Agency-Managed or Plan Managed?
We’re often asked here at Blitzit Plan Manager regarding the benefits of plan management versus agency managed or self managed funding. For those who are considering their options, there are actually quite a few ways to manage your plan:
At your Plan Meeting or Plan Review, you’ll be asked what your choice is for managing your NDIS funding. Some participants opt for a combination of these options, especially as they become more familiar with the NDIS.
What are the key differences?
Agency management means the NDIA is in charge of paying your providers, although perhaps not in the way you might think. Instead of the NDIA collecting your invoices and paying the provider, the provider makes the claim themselves. One their registration is approved by the NDIA, the provider is given an online portal setting up a service booking with the allocated amount agreed upon in the service agreement. Once the provider has delivered this service, they log on to the portal and claim for the service delivered, after which the NDIA releases the funds into the provider’s account. Because of this system, you are limited to using only NDIS-registered providers.
Self management means the participant takes charge of their own budgets and pays the providers themselves. Most self-managed participants are asked to open a dedicated bank account for their NDIS funding in the interest of transparency, in the event of an audit. Also, while self-managed participants have access to a wider range of registered and unregistered providers, providers are not beholden to the NDIS Price Guide and can technically charge as much as they wish. If a participant agrees to pay providers above the suggested price in the NDIS Price Guide, this could and often leads to funds being exhausted much sooner.
Plan management is where a provider helps you manage your budgets and pays your providers, while giving you access to a greater range of choice when it comes to providers. A plan manager has a significant amount of expertise in understanding the NDIS, so not only can a plan manager help you with your funding, but can help you grow your financial skills as well as equip you with necessary information like NDIS plan budget reports.
For instance, with Blizit Plan Manager, you can expect to receive comprehensive monthly statements regarding your expenses, budgets, and balances. You also have the option to access your accounts through the Blitzit Online Portal or through the new Blitzit App on your phone, where you can view the status of your budgets in real time. You’ll also receive prompts through the app for if you’re nearing overspending, prompts through email as you near the end of your plan to ensure you’re making the most of your funding and prepare you for plan review. And that’s just to start!
Each participant chooses how they manage their plan depending on their own circumstances and preferences. Some enjoy the hands-on labour of compiling receipts, filing papers, and the keeping of records that comes with managing their own funding. Many find the NDIS to be quite daunting and feel that managing their own funding would require a level of skill and an amount of time beyond their own capacity, and would prefer to focus their attention on things in life they can enjoy or that can help them toward achieving their goals. For this reason, many opt to leave the NDIS administration tasks to the professionals, and so they choose plan management. The key is to figure out which option works best for you!
If I choose plan management, does my plan manager claim all the items in my support categories for me?
This part is slightly more complex, as certain parts of your plan can remain agency managed due to high costs, specific needs, and other variables. However, as plan managers, we’re well equipped to help you navigate and understand some of these situations as they arise. Here are some key examples of these specific differences:
The Core category of a plan is built as plan managed, which means that your plan managers can only claim for items that come from core supports.
Within the same plan, however, the Improved Daily Living category could be agency managed. This means it is the provider, rather than the plan manager, who will need to claim any support needing to be paid from that specific category.
We’ve often seen participants’ plans that state that the Improved Daily Living category is agency managed. Plan managers cannot produce reports or budget and balances on agency managed categories, so when we receive any invoices related to these, we’re able to communicate this to either the participant or the provider.
- Stated Items
Another situation is in stated items, where certain items, particularly those of high cost, will be built into a plan as agency managed.
We see this quite commonly in the Assistive Technology category. While we plan manage a certain amount, a specific required item like a Power wheelchair is built into the plan for $5000. As the cost is high and the funds allotted for the item can only be used to pay for that specific product, that stated item may be agency managed.
I’m currently self/agency managed and I’d like to switch. How do I do that?
Many participants have their own reasons for wanting to switch to plan management, like wanting more freedom and choice in which providers they use, freeing up their time from paperwork, or would like supports whose prices are capped within the NDIS Price Guide.
If you feel you’d like the hassle-free option of having NDIS experts support you in managing your budgets, paying providers on time, giving you sound advice whenever you need it, and presenting you with tools to make ensure you’re organised, on track and within your budgets, making the switch to plan management is easy!
You can request for plan management to be added to your plan at your Plan Meeting or Plan Review. If you are mid-plan and feel that the change is necessary sooner rather than later, get in touch with the NDIS at 1800 800 110 and they’ll discuss your options with you.
Need more advice?
It’s completely free! We at Blitzit Plan Manager always want you to feel like you’re making the best choices for your own circumstances and needs, so go ahead and give us a call at 1300 966 119 or send us an email at email@example.com. For regular updates on the NDIS and what Blitzit can do for you, sign up for our newsletter here.
Towards the end of your current plan, you’ll be headed toward plan review. This is a great time to think about your plan and whether the budgets have been working in your favour, so that you enter your plan review equipped with all the necessary information to help yourself achieve your future goals.
A stated item indicates a specific support or service with its own allocation in your NDIS plan. When you see a support with the description “stated supports,” it means that this support has funding that cannot be transferred or used for any other purpose other than the specified item.
After your planning meeting, you’ll be issued your NDIS plan based on what was discussed. The plan will include important information that elaborates on who you are, what support systems you currently have, and what you’re trying to achieve through the help of the NDIS, together with information on what funding is available to you.
We previously talked about the perils overspending may pose to your NDIS plan, but what many may not understand is that underspending can also present potential problems down the line.
Now that you have your NDIS funding, it’s time to spend and track it.