What it means to self-direct and self-manage your supports, and deciding which feels right for each person/family
One of the great things about the NDIS is the option to self-manage. The Quick Guide explains what this means and how a peer support network might discuss it.
The information on this page is also available as a downloadable Quick Guide, by clicking below. There are PDF and word versions.
Self managing your NDIS plan gives you choice and control over the supports and services you purchase to help you achieve your goals.
This website www.selfmanagedsupports.org.au provides practical information about self-managing your (or your family member’s) supports under a NDIS plan.
Its focus is on people living with disability who self-manage and people who want to work for them. It contains useful information for people considering self-management and directly employing their workers and people who are considering working in these arrangements.
The NDIA has also published a guide on self management. You can download the guide by clicking on the link below. If you would like a copy sent to you, you can contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110.
It is part of our United Nations human rights that people with disability be provided with the opportunity to choose what you want in your life, and decide how you want it. The NDIS encompasses self-directed support by ensuring that the person living with disability is provided with choice and control to live their life how they decide. Self-Directed Support (SDS) means that YOU are directing your supports as you are directing your own life and this concept is captured in the goal focused approach of the NDIS. This discussion topic aims to provide members of your peer support network with an overview of SDS, plan management and self-management as one of the primary plan management options provided by the NDIS which ensures SDSs.
Let’s make it happen
The NDIS is based on the need to ensure people with disability are at the center of their own lives, and therefore they should be central to their supports and plans. This guide provides a series of discussion points and resources on SDS, plan management and self-management principles:
What is Self-Directed Support (SDS)?
Self-directed support, alongside the NDIS and other National Disability Strategy policies, is intended to support, promote and protect human rights and independent living of people with disability who may be care and support users. It aims to ensure that care and support is delivered in a way that supports choice and control over one’s own life and which respects the person’s right to fully participate in society. This can result in personalised supports, and may even entail self-management of the funds. But the essential part is that the PERSON’S NEEDS and WANTS dictate the options utilised, not the service provider model or the system as it has been in many cases historically.
What is an Individually Funded Plan (IFP)?
If you are accepted as eligible for the NDIS, you will have an Individually Funded Package (IFP) which will give an amount of funding to enable you to secure support to meet your life goals. There are many ways of managing this package of fund, or budget. Managing the funding for an IFP means purchasing the supports in the plan, receiving and managing the funding provided by the NDIS and acquitting the funding. In other words, it involves budgeting, keeping records and paying for the support provided by an IFP. One option of plan management is called self-management.
What are some skills you would need to do plan management tasks such as budgeting?
Do you have such skills or have an interest in learning these skills?
What is self-Management?
This is one of the plan management options available for participants to choose within the NDIS. People with disability can choose to manage the funding for their supports from their IFP themselves (or with the support of family and/or friends). This gives more flexibility and a wider choice of providers as they do not have to use only registered support providers. You can also pay more than the maximum price listed in the NDIS Price Guides as long as you don’t spend more than the total budget. There are certainly more responsibilities, but research does show that this is the BEST way to get self-directed supports (as you are managing it all yourself). There are various benefits to having self-management as your plan management option:
- Encourages people to build their skills and take responsibility for their financial management of important parts of their life (IFP).
- Evidence shows those who self-manage have:
- stronger social networks;
- improved well-being;
- o as well as increased social, economic and community participation.
There are also potential areas of concern to consider in this decision. Specific issues are:
- Option is only appropriate if the person has the capacity to do self-management;
- Mistakes may mean delays in support provision and additional monitoring;
- Mistakes made can be expensive for the NDIS to fix;
- If you only want to use registered providers, benefits are less for the person with disability, hence the decision is likely to change.
How can I gain skills if required?
The NDIS offers individuals with disability the opportunity to use some of their existing budget to gain capacity which would enable them to become self-managers of their supports. Some of these questions below (item 5) relate to gaining skills that will be required under the self-management option. This is because if you are self-managing some or all of the funds in your IFP (or Budget), or preparing to transition to self-management, you can choose to purchase supports from your Core Supports budget through a support item called: Self-management capacity building. This could include individual capacity building items related to accounting, such as:
- Developing administrative skills to manage budgets, records, and coordinate services;
- Assistance to source or negotiate the purchase of supports;
- Assistance to explore or find more options to achieve your goals;
- Help to get you ready to directly employ support staff, such as how to recruit, training, manage employment contracts, and your obligations as an employer;
- Advice to support quality and safeguarding standards;
- The purchase of a payroll service to pay support staff;
- Assistance to build and develop community supports.
If you choose to use self-management capacity building support item(s) the funding needs to come from your existing budget. You do not receive additional funding for the self-management capacity building in your Plan.
Who is allowed to self-manage?
To maximise choice and control for participants, the NDIA will (where possible) give effect to the participant's plan management request, including where the participant wishes to self-manage. The NDIA must give effect to a participant's plan management request except where:
- a plan nominee is already appointed;
- a participant or plan nominee is insolvent under administration; or
- there is an unreasonable risk to the participant.
Further information on this is available online at: https://www.ndis.gov.au/operational-guideline/planning/approving-participant-statement.html.
How should I choose?
Selecting between the various plan management options should be based on a variety of factors, and should be an individual choice. It is important to think about your answers to a range of issues when making this choice, including:
- What finance and accounting skills do you have?
- Do you pay your bills on time? (this may illustrate your existing skills)
- Can you review a bank statement and see if there is anything you have not approved? (this may illustrate your existing skills)
- Can you keep and organise receipts, bank statements and other paperwork? (this may illustrate your existing skills)
- Do you want to use your own employed support workers?
- Do you have the spare time to manage your supports?
- How many facets are there to your plan, and how much work will it take to manage?
- Do you want to use non-registered service providers for any aspects of your plan?
- Do you have an interest in gaining skills in banking, invoice payment, account management, accounts, keeping paperwork and alike?
- Does anyone who you trust in your family or friendship group have the skills to do this with you? Are they willing to do this with you?
- Do you have some clear ideas about how you could gain the required skills to work toward full self-management in the future?
- Here are some questions that can help you work out if you are ready to self-manage:
- Can you be firm with someone if you don’t like what they are doing to support you?
- Do you understand which skills you do and don’t have when it comes to filling out forms or handling money, and do you know who to ask for help?
- If you want to hire your own staff directly, do you know what the laws are about hiring your own staff?
This topic can be a complicated area but it an important one in ensuring members of your peer support network can give as much detail as possible to ensure members have self-directed supports and can optimize this by exploring and thinking about self-management.
Where you can find more information
There are online resources about plan management options and self-management available:
- NSW CID has developed a new e-learning tool that will help people get prepared for the NDIS. My Learning Matters provide face to face classes to get people started on their NDIS journey. These sessions will focus on key lesson areas on line such as:
- Choosing a Service Provider
- Community Connections
- Speaking up and your rights
- Managing a budget
People can then go log on at home and work through the lessons online in their own time.
- There are a large number of user guides, factsheets and short films on the NDIS website, including:
- Self-managing budgets in your plan, which provides an excellent overview of self-management including further information on individual capacity building at: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participant/self-managing-budgets.html
- Self-employing support workers (which is possible under Self-Management): https://www.ndis.gov.au/html/sites/default/files/Directly-engaging-my-own-staff.pdf.
- And related topics. Simply use the search button on the NDIS website.
- www.TheGrowingSpace.com.au provides a range of fact sheets on plan management and the options including some great advice about making this decision.
- WAIS Self-Managers Peer Support Group in WA is for people who are self-managing or who are interested to learn about self-managing their plan. Please contact Liz or Susan on (08) 9481 0101 or email email@example.com
Co-authored by Families4Families