However, most people get confused and assume they are the same service. While they complement each other, Plan Management and Support Coordination actually have different ways of putting an NDIS plan into action.
We offer both services at Afea, so keep reading to find out more about how these two NDIS services can work together to help you achieve your goals!
NDIS Plan Management
Here’s their key difference, in simple terms: Support Coordination coordinates the mix of services and supports suited to your needs, while Plan Management helps you pay for these supports using your NDIS funding.
Let’s take a closer look at Plan Management first. A plan management provider (or simply, Plan Manager) serves as an NDIS participant’s financial adviser. They assist you in managing your NDIS funding, which is the money from your plan that pays for the supports and services you need.
Your Plan Manager can:
- Pay your service providers for supports delivered. At Afea, we can pay your providers within 2-3 business days.
- Help you keep track of your NDIS funding. For instance, your Plan Manager can provide a report of your spending and advise you when your funds are running low.
- Keep a record of how you spend your NDIS funding by receiving and managing invoices.
- Help you increase your financial and plan management skills. Working closely with a Plan Manager can help you learn how to manage your own money.
- Give financial advice with regards to your NDIS plan. Your Plan Manager can provide information about what service providers you can use with your funding. This will help you make an informed decision regarding your supports.
At Afea, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Plan Coordinator, giving you one point of contact throughout your NDIS journey with us. You’ll also have access to our client portal, allowing you to track your spending in real time.
Alternatives to Plan Management
- NDIA or Agency Managed – your funds are managed by the NDIA
In this option, the NDIA will pay NDIS registered providers on your behalf. Unfortunately, it also means you can’t use non-NDIS registered providers. You also can’t elect to pay more than the amounts listed in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits.
- Self-managed – you manage your own funds
This means you or your representative will be responsible for all the activities involved in managing your Plan’s finances. You will need to pay providers, claim funds from the NDIS Participant Portal to be reimbursed and keep track of your spending.
- Combination – you can have a portion of your funds managed by a Plan Manager and a portion managed by yourself
While you may consider these alternatives, it might be worthwhile to look into plan management anyway. Plan Management is effectively “free” as it is funded under its own budget. It gives you greater choice and control as you can receive services from both NDIS registered and non-registered providers.
How to get Plan Management
At your planning meeting with the NDIA, you can tell them that you would like a Plan Manager to support you. This will then be added to your plan. There are no conditions attached to receiving funding for Plan Management – you simply have to ask.
What your Plan Manager can’t do
They can’t connect you directly to other providers for your supports and services. For example, if you need a support worker to accompany you to the shops every day, you can’t expect your plan manager to find a care provider and schedule the daily service for you. This is beyond the scope of their duties. However, this is what Support Coordination can help you with – which we’ll discuss next!
NDIS Support Coordination
A Support Coordinator will assist you in organising and implementing all of the approved supports in your plan. They can:
- Negotiate services with providers
- Liaise with providers on your behalf
- Arrange any required assessments
- Teach you how to use the NDIS portal
- Enhance your ability to manage your plan
- Attend planning meetings and reviews with you
- Help you understand your plan and service agreements
- Help you in times of crises or when issues arise
Alternatives to Support Coordination
Your Local Area Coordinator or LAC can help you understand and implement your plan. If you’re the caregiver of a participant younger than 7 years, you can get assistance from an early childhood partner.
However, if early childhood partners or LACs are not available in your area, or if you require ongoing assistance in finding and connecting with service providers, the NDIA may fund a support coordinator.
How to get Support Coordination
While you can get plan management funding by simply asking your NDIA Planner, not everyone is eligible for support coordination. You may request for support coordination at your initial plan conversation, but the NDIA will include it in your plan only if the Agency considers the support reasonable and necessary.
If it’s not in your plan and your circumstances change, you may request a plan reassessment to have this included.
You can speak with your NDIS Planner to connect you with a support coordinator in your area. You can also search for registered support coordination providers on Provider Finder.
Payment for a support coordinator will come out of your Capacity Building budget, which is separate from your Core Supports budget. Core Supports is the funding that helps you with everyday activities and your disability-related needs. Returning to our example above, payment for a support worker will come from your Core funding.
What your Support Coordinator can’t do
They can’t manage your funding. For example, while your Support Coordinator can assist you in setting up an appointment with an Occupational Therapist, your SC is not responsible for processing the OT’s invoice and organising payments.
Remember that payment for your SC comes out of a fixed budget under Capacity Building, and it’s best to use your funding, your time and your SC’s time wisely.
If you have plan management included in your plan, your Plan Manager can organise payments to your providers on your behalf. Otherwise, this will be the responsibility of the NDIA for Agency-managed plans, or yourself if you are managing your own plan.
Plan Management and Support Coordination?
Here’s the good news: if eligible, you can have both services fully funded!
Your Plan Manager and Support Coordinator will work closely with you and each other, ensuring you’re getting appropriate services well within your funding budget.
This frees up your precious time so you can truly focus on enhancing your life skills and independence.
Afea Plan Management and Support Coordination
Still confused? Afea’s Plan Management and Support Coordination teams are experts in navigating the NDIS. Reach out to us for a chat by calling 1300 65 11 33 or by filling out our form.