In this article, Evie answers some of the most frequently asked questions we get about Plan Management.
WHAT IS PLAN MANAGEMENT?
Plan Management is one of the four options NDIS participants to manage their NDIS funds:
- Agency Managed: The NDIA holds the funds and pays providers through the NDIS Portal. This is the most common option (68% of participants).
- Self Managed: NDIS participants/nominees receive invoices directly (in arrears) & then are responsible for ensuring timely payment. They can either pay the invoice first & then claim reimbursement via the NDIS portal or claim the invoice amount from the NDIA on the portal and then pay after receiving the funds.
- Plan Managed: A financial intermediary (i.e. an accountant or bookkeeper) manages the Plan. Providers invoice the Plan Manager.
- A combination of the above
What does a Plan Manager do?
Plan Management is, in its essence, a financial intermediary function. As a minimum, a Plan Manager is responsible for:
- Receiving invoices:
- Directly from provider
- Via participant
- Claiming from NDIS Portal
- Paying Invoices
- Providing monthly statement to participant including:
- Summary of expenditure
- Breakdown of budget totals remaining
Some Plan Managers may also engage act as a service intermediary or skills builder, supporting a participant to:
- Establish service agreements with providers
- Explore different budgeting options or scenarios
- Build their financial literacy
- Develop self management capabilities
Why would a participant want to use a Plan Manager?
Participants who choose Plan Management have a few distinct advantages:
- You can buy supports from non-NDIS registered providers (like Jim's Mowing, local community members or organisations and Therapists who have chosen not to register).
- You don't have to use the NDIS Portal.
- You have a partner in navigating the NDIS and someone to help you make the most of your Plan.
- You have most of the choice and control of Self Management without the administrative burden.
HOW MUCH FUNDING DO PEOPLE RECEIVE?
In their first plans, Participants typically receive $1,395.71 for Plan Management in non-remote areas. This is a combination of:
- 12 x monthly processing fee at $98.12 per month
- Set up fee of $218.27 (usually only paid in the first plan)
Occasionally participants are also funded for an amount of "Plan Management activities" hours at $54.13 per hour. This has become fairly uncommon and is typically only for participants wanting to build their capacity to manage their own Plan.
Plan Management is always included in the Plan in addition to other supports. Participants do not pay a percentage of their Plan.
Can PARTICIPANTS GET FUNDED FOR PLAN MANAGEMENT EVERY YEAR?
Yes, if they want it.
When is the Plan Manager chosen?
At the planning meeting a participant will specify their preferred mode of funds management. They may elect a particular Plan Management provider at this stage or the participant and/or their nominee can make this decision once the plan is approved (may be with assistance from Support Coordinator).
CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE BOTH PLAN MANAGEMENT AND OTHER DIRECT NDIS SUPPORTS?
Yes. As with Support Coordination, providers can offer both services, provided they can demonstrate effective strategies to mitigate the conflict of interest.
What are the drawbacks to organisations in providing Plan Management?
Plan Management is funded at a flat monthly fee for all participants, regardless of the complexity of their Plan or support environment. This means it's sustainable to support participants who may have consistent invoices from a limited number of providers. But for participants who use their funds more flexibly or who want to be more actively engaged with their Plan Manager, the funding is simply inadequate to invest the time and energy required. We hear many Plan Managers say that this leaves them in a challenging position, wanting to support this choice and control but having to do so at the organisation's expense.
We expect that Plan Management pricing will be addressed in the ongoing Independent Pricing Review and hope that a more appropriate pricing structure will be recommended.
What are the benefits to organisations in providing Plan Management?
Like Support Coordination, Plan Management is a support that requires staff to understand the NDIS inside and out and support participants to get great outcomes from their individualised funding. This is a great organisational capability to be building. And unlike Support Coordination, Plan Management is designed to be ongoing, meaning that organisations can grow Plan Management services that can support participants to reach these outcomes for years to come.