How to make your NDIS budgets last
If you think you’re spending your NDIS funds too quickly, don’t worry - you’re not alone. Lots of people find it tricky to make their budgets for each category last the full length of their plan.
Fortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, there are some steps you can take to make sure you have enough budgets to pay for the supports you need over the course of your plan.
What can I do if I’m running out of funds?
There are many reasons why you might be using your NDIS budgets quicker than expected. Here are the most common four and what you can do for each.
Reason 1: Your plan doesn’t have enough budget for your needs
Sometimes the NDIS simply doesn’t give people enough funds in their plans to cover the support they require. If your plan doesn’t meet your support needs or situation, here’s what actions you can take:
- Contact the NDIS to request a review of your plan. There are three types of NDIS plan review you can request.
- Before your review, take some time to prepare. Think about why you need more funding and gather as much supporting evidence as you can. This all helps the NDIS understand your situation to allocate the budget you need.
- Don’t wait until you run out of budget to request a review – do it as soon as you realise you’re overspending and your budgets won’t last until the end of your plan.
Reason 2: You thought there was more money left in your plan
It can be easy to lose track of things and think you have more money left than you actually do. If you’ve spent more of your budget than you realised, here are some things you can do:
- Think about what supports you’ll need before your plan ends and look at how much budget you have left to pay for them. Breaking things up like this can help you work out if you’ll make it to the end of your plan with your remaining funds or whether you’ll need to request a review.
- Ask yourself if there are any supports that you can possibly cut back on to help stretch your budget out.
- Start keeping a close eye on your budgets. It might take a bit of effort at first, but it can be a great way to feel more in control of your plan and stay on track with your budgets. Your Plan Partners Dashboard helps with this by giving you a simple visual overview for how much of each budget is left and how long there is until your plan ends.
Reason 3: One of your providers charged more than you’d budgeted for
Some providers charge by the hour, which can lead to unwanted surprises; particularly if they’ve done any extra work or added extra travel costs. Here are some things you can do if you’re hit with any of these unexpected expenses:
- Work out how many hours of a support your remaining budget can cover. If you have Support Coordination, your Support Coordinator can help you with this step.
- Set up service agreements with your service providers based on these hours. A service agreement is a contract that helps avoid any unexpected charges by stating exactly how many hours your service provider will work and how much they’ll charge you. This is a great habit to get into and one we recommend to all our customers.
- Another way you can avoid charges is to review and approve your invoices before we pay them. This is easy to do using your Plan Partners Dashboard.
Reason 4: You’re intentionally getting through your budget
Just because you’re using your budget quickly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a problem. People’s support needs can change month to month, so there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to be spending your budget. If you’ve worked out that you won’t need as much of your budget later in your plan and are using it now, that’s perfectly fine!
- Try to build the habit of checking your budgets regularly. Knowing how much funding you have left allows you to take action if you need to. Your Plan Partners Dashboard makes it easy to keep an eye on your budgets, in detail or at a glance (or you can even check it when you’re on the go with our app).
- Your Plan Partners Dashboard also gives you handy tips how to use your budgets for each support category. And you can select to approve your invoices, so you always know what invoice will be paid to what provider!
- The NDIS sometimes allow people to move their Capacity Building funds to their Core budget – this option could help you access supports until a more permanent solution can be arranged.
- If possible, setting aside a small chunk of your NDIS budget (5-10% should be enough) as emergency funding can give you a bit of a safety net. If you do go overbudget without realising, these funds can be used to pay for your supports until the end of your plan.
- If you do happen to run out of budget, don’t panic. It’s very likely there are options available to you, including several kinds of plan review. If you do find yourself in this position, give us a call on 1300 333 700 to talk about your options. We’re here to help.