How to be more independent with your NDIS plan
Independence is a cherished aspiration that resonates with us all. For Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, the pursuit of greater self-reliance is a goal that is not only attainable but actively supported. At Maple, we want to help you to explore how you can achieve greater independence through your NDIS plan.
To be more independent with your NDIS plan, get to know the NDIS and what they offer. Set clear goals so that you can align those services to your objectives. Do your research to identify the best service provider for you, and make sure you keep track of your spending.
From understanding the fundamentals of the NDIS to optimising your support services and even self-managing your plan, we’ll work with you to deliver practical strategies that empower you to take charge of your life. Whether you’re a participant, a family member, or a support provider, we want you to be confident in navigating the NDIS landscape.
How do I get the most out of my NDIS plan?
As humans, we naturally seek a sense of control in our lives. When it comes to NDIS funding, there are numerous elements at play and people at multiple levels. Those people are here to provide guidance and assistance, but it’s equally important for you to gain a deep understanding of your plan. This includes knowing the intricacies of the services available to you, identifying the most effective supports for your unique needs, selecting the service providers that align with your goals, and of course, practising thoughtful budget management.
Get to know the NDIS
The NDIS is a comprehensive support system that offers a wide range of services and supports tailored to your specific needs and goals. Become acquainted with all of the supports and services, learn about all the different funding options and determine whether they are something you need in your budget.
- If you feel you may benefit from Support Coordination to help manage your plan, this is an NDIS funded service.
- If you’d benefit from any of the housing options, explore them and see if it’s something you can add to your plan.
- You may also be eligible for a transportation allowance if you are unable to travel independently.
- If you need assistance at school or your place of work, the NDIS can also help you, your teachers and your employers to provide a safe and accessible environment.
Set clear goals
One of the most important aspects of your NDIS journey is identifying clear short and long-term goals. What do you want to achieve with your NDIS support? Your goals are ultimately what determines how your NDIS plan is implemented.
Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Don’t forget you can periodically review your goals and progress with your support team and make adjustments as and when they are needed.
Choose service providers carefully
When selecting your service providers make sure they align with your goals and values. Do extensive research and reach out to different providers, find out what services they offer, their qualifications and experience. You can seek recommendations and read reviews to narrow down your preferences.
Once you have selected a few local providers that you believe align with your needs, meet with them, ask lots of questions and have conversations about your goals and how they can help you reach them. This should help you to determine the best provider for you. Remember, you can always change providers and seek out new supports that will better suit your needs.
Communicate your needs
Keep open and honest communication with your Support Worker, your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) and your NDIS Planner, if you have one. Be an active advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to clearly express your needs, preferences and any changes in your circumstances.
Keep track of your spending
Even if you’re not self-managing, keeping a close eye on your spending is vital for safeguarding your budget and preventing overspending before the end of your plan period. If you are self-managing you can download a budgeting app, use spreadsheets and even join workshops and courses to learn how to effectively budget and stay on top of your expenses.
Don’t forget the importance of keeping all your receipts and invoices for the services, as these documents may be required as evidence of your expenses when interacting with the NDIS. Feel free to reach out to your support team for advice and learning opportunities.
Use the NDIS price guide
The NDIS price guide is an extremely useful tool for understanding the costs that are likely associated with each support and services available within the scheme. Integrating the price guide into your financial planning will help you to make informed choices about your supports to help you to stay within budget. The NDIS website has all the up-to-date pricing arrangements to help you do just that.
Can I change my NDIS to self-managed?
You absolutely can change your NDIS plan to self-managed if you believe this will grant you greater autonomy. You can even self-manage a part of your plan and have an LAC help you with the rest. You might like to start with self-managing a small percentage of your funding or begin with just your consumables and transport. Then, when you become more confident and capable you can increase your level of plan management as much as you want.
Your support coordinator can help transition to self-management and the NDIS can also provide funding for it. There is a wealth of online resources to guide you in self-management, such as the Self Manager Hub. You can also tap into various workshops, designed to build your expertise in self-management, as well as connect with supportive networks on social media to share tips and tricks.
What is particularly reassuring is that if you do decide to give self-management a try but later decide it isn’t for you, you always have the option to revert back to your previous arrangement or find a new Support Coordinator to help you.
At Maple Services our commitment is supporting individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence within their NDIS plans. Reach out to us today to discover the variety of ways we can do this for you.