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Partnering with participants – Q6

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Panel members

How can providers (e.g., allied health, accommodation etc) support their clients with budgeting? What can a provider do to set their clients up for success from the outset, so their NDIS plan funding is available for continued supports?

KW – Not ask for the plan and provide a quote based on the total funding available, as this limits access to other therapists/supports.

Explain the options – such as allied health assistant, having a support worker implement to maximise the capacity building etc.

DB – Working out a budget together from the start so the person is clear how many hours of support they can access per week in each category.

Once this is established, encouraging providers to put in service bookings with the plan manager so the person can see how much funding is being used and remains for the life of the plan.

Also, regularly logging into the plan manager portal together and reviewing the budget and working toward the person having the confidence to do this on their own.

EH – Service providers have a responsibility to work with participants to ensure that the support they provide is within budget and will meet their needs. The best way to do this is to work with the NDIS participant and their supports to create a service agreement that outlines the support they will receive, the frequency of that support, and the total cost of all the services they will deliver.

One of the most difficult issues that participants have for managing a budget is invoicing. This is especially an issue towards the end of a plan as participants will typically be receiving higher bills than normal, especially for capacity building supports due to reports.

The easiest way for this to be managed is prompt and up to date invoicing. I regularly see providers invoicing more than a month after the service has been delivered – this really becomes an issue when invoices are more than three months old. I have even seen invoices that have been more than two years old being sent for the first time – this causes both stress for the participant and the provider and can take a long time to get resolved and paid – if it can be paid at all.

ZD – Before providing services for any participant, the allied health/accommodation/support worker providers should have either spoken to the participant/carer or support coordinator to find out exactly how many hours/funding dollars they have for their service in their NDIS plan, how long the participant has left for their current plan, their current plan budget for that support service (amount they have left), and the participant’s NDIS goals.

Then, the provider must calculate how many hours of support they can give that participant to remain within the participant’s plan budget, leaving them with continued support throughout their entire plan.

If the provider recognises that the participant requires increased hours to reach their full potential to achieve their NDIS goals, then please contact the support coordinator to see what they can do to help gain extra funding.

AT – Good question, unfortunately I’ve come across too many money hungry allied health and accommodation providers so I work with the participant to manage their funding well and will question service providers before invoices are paid.

I had an incident with a service provider which was ridiculously and extremely money hungry and are unfortunately involved in fraud. The participant is no longer with them and will be taking legal action against them. I’ve been able to contact the plan manager to put their invoicing to a stop immediately and will be putting in a complaint to the Commission.

You have to be so careful out there because so many participants are being taken for a ride because they don’t how to manage their plan or their budget and rely on dodgy providers to do the right thing when they’re not. Makes me sick.

Click here for question 7.

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