If you have different NDIS supports, using a plan manager can help you stay on top of things and get the most out of your funding. But the tricky thing is that there are lots of options out there. How do you choose someone who is right for your needs?
When making a decision, take the time to ask questions, do your research, talk to providers, and choose the one that’s right for you. To help you out, here are 18 things to look out for when looking for a NDIS plan manager.
- Are you able to trust them?
A plan manager is involved in many aspects of your funding, including managing your NDIS budget balances and disbursing funds to the different providers who you receive services from. It’s important to choose someone who is responsible and trustworthy, and who will be completely transparent with you about your plan and how it’s being used.
- Do they listen to you?
It’s important to have a NDIS plan that actually meets your needs. A good plan manager will work collaboratively with you and take the time to understand your goals, so they can ensure your funding is being spent in a way that helps you achieve things. They should ideally be a good listener who makes you feel valued and heard, and see themselves as a partner in your support journey.
- Do they take the time to explain things to you?
The NDIS is all about giving you choice and control over your support. Your plan manager shouldn’t simply do things for you, without your knowledge. They should take the time to answer any questions you may have and explain things well, so you are empowered to make decisions about your support. You should feel free to raise issues with them, as they help you navigate the complexities of the NDIS system.
- Are they able to offer financial expertise?
A plan manager needs to have expertise on how to use your NDIS funds correctly. This means being able to pay your service providers the right amount on time, staying on top of invoices (having a background in accounting or finances helps), giving you advice on how to best spend your funds, and helping you make informed financial decisions about your support and funding.
- Do they understand the NDIS well?
The NDIS can be a fairly overwhelming system with lots of complexities that, at first glance, are tricky to get your head around. A good NDIS plan management agency needs to understand the NDIS system inside and out, and know how to make it work for you. They should be able to give you specialised advice on how to best use your funding, so you can get the support you need.
- Are they contactable?
There is nothing worse than having a question or problem with your NDIS funding, and not being able to get in touch with someone (in a reasonable time frame) for assistance and support. Your NDIS plan manager should ideally have different ways to contact them, or a way to keep in touch on a regular basis. They should be proactively reaching out to you, to ensure you are across what’s happening with your funding.
- Are they in regular contact with you?
Related to point five, part of a NDIS plan manager’s job is to keep you updated on the status of your NDIS budgets. Whether it’s through an easy-to-use tool, monthly overviews or regular reports, they should have a way of keeping you fully informed about your funding. Their method of report should also be inclusive and easily accessible, so you understand how your money is being spent.
- Do they pay attention to detail?
One of the roles of a plan manager for NDIS is to notify you (preferably ahead of time) if you are under or over-utilising your funding budget. That means paying attention to details is important, so they can help you stay on top of your NDIS budget, get the most out of your plan, and prevent problems before they occur.
- Do they have a process for resolving disputes?
There may be times when you have a difference of opinion or disagreement with your NDIS plan manager. Before hiring them, check to see if they have a good process for resolving disputes, what that process looks like, and how they deal with feedback on their services. It’s also worth checking what happens if you decide you want to change plan managers during your time with them.
- Do they provide good customer service?
You deserve to have a plan manager who you are happy with. Take the time to think about the customer service they provide. Do you have a good experience when dealing with them? Are you happy with their support? Are you able to build a positive relationship with them into the future?
- Are they qualified to provide their services?
Choose a NDIS registered plan management provider (i.e. one who is registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission), so you can be assured that their services are of the highest quality. Even if you choose to hire someone who is un-registered, you should still confirm they are qualified to provide you with a high standard of service.
- Are they committed to delivering a good outcome for you?
According to the NDIS, a plan manager should support participants with budget management and administration activities to achieve a participant’s specific goals and outcomes. A good plan manager will aim to help you achieve a good outcome with your supports, so you can make the most of the funding you receive and thrive while living in the community.
- Are they organised and timely with their services?
Ask the NDIS plan management provider how quickly they pay invoices (and whether they will ask for approval before paying each one), how often they provide budget statements, and what their process is for payments and reimbursements. It’s important to ensure your expectations are aligned, so you get the service that you want.
- Where are they located?
A NDIS plan manager can technically provide their service from anywhere, so it’s not necessary for them to be located close to you. But if it’s important for you to be able to physically meet with your Plan Manager and talk to them face to face, check if they live close to you, and are convenient to meet with on a regular basis.
- Are they experienced?
It can be helpful to have a plan manager who is well experienced at managing NDIS plans, so you can feel confident that your funds will be well spent, and you’ll receive good advice. When you are meeting a provider, ask about any previous experiences they’ve had in plan management, or even if you can see any references from previous clients about their service.
- Are they good at problem solving?
Sometimes there are situations with your NDIS funding that don’t quite fit in the box – e.g. you may have a provider, such as an art class, that asks to be paid in advance for a period of time, you may want to purchase some mobility equipment and aren’t sure how to go about it, or you may have part-funding for a certain support. A good plan manager is about to trouble-shoot problems with you, and work out the best solution for your situation.
- Do they have a good technology system?
It’s important to stay on top of payments and invoices, especially if you have lots of different NDIS providers for various needs. Find out about the payment portal your plan manager uses, and whether it is able to transfer funds quickly and effectively. Also check if you are able to easily log in and see how your money is being spent, as transparency is important.
- Are they able to provide impartial advice?
A plan manager must be able to give independent advice on service provision, without having any bias or preference for a certain provider. If you choose a plan manager who is also providing you with a NDIS service, check that they have a policy in place to manage conflict of interest, so you can be assured that the advice you are receiving is truly independent.
- Are they well recommended by other participants?
If you can, chat to other NDIS participants who have used the plan manager you are hoping to choose, and get their opinion on the services they received and whether they were happy with them. You might also be able to read reviews online about the provider, to see if they are known for providing quality service to clients.
- Do you get along with them?
Sometimes it’s good to trust your instincts! At the end of the day, you need to be able to have a good feeling about the people you include in your support network. Choose someone who you feel comfortable with, and who you feel will provide you with a quality, reliable service.
What’s the difference between a support coordinator and a plan manager?
Sometimes it’s easy to get these two roles mixed up, as they can sound quite similar on the surface. A support coordinator helps you understand and implement the funded supports in your plan. This includes linking you to community, mainstream and other government services, so you have genuine choice and control over the way you are supported.
A NDIS plan manager is slightly different, in that they focus on the financial administration of your NDIS plan. They support you with your funding, invoicing, payments, and keeping on top of budgets. They help you manage your funding well and stay on top of how much money you are spending.
NDIS plan management with Home Caring
Home Caring’s NDIS Plan Management services will help you stay on top of your funding, so you can stress less and simply get on with enjoying life. With years of NDIS experience behind us, our team of disability experts will take the anxiety out of managing your budget, paying service providers and keeping track of your spending. We’ll give you freedom to live the life you choose.
Our team will also work closely with you, taking the time to understand your unique needs and circumstances. We aim to help you maintain a NDIS plan that helps you achieve your personal goals. Our services are tailored to you, and we’re always available to answer any questions you may have.
With years of experience and expertise behind us in the disability sector, we understand not only how the NDIS works, but what participants need to reach their goals and live a fulfilling life.
We’ll help you make the most of your funding, and feel confident that you’re paying invoices on time. And we’ll provide help with financial management of your plan, so you can spend more time working towards your goals. Let us help you stay on top of your plan, so you can focus on the things that count.
Our NDIS plan management services are:
- Empowering – using a NDIS plan manager doesn’t mean you aren’t in control. We’ll empower you to make informed decisions about your support.
- Experienced – we’ll make managing your NDIS plan easy, and help you get the most value out of your funding.
- Passionate – we care about getting the little things right, and work hard to provide a service that you’re truly happy with.
- Flexible – we’re here to answer any questions you may have, and provide guidance when you need it. We can also help identify any areas where you are underspending your NDIS funding.
Looking for the best NDIS plan manager near you? We provide NDIS plan managers in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia. To chat to someone about accessing planning services in your local area, please get in touch with our friendly team.