About NDIS self-management for your child’s 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 providers.
The NDIS guide to self-management has more information about self-managing. Your NDIS early childhood partner, NDIS local area coordinator (LAC), NDIA planner or NDIS 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 NDIS self-management go well.
Here are some 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. You might be able to include the cost in your child’s NDIS plan.
Choosing supports for self-managed NDIS funds
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 (PDF 812kb). 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 NDIS early childhood partner, NDIS local area coordinator or NDIS 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. This includes records of:
- NDIS service provider names and ABNs
- support prices
- amount of support in hours
- dates your child used supports
- support types and how they fit the support categories and goals in your child’s NDIS plan.
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 service 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. Or you might decide to offer a higher rate if the support worker is a specialist or you live in a rural or remote area where your provider might have to travel further. If you choose to pay a higher price, keep a record of your reasons.
- Be clear about the costs – what’s included and what will cost extra. For example, support workers will charge extra to write reports for your child’s plan review, and for emails or calls to other professionals, travel time and so on.
- Find out how many hours of support your child will need so you can make sure you have enough funds to pay for the support.
- 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. It can also be a good idea to check your household insurance to see whether you’re covered if a support worker is injured in your home.
- Develop a simple service agreement that you can use for all support workers. This should include details about the service they’re providing, 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. For example, you might want to say that you expect providers to be non-judgmental and respectful of difference.
Children and Young People with Disability Australia’s guide to employing your own staff explains recruitment, legal requirements and employer obligations. It also includes a job description template, letter of engagement template and home safety checklist.
Working with NDIS support workers and service providers when you’re self-managing NDIS funds
Good partnerships with disability professionals, NDIS support workers and NDIS service providers help your child get good support. Here are some ways you can start building a good partnership:
- Share information about your child, including their strengths, interests, favourite play activities and so on.
- Tell the support worker or service provider what they need to know about your family to provide the best service for your child. For example, if you’re a rainbow family, you might tell the provider about who’s in your family, what your child calls you, what pronouns you use and so on.
- Tell the NDIS support worker or service provider how you want them to communicate with you. For example, you might want everything in writing via email.
- Be ready to advocate for your child. If you need to speak up for your child, it’s a good idea to write down what you want to say beforehand. Try to focus on solutions, stick to facts, ask questions and make suggestions rather than demanding things.
Most of the time you and the provider will be able to sort out disagreements or other concerns. If you can’t, or you don’t feel comfortable speaking with them, you can contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to make a complaint about an NDIS provider.
Working with the NDIA when you’re self-managing NDIS funds
A good partnership with your NDIS professional can help your child get good support from the NDIA. Here are some ways to build your partnership:
- Keep in touch with your NDIS early childhood partner, NDIS local area coordinator or NDIS support coordinator. For example, you could send regular emails to stay in touch or share a success story about your child. Keeping in touch with your NDIS professional will help you build a good relationship with them.
- 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 be really useful if you’re waiting for NDIS access, a planning meeting or the outcome of a plan review.
- Let the NDIA know if there have been any changes to your child’s needs or circumstances. Your NDIS early childhood partner, NDIS local area coordinator or NDIS support coordinator 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 apply for a review.