About NDIS self-management for your child’s funds
As part of the NDIS planning process for your child, you’ll be asked about how you want to manage your child’s NDIS funds.
You can choose to self-manage your child’s funds.
NDIS self-management can give you flexibility in how you use the funds, who you buy services from, and how much you pay for services. It can be a good option if you live in a rural or remote area, because it means you can choose from more NDIS providers.
The NDIS guide to self-management has more information about self-managing. Your early childhood partner, local area coordinator, NDIA planner or support coordinator can help. You can also get advice and ideas from your local association for children with disability, a diagnosis-specific organisation, and in-person or online support groups.
Getting organised for NDIS self-management
Self-managing NDIS funds takes time, organisation and effort. Getting organised before you start can help self-management go well.
Here are tips:
- Set up a new email address for all communication about your child’s NDIS plan and supports. This can help you keep everything in one place and make it easier to find documents when you need them.
- Set up a separate bank account that doesn’t charge fees, and use it for all your NDIS transactions. You could keep some money in the account to manage any gaps between paying service providers and getting money from the NDIS.
- Establish a system to keep all documentation together. This could include a hard copy folder, a book you take notes in, or an electronic folder.
NDIS plan tracker apps can help you monitor and manage your child’s NDIS funds. These apps are made by third parties, not the NDIS. Some are free, but you need to pay for others.
Choosing supports for self-managed NDIS funds
It’s important to make sure the supports you choose for your child’s NDIS plan are reasonable and necessary, affordable and designed to help your child reach their NDIS goals.
These tips can help:
- Check your child’s plan and make sure you understand how your child’s support budgets work. Your child’s funds are split into 3 separate budgets, each of which has rules about how you can spend the money.
- Refer to the ‘What can I buy?’ page in the NDIS Guide to self-management. It can help you understand what you can buy with your child’s funding. Some parents like to complete and keep the ‘What can I buy?’ page each time they buy a support.
- Speak to your early childhood partner, local area coordinator or support coordinator if you’re not sure whether you can buy a support.
Record-keeping for self-managed NDIS funds
Once you’ve chosen and bought NDIS supports for your child, you need to keep records about these supports.
For each support you buy, you should include a short description of the support and how it fits the support categories and goals in your child’s NDIS plan.
For each support, you also need to include:
- the NDIS provider name and ABN
- support price
- amount of support in hours
- dates your child used the support.
You must keep invoices and receipts for 5 years and employment records for 7 years.
Engaging NDIS support workers when you’re self-managing NDIS funds
When you’re self-managing NDIS funds, you can have various arrangements with NDIS support workers. For example, you can employ support workers directly, or they can be independent contractors or employees of NDIS providers or agencies.
Before you start using a new support worker it’s best to agree on costs and working arrangements. These tips can help:
- Negotiate a price. The NDIS has set prices for some supports, but when you’re self-managing you can negotiate pay below these rates, so long as you pay at least the minimum award wage for the role. If you choose to pay a higher price, keep a record of your reasons.
- Agree on costs. These might include what the worker charges for the support and what extra costs there will be for things like reports or emails, calls to other professionals, travel time and so on.
- Agree on the hours of support your child needs, and make sure you have enough funds to pay for this.
- Establish how you’ll pay the support worker. For example, will you pay for the support and then claim the money back from the NDIS? Or will the support worker invoice you so you can claim the money from the NDIS first?
- Check independent contractors have the right qualifications, insurance and safety checks, like working with children checks and NDIS worker screening checks. You can ask contractors to apply for an NDIS worker screening check, if they haven’t already done so.
- Draw up a simple service agreement that you can use for all support workers. This should include details about the service they’re providing, costs, terms, cancellation arrangements, privacy and so on.
- Consider writing a ‘job description’ that includes a list of duties, expectations about behaviour, confidentiality requirements, communication methods and so on.
Working with the NDIA when you’re self-managing NDIS funds
A good partnership with your early childhood partner, local area coordinator or support coordinator can make self-management easier. Here are ways to build your partnership:
- Keep in touch with your main NDIS representative. For example, you could send regular emails to stay in touch or share a success story about your child.
- Follow up if you’re waiting to hear from the NDIA. For example, call or email to check on where things are up to. This can help if you’re waiting for NDIS access, a planning conversation or the outcome of a plan reassessment.
- Let the NDIA know if there have been any changes to your child’s needs or circumstances. Your NDIS representative can help you work out whether you can use the funds in your child’s budget differently to suit the changes or whether you need to request a change to your child’s plan.