If you are new to disability support and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, you may have heard the term ‘Support Coordinator’ or ‘Coordinator of Supports’ and wondered what it means.
In the NDIS world, a Support Coordinator (also known as a Coordinator of Supports or COS) 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.
Here is a quick guide to how support coordination works, the different types available, and how it can benefit NDIS participants.
How can a Support Coordinator benefit me?
Support coordination is all about building your capacity for living independently. It offers plenty of benefits for NDIS participants, especially if you are new to accessing support services in Australia. They can help you:
- Understand the funded supports in your plan
- Choose service providers who best meet your needs
- Negotiate with providers about what services they will offer you, and how much it will cost from your plan
- Ensure service agreements and bookings are completed
- Prepare for your plan review
- Make sure you are getting the most value out of your funded supports
- Use the NDIS myplace portal
- Decide the budget for each support type
- Work with you to develop goals and how you can achieve them
- Organise assessments that are needed to determine the type of funding you need (e.g. assessments for home modifications)
- Put you in touch with places where you can be active in your community
- In time, increase your capacity to direct and manage your own supports
Please note that a Support Coordinator is different from an NDIS Plan Manager. A Plan Manager helps you with the financial side of your plan such an paying bills and budgets, while support coordination is about managing supports and providers.
How do I get a Support Coordinator included in my NDIS plan?
The NDIS funds three levels of support coordination:
- Support connection – this helps you connect with informal, community and funded supports, so you can get the most out of your plan and live more independently.
- Support coordination – help with understanding and implementing your funded supports, so you can reach your goals and be included in your community.
- Specialist support coordination – the highest level of support coordination, this is for people who have complex situations and require specialist support. A Specialist Support Coordinator will be a qualified practitioner, such as an Occupational Therapist, Psychologist or Social Worker.
To receive funding for a Support Coordinator, you need to have support coordination included in your NDIS plan, as not everyone receives this support.
Ask your Local Area Coordinator or your NDIA Planner for support coordination to be included in your plan.
If you would like help with this, please give us a call on 1300 875 377. We are more than happy to assist and answer any questions you may have.
How do I choose a Support Coordinator?
You have choice over who is your Support Coordinator, so it’s worth taking the time to choose someone who you trust. Qualities to look for include:
- Someone who listens and puts you first – they should respect your decisions and work with you to develop a mix of supports you are happy with.
- Someone dedicated to great service – look for someone who is committed to treating you as an individual and doing their best for you
- Someone who is knowledgeable about the NDIS – they need to understand the scheme’s rules, Price Guide and be on top of any changes that occur
- Someone who is local – if a Support Coordinator is familiar with your area, they’ll be better equipped to connect you to great local services
- Someone who communicates well – the NDIS involves a lot of reporting, so it’s important for your Support Coordinator is a good communicator so they can advocate effectively for you.
Can I get funding for a Support Coordinator if I self-manage my plan?
Yes. Support coordination is separate from plan management, so deciding to manage your own plan has no impact on the decision to fund support coordination.
Can I switch Support Coordinators?
Like with all care and support services, if you aren’t happy with your current Support Coordinator, you are free to change to a different provider. You may have to give some notice before you change, though, depending on the service agreement you signed.
Support Coordination at Home Caring
We believe everyone deserves to have genuine choice and control over their support. Our Support Coordinators treat each client as an individual, working closely with them to develop a plan that helps them reach their goals and enjoy quality of life.
Our experienced team also has a thorough understanding of the NDIS, systems of support and how funding works. We’ll work with you to build your capacity, and help you get the most value from your plan.