Persons living with disabilities have rights just like everyone else. As such, government and private sectors worldwide are working hard to ease their challenges and promote their well-being.
In Australia, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) promotes the independence of disabled persons. It manages funding support for qualified individuals and their families under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which currently serves about 585,000 program participants.
The program accepts an additional 6,000 individuals monthly, on average. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, about 4.4 million, or 18% of the country's population, have a disability.
Knowing how to manage funds is imperative, whether you’re planning to apply, waiting for approval, or expecting NDIS support. Below are some valuable tips for managing your NDIS allocation.
Three Ways To Manage NDIS Funding
Besides providing financial support, the NDIA partners with local organizations and support groups to provide comprehensive assistance to persons with disabilities.
Knowing this, there are three ways to control NDIS spending.
Getting NDIS plan management services means hiring third-party fund managers to absorb the administrative and financial processes.
Plan managers are typically professionals with accounting and budget management expertise. They ensure that participants stay compliant with the rules on financial reporting and other transactions.
This option is perfect for those who want to save time and effort in dealing with service providers and preparing financial reports, among other tasks.
Participants in this funding management scheme deal with service providers, payments, reimbursements, and reporting.
While this method offers independence and direct control over one's funds, it can be time-consuming and challenging, especially for first-timers.
The NDIS has released a guide outlining the responsibilities, benefits, and other resources for those who choose this route. Note that you can self-manage a portion or all of your NDIS funding.
The agency can likewise manage the funding on your behalf.
In this scheme, the NDIA will pay your chosen provider, which must be picked from among their accredited organizations. Participants can track their transactions and account through the NDIS website.
How To Manage Your NDIS Funding Well
NDIS support is individualized, owing to a disabled person's unique needs. The participant must create a plan citing their situation, goals, and the assistance they need to achieve them.
Knowing how to optimize your budget is crucial, regardless of your NDIS funding management option.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Find Out Which Spendings Qualify For NDIS Coverage
While the NDIS covers a wide range of activities and services, they're divided into core, capital, and capacity-building supports.
Core support is reserved for daily activities, such as community engagement, household tasks, and transport.
Meanwhile, capital support covers technologies, equipment, and other investments that make life more comfortable for a person with a disability.
Capacity-building support is for expenses aimed at developing skills and independence.
2. Actively Track Your Budget
Generally, NDIS participants and their authorized representatives can ask for information about their plans or access their current budget through the application.
For those under plan management, your manager will typically schedule bi-monthly meetings to discuss spending and issues you might need to look into.
Additionally, you can access your account anytime for real-time budget tracking. Regularly reviewing your account helps you manage your budget better and, with the help of professionals, optimizes its value.
3. Avoid Overspending Or Underspending
Keep tabs on all your transactions so you don't overspend or underspend.
Overspending means paying out-of-pocket costs, while underspending might reduce the succeeding year's allocation.
First-time participants, especially those who choose to self-manage, may find NDIS fund management overwhelming, mainly because of the different coverages and providers with varying rates.
The best way to overcome this is to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the support you need and allocate hours for each support. Talking to a local area coordinator or an NDIA planner also helps.
4. Examine Service Agreements
A service agreement is a legally binding document between the participant and the provider. It states the terms and conditions for providing various types of support as provided in the participant's NDIS plan.
More importantly, it outlines the costs associated with each service. Once you've received a copy, read and understand the terms to ensure they align with your needs.
5. Know When To Seek A Plan Review
There are numerous ways to support people with disabilities, and individuals need different services to achieve their life goals. If you think your current plan doesn't fully support such requirements or if you need to switch to a new provider, you can always ask for a plan review.
This way, you can guarantee that all your needs are covered as your needs change. Similarly, you can make the same requests for how your funds are managed.
Maintain The Aid You Deserve
Proper preparation and systematic review are keys to maximizing your NDIS budget. Before drafting a plan, research providers in your area to determine available support activities and services and align them with your goals.
As the program progresses, assess whether these services contribute to your objectives and make the necessary changes. Above all else, monitor your spending regularly to stay on your budget.