This is the second post of our six-part series on confusion-clearing and myth-busting pieces about the NDIS. As we said in the first post, What’s going on with the float for people who self-manage their NDIS funds, please respond in the comments or contact us if you’ve been given different advice from the NDIA!
This is another confusion-clearing piece – this time about the difference between Supports Coordination, Plan Management and Local Area Coordinators (LACs).
Similar in some ways to Case Management, Supports Coordination is when someone helps you to implement your plan, get started and find services and supports in your local community. Like a good partner!
You can find more information about Supports Coordination in our Mixed Messages: My First Plan (and How Do I Help People to make the most of their Planning Meetings blog on LinkedIn. If you think you need Supports Coordination, you will need to discuss needing assistance for implementing your plan in your planning meeting with the NDIA or your LAC.
Plan Management is a funding management option, and is one of these three options: You can self-manage your funds, have the NDIA manage them for you, or you can use a financial intermediary called a Plan Manager. Again, you will need to say in your planning meeting how you want to manage your NDIS funding package – and you can choose a mix of these options in a way that best suits you.
There are pros and cons to all of the options – the main thing to consider is that if you use the NDIA to manage your funds, you can only use registered providers. This means that if the OT you love, the local personal trainer or Jim’s Mowing isn’t registered with the NDIA, you won’t be able to use them. If you self-manage or plan-manage your funds, you can use any provider you choose.
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We feel that Self- or Plan-Management with some hours for Supports Coordination makes a really good mix for flexibility and assistance to help you get the most from your plan. If you are unsure about Self-Management but want to learn more, you should discuss that in your planning meeting so that the planner may consider providing some hours for you to learn and consult with people who know more about these options and can provide training, etc.
Here is more information from the current NDIS Legislation about Plan Management (emphasis added):
3.2 A participant is able, during the planning process, to make a plan management request that specifies who the participant wishes to manage the funding for supports under the plan. The plan must specify that the funding is to be managed wholly, or to an extent specified in the plan, by any of the participant, a registered plan management provider, the Agency or the plan nominee.
In other words, you can:
- Manage your own funds (self-management)
- Get a professional to do it (plan-management)
- Choose someone yourself (‘plan nominee’). The only instance where you wouldn’t choose your own ‘plan nominee’ is if you have a guardian – in which case, the guardian will be automatically appointed as your nominee
- Let the NDIA do it (agency-management)
- A combination of the above.
Local Area Coordinators (LAC)
In NSW, there are two organisations who have won a tender to provide LAC: St Vinnies and Uniting. An LAC might be the person you meet in the planning meeting. They don’t work for the NDIA – rather, they have been tasked with gathering data and information from people in their planning meetings, and will pass this information onto the NDIA so they can turn it into a plan.
The NDIA has also said that a number of people will be allocated an LAC to help them implement their plan, and we suspect this will be for people they think only need a small amount of help to get started – not for those who need Supports Coordination.
Supports Coordination is when someone helps you to implement your plan, get started and find services and supports in your local community. Plan Management is one of three funding options you can use to manage your NDIS funds, and Local Area Coordinators (LACs) have been tasked with gathering data and information from people in their planning meetings, and will pass this information onto the NDIA so they can turn it into a plan.