As an NDIS participant, you should have complete choice and control over the supports you receive – and that’s equally true when it comes to choosing a plan manager. But with so many options out there, how do you know which companies provide the best plan management, and the best service for you?
3 things to look out for when choosing your plan manager
There’s a huge variety of businesses that offer plan management services, ranging from small accountancy firms, to disability service providers and specialised organisations. No matter what kind of plan manager you want, there are three qualities to look for that make a big difference:
- Trust: Firstly, you need to be able to trust your plan manager to take care of your NDIS budgets, offer you independent advice and be completely open with you about how budgets are tracking.
- Expertise: Your plan manager should be experts in the NDIS and know all its ins and outs, so they can give you valuable advice on how to get the most out of your NDIS funds.
- Understanding: Finally, you need to know your plan manager is driven by a desire to help you get the most out of your NDIS plan and that they will go above and beyond to understand and support you through your NDIS journey.
With these three things in mind, you can start to explore your options a little closer.
How to find a good NDIS plan manager
To find a good NDIS plan manager, you want to spend some time researching your options. There are plenty of online resources that allow people to rate, review and comment on service providers and plan managers, but two of the biggest and most active ones are Clickability and MyCareSpace. These websites let you search for a specific plan manager and provide background and customer reviews for each.
Speaking with other NDIS participants or your Local Area Coordinator is another great way to get a sense of which plan managers offer a high level of service.
Why might you choose to use an NDIS plan manager
There's quite a bit of work that goes into managing the funds for an NDIS plan. If you self manage your funds, it can take up to 25 hours of your time every week. A plan manager looks after all the admin associated with your plan and makes sure your providers are paid accurately and on time. A really good plan manager knows NDIS funding inside and out and will support you to keep track of your spending and get more out of your funds.
Through plan management, you can access both NDIS registered and unregistered providers, something NDIA management doesn't give you. A plan manager should also make sure provider prices keep within the NDIS price guide, so you don’t get overcharged for services.
Your plan manager checklist
Once you have a sense of the plan managers you might like to use, it’s time to take a closer look at what features and services each is offering. The best way to do this is by checking their website or just giving them a call, and use this checklist:
- Do they have a simple, online sign-up process?
- Do they offer multiple ways to contact them?
- If you call them, do they take the time to have a chat with you, understand your needs and give you clear information?
Payment and budgets:
- Do they provide an online tool and a monthly overview for you to track the status of your NDIS budgets?
- Are they clear about their invoice payment process, including their payment times?
- Can you track the status of your invoices online?
- Can they secure your budgets with agreed service providers to protect you against overspending?
- Are they specialised in NDIS plan management or is it one of the many things they do?
- Do they have a background in financial services and the disability sector, or just one of these?
- Do they also provide support coordination, so they can support you with not only the financial but (if it suits you) also the organisational aspects of your NDIS plan?
Given plan management can help you unlock the full potential of your NDIS plan, it’s worth taking your time to ensure the plan manager you choose is right for you and your situation. Taking the time to think about what you need will help you choose a plan manager you are happy with and can build a positive relationship with.