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sgpmum

NDIS Plan - Self Manage vs Agency Manage

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sgpmum

Dear all 

This is our 3rd NDIS plan and we have always been agency managed.

What are the pros and cons of each of them?

I'll start with mine 

Agency Managed

PRO 

1. no worries for payment as all invoices are paid through them 

2. no worries of unintentional misuse of fund (all services/ purchases are approved and under NDIS guidelines)

CON

1. can only use NDIS registered providers (can be costly)

 

Self Managed

(I can only guess - never walk down that path)

PRO

1. Flexibility to use non NDIS registered providers (can be cheaper and your money goes further)

 

CON

1. You need to pay for the services and subsequently reimbursed by NDIS (heard different stories - some said quick, some said slow)

2. Need to do book keeping and maintain records (in case NDIS wants to check) 

3. Unintentional misuse of fund (e.g. purchase of laptop - allowed or not- i am still very confused)

 

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~Jolly_F~

We are self managed and I wouldn’t do it any other way, it’s so so easy!

You don’t need to pay upfront for services when self managed. I certainly don’t. I get issued an invoice, make the claim Then pay. 

I keep an excel spreadsheet and all the invoices are in a folder.

Not had any issue with unintentional use of funds, if I can make it work with in our goals, I do it!

It takes me maybe 10 minutes a week to self manage and gives me much greater flexibility. 
 

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ImperatorFuriosa

Agency managed from day dot. My youngest DS has so many bloody therapists I would be falling apart at the seams trying to run the circus smoothly.

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CrankyM

We are half and half. Well sort of. Support worker budget and support coordinator are agency managed. It's great that I don't need to worry about invoicing etc etc. In saying that I find it irritating to get updates on budget and hours as they only claim monthly.

Capacity building is self managed. We only use two clinics though (one speech, other is psych/OT and has physio if needed). I don't have any issues. They invoice me, I claim and then pay them Funds are usual in the bank next business day. We use a separate account so I don't have to worry about it getting mixed up etc.

I like having a clear picture of how much money is left and use a spreadsheet to predict when it will run out, how many weeks of our usual therapy load is left and I record all the invoice details, dates of therapy services and date I made the claim. All invoices and payment receipts are sent to an email address I set up just for NDIS so if I get audited, it's alllll there. I file them in the year for each plan. It takes maybe 20 mins a week? Only irritation is one clinic which can be slow at invoicing me and I have to chase them.

ETA: Our speech therapist isn't NDIS registered. It's too expensive for her. The other clinic is. Funnily enough they are the ones I constantly need to chase invoices for or tell them that their invoices are wrong.

Edited by CrankyM

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literally nobody

Self managed here and wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t see how you’d unintentionally misuse the fund money, I ask before buying anything. it’s a yes or a no.

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Kirralee2015

I work for a non-NDIS registered allied health professional who provides therapy services to families.  About 98% of our families are self-managed and find it easy - according to those that discuss it with us. In the majority of cases, we issue invoice/s weekly, family submits invoice/s to NDIS and they receive payment within 24 hours (usually) and then they pay us. Those clients who see us only once a week tend to pay on the spot and seek reimbursement from NDIS and the money is there overnight. 

I know quite a few who use excel spreadsheets to keep track of funding, monies spent, who with, etc and keep invoices in expandable folders with a slot for each service provider.  They also maintain a separate bank account for funding, payments, etc.

Edited by Kirralee2015

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jessiesgirl

I am plan nominee on two NDIS plans.  One is for someone who  lives  in an SDA who goes to disability specific day placements. The SIL funding runs into a hundred something thousand, I would never self manage this, too many providers and weekly invoices etc.  The other is a much smaller plan, and I find the flexibility of being able to use non NDIS providers worthwhile.  
for person number 1, we moved some of the funding to plan managed last review, as our support coordinator believed there is better visibility of remaining budget, but it is early days yet, so I can’t comment. Might that be an option?

ETA, as amica points out below, I think the better visibility of funds was relevant only because of the different budgets In this person’s plan. If it’s a fairly simple plan you’re managingmostly capacity building, then the plan management may not be worth it.

i have found the non registered NDIS providers (Allied health) I used for person 2 are much more expensive than the gazetted (or whatever it’s called) NDIA prices, so in my experience that isn’t a pro.

Edited by jessiesgirl
Extra info

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Amica

I self manage multiple plans. We agency managed for the first 2 years but I started self managing late last year and we'll never go back. It is quick, easy and hassle free... even for several plans at once. I would never consider plan managed personally. Way more work if you ask me with people paying themselves far too much money to do very little. 

Edited by Amica

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Hollycoddle
58 minutes ago, ~Jolly_F~ said:

We are self managed and I wouldn’t do it any other way, it’s so so easy!

You don’t need to pay upfront for services when self managed. I certainly don’t. I get issued an invoice, make the claim Then pay. 

I keep an excel spreadsheet and all the invoices are in a folder.

Not had any issue with unintentional use of funds, if I can make it work with in our goals, I do it!

It takes me maybe 10 minutes a week to self manage and gives me much greater flexibility. 
 

This is us as well.  Except I don't bother with an Excel spreadsheet because you can access a list of all of your payment requests in the portal.  Unless you just want to keep your own separate record as a backup.

 

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CrankyM
10 minutes ago, jessiesgirl said:

i have found the non registered NDIS providers (Allied health) I used for person 2 are much more expensive than the gazetted (or whatever it’s called) NDIA prices, so in my experience that isn’t a pro.

Depends on the area. My non registered Speech is way less then my NDIS registered one. The NDIS registered clinic charge the absolute cap they can including the remote area loading of 40% for where I live. The speechie doesn't. So for us that is $190/hr vs $271.35/hr

I will say if it was a situation where the budget was significant, I wouldn't self manage. But my situation is fairly simple for my child in the scheme of things. We only have a support worker, capacity building and support coordinator budget. And only one of those is self managed to allow me the flexibility to use different therapist. I deliberately opted for the support worker budget to be agency managed because I didn't want to deal with the paperwork for that side of things (and we use an agency support worker). It's about assessing your capacity.

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jessiesgirl
7 minutes ago, Amica said:

I self manage multiple plans. We agency managed for the first 2 years but I started self managing late last year and we'll never go back. It is quick, easy and hassle free... even for several plans at once. I would never consider plan managed personally. Way more work if you ask me with people paying themselves far too much money to do very little. 

I think plan management has its place, ageing parents caring for disabled adults, or for people with no family support and limited organisational skills for example, I think there have long been organisations that did this job with managing ISPs.  I have some scepticism around it too though.

Edited by jessiesgirl
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CrankyM
2 minutes ago, Hollycoddle said:

Except I don't bother with an Excel spreadsheet because you can access a list of all of your payment requests in the portal.  Unless you just want to keep your own separate record as a backup.

My excel spreadsheet includes a prediction pattern allowing me to know when funds are going to run out... That is the main reason I use it. That and I find the payment request list annoying to filter through when I can see the payments on one page in my spreadsheet.

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Amica

Oh for sure, it has it's place but def not for us. A friend said they plaid their plan manager 4k in 2019 and they didn't do anything! They recommended one service for her 7 year old daughter once that was aimed at people in the 50s and 60s! Managing 4 plans has stolen about half an hour of my life all up in almost 12 months. I've love 4k to do that! My friend's plan manager was only looking after 1 plan. Unreal. 

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notorico

We recently changed from agency managed to self managed.  Basically because the agency I was using for one on one support for my son treated the carers terribly so he now contracts directly to us which saves money and gives us a lot more flexibility. Once we looked into it for my sons carer we also decided to do the additional supports (domestic help) as well because I could get them cheaper saving the NDIS money. I feel the less we use the more available for others. 

It really isn't a lot of work. When I get an invoice I submit it to NDIS the next day the money is in the account to pay the provider. 

 

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But seriously

I use an invoice payer which is funded for - and there is no requirement to use NDIS people for support work

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Lees75
5 hours ago, Amica said:

Oh for sure, it has it's place but def not for us. A friend said they plaid their plan manager 4k in 2019 and they didn't do anything! They recommended one service for her 7 year old daughter once that was aimed at people in the 50s and 60s! Managing 4 plans has stolen about half an hour of my life all up in almost 12 months. I've love 4k to do that! My friend's plan manager was only looking after 1 plan. Unreal. 

I think your friend might be confused about the difference between a support coordinator and a plan manager. Plan management is a set fee and is about $102 per month. It is not their job to recommend any services - that is what a support coordinator does. It is the plan managers role to literally process all the invoices. For plans with a lot of therapies and invoices, the $102 per month doesn't end up being a very high hourly rate at all. 

I am a registered provider and see participants with all 3 plan management options. From a provider perspective:
1.  I like agency managed because the funding is guaranteed once a service booking is made, but I hate the time it takes me to use the portal. It is a very frustrating billing system. It is also generally easier to get participants the low-cost AT items they require, as the equipment stores don't argue, like plan managers.  When requesting large AT items, it can also be better to have your capital budget agency managed, as you won't necessarily require a full plan review to get the items added in. 

2. Plan managed - I like that I don't have to go on the portal!  Don't like them thinking they are the gate-keepers to the money and trying to tell me and the participants what is and isn't appropriate from an equipment prescription point of view. I also don't like that some plan managers have to be chased and chased for payment. 

3. Self-managed - once again, I like that I don't have to go on the portal and can just fire off an invoice. Much easier to work with to get low cost AT items in place. On the other hand, I am a little wary, as I have lost money with participants who probably shouldn't have been self managing in the first place and didn't actually have the funding to pay my invoice. Yes, I could send it to a debt collector, like any other business would, but it is not something we usually have to do with in the health/disability sector and a lot of our clients can't afford services out of their own pocket. So I wear the loss. At the other end of the scale, there are self-managers who are more than capable, but then get snarky at the fees. My fees are clearly outlined in the service agreement and on the website. Yes, you might find another therapist at a less hourly rate who doesn't charge for emails, but I guarantee you I will end up cheaper overall, as I am efficient, experienced and things get approved. I don't have time to haggle with you. 

Edited by Lees75
Silly Maths error
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IamtheMumma

I do self managed. Have from the start. It is easy and the funds are usually transferred overnight. I have one bank account that is for NDIS only. 

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jojonbeanie

I self manage. I think it's important to set things up for ease of use and follow the advice others have suggested. A separate email for all your NDIS bills so nothing gets lost with your other mail. A separate bank account so that you can track clearly what is going in and out. Set a regular time each week to review your bills to make sure you've missed nothing during the week. Claim when you get the bills and then pay when the NDIS has transeferred the money to your account.

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Wonderstruck

I self manage. We do weekly OT and Physio and intermittent speech therapy. 

We attend, I pay the invoice and that evening I submit the receipt and have the money the next day most times. I save all invoices in a folder on my computer and upload a copy to the portal. 

Our providers schedule regular appointments for the year so it's all scheduled and clear. 

I imagine if your providers allow you could submit to NDIS and then pay your provider but we haven't had an issue with the funds coming through so don't mind paying it and then claiming. 

We find it easy and flexible. We work full time and don't find it too much admin as it's very quick. 

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jojonbeanie

Come to think of it, I do have bills I pay on the spot and then claim back. All of the face-to-face therapy sessions have to be paid on the day of service, so I am out of pocket for those until I claim them back. This can add up if you forget to get right on to them. Also consumables like incontinence products need to be paid up front, depending on who your supplier is. Like @Wonderstruck I also load a copy of my reciepts to the portal. I've heard various arguments that this is unnecessary but I am happy to do it as a backup to my locally saved documents. 

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Charli73

Self managed here too.. we use the same 2/3 therapists so I pay them and the funds are in my account the next day, has NEVER not shown up the next day. 
I keep all my receipts in a folder and now don’t print them out just put email receipt into a separate email folder for them.. 

 

so easy!!! 

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blimkybill
4 hours ago, Amica said:

Oh for sure, it has it's place but def not for us. A friend said they plaid their plan manager 4k in 2019 and they didn't do anything! They recommended one service for her 7 year old daughter once that was aimed at people in the 50s and 60s! Managing 4 plans has stolen about half an hour of my life all up in almost 12 months. I've love 4k to do that! My friend's plan manager was only looking after 1 plan. Unreal. 

That doesn't sound like a plan manager, sounds like a support Coordinator.  Plan managers just pay bills and get about $1200 a year to do so. 

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blimkybill

OP you haven't mentioned the third option, which is plan management.  It's a middle ground that suits a lot of people, as you don't have to claim or pay bills and you can use non registered providers as long as they stick to the price guide. 

I work with lots of families who for various reasons don't have the capacity to self manage. Most of them end up plan managed after a couple of years and it generally works ok. 

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