We’ve had a few enquiries lately from customers who have had their plan approved and are confused about what options they have to get started. As well there is a degree of confusion about three of the services available to assist them and how they can help. We have defined the roles of the main people who may at some point be involved in the plan process. These are the Support Coordinator, the Plan Manager and the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) and we’ve defined these below:
As an NDIS participant, you become responsible for getting started, understanding your plan and its budgets, and finding and connecting with supports and services in your community to achieve the goals in your plan. A Support Coordinator is someone who could be funded separately in your NDIS plan to help you do just this. They must also be a person or provider who is registered by the NDIA to provide this service.
The official definition of Supports Coordination by the NDIA is:
‘Assistance to strengthen participants abilities to coordinate and implement supports and participate more fully in the community. It can include initial assistance with linking participants with the right providers to meet their needs, assistance to source providers, coordinating a range of supports both funded and mainstream and building on informal supports, resolving points of crisis, parenting training and developing participant resilience in their own network and community.’
Plan Management is one of the ways you can manage your NDIS funding package.
Remember there are three options:
- Manage your own funds (self-management)
- Get a professional to do it (plan-management)
- Let the NDIA do it (agency-management)
- A combination of the above.
Again, you will need to say in your planning meeting how you want to manage your NDIS funding package. A Plan Manager can help with the financial tasks of a plan. For example, organising providers and their payments, processing of claims and invoices and tracking of budgets. They may also do some tasks like a supports co-ordinator does – for example, liaising with providers and perhaps trouble-shooting. They are also paid separately in your NDIS plan to do this. They must also be a registered provider.
Like self-management, if you plan-manage your funds, you can use any provider you think will help you achieve the goals in your plan. They don’t need to be registered. Choosing a Plan Manager can be a great way of getting the benefits of self management, but with someone to assist with the financial side of things.
Local Area Coordinators (LAC)
An LAC may be the person you meet with during your first planning meeting, and then perhaps afterwards.
Because of the large number of people coming through the NDIS, 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. Only the NDIA has authority to create an actual plan with dollars against it.
The NDIA has also said that a number of people will be allocated an LAC to help them implement their plan, and perhaps this will be for people they think only need a small amount of help to get started – not for those who need Supports Coordination.
LACs do not work for the NDIA. In NSW, St Vincent de Paul and Uniting are the organisations that received funding to do this
Got it? Here’s a summary…
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.
As always if you need any advice or help on any NDIS matter you can give Simon a call at Northside on 1300 134 332