of methods – it’s entirely up to you. So which option should you choose?
Option 1 – Let NDIA manage your money
This option seems simple enough as your provider is responsible for making claims to the NDIA after the service has been provided. They will be paid directly by the NDIA and you won’t have to keep all the accounting records. But there are some drawbacks that you will have to do some work to adjust, such as:
A, You can choose your service provider, but you can only choose from those who are already registered with the NDIA. If your preferred providers are not registered, you will need to change to those that are.
B, You will be responsible for establishing service agreements with each of your providers to negotiate how, when, and where those services will be provided.
C, Then, in order for your providers to seek payment directly from NDIA, you will have to set up a service reservation through the NDIA “myplace ParticipantPortal” for each provider you use.
D, You will also need to use PORTAL to track your program balance.
Option 2 – Plan Management: Choose a professional plan manager such as PLANMANAGEMENT PARTNERS.
A manager can help you fully manage your plan and funds, which can greatly reduce your workload and subsequent preparation.
One of the main advantages is the ability to use providers that are not already enrolled in the NDIA. A common example of this is when you can choose a self-employed provider who is not registered with the NDIA for their services. However, if you use NDIA for money management, you cannot use such providers.
Here are the advantages of choosing a plan manager such as PLAN MANAGEMENT PARTNERS:
A, You have access to providers that are not enrolled, but you don’t have any money or administrative hassles associated with self-management. PLAN MANAGEMENT PARTNERS pays the providers, processes the claims, and keeps all the records.
B, You still choose the providers you want, but if you’re not sure where to start, the Plan Manager can make some suggestions. PLANMANAGEMENT PARTNERS now maintains a database of Providers that clearly documents each Provider’s strengths and service features.
C, You agree to the details of each provider’s services, and the Program Manager helps to ensure that all your service agreements are in place and that you receive those services.
D, You only need to provide one service reservation for all services managed by the Program Manager.
E, Plan Managers keep track of all the NDIS funds you ask them to administer, helping you make the most of your plan while staying on budget.
F, Not all plan management companies do this, but at PLAN MANAGEMENT PARTNERS we assign a dedicated “plan partner” who will be your regular contact for timely problem solving and difficult issues.

Option 3 – Self-Management
Self-management is another way to access those unregistered providers, but it requires a fee. You have more management to do and you may be able to front the cost yourself at some time.
NDIA’s policy in this area has been changing. They used to pay you a small amount of money up front, but that’s not actually the case. Now you must:
A, pay all your service providers yourself up front and then seek reimbursement from the NDIA, or
B, Negotiate deferred payment terms with your provider so that you can be reimbursed by the NDIA and pay the provider upon receipt of the reimbursement, or
C, In some cases, you may request reimbursement from NDIA one week prior to the service so that you can receive the reimbursement in a timely manner on the day of service.
Whichever method you choose, you will be responsible for providing the NDIA website with claims for all services rendered, ensuring that all provider invoices are paid on time, coordinating cash received by the NDIA with your payment to the provider, and retaining all invoices and receipts.
Additionally, when you find a provider that is right for you, you will negotiate on your own, how, when and where the services will be provided and establish a service agreement with them. You’ll also need to track your spending to ensure you stay within your budget while making the most of your plan.
In short, with self-management, you have a high degree of choice and control, but your workload increases significantly accordingly.
Which is best?

Plan management services cost you nothing – if you request plan management in your plan, the NDIA will add funds to cover the cost. Plan management offers the highest level of choice, the greatest level of support and the least amount of work. And, if, for whatever reason, you ask for plan management and then change your mind, you can always switch back to another management option


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