Plan Nominees & Guardians
People who live with a disability or those that care for them have a world of bureaucracy and paperwork to navigate in order to secure their needed supports when participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The many designations, levels, categories, and processes of the various supports available can make even an experienced navigator dizzy. It’s important that participants and their loved ones have the support they need to manoeuvre in this system and make the most of their planning and funding opportunities, including NDIS plan management.
Plan nominees and guardians are terms used when an individual has designated another person to make decisions on their behalf.
Plan nominee is a term used by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), while
guardian is a term used in legal proceedings, though both refer to exercising decision-making capacity on another’s behalf.
Whether you’re new to the workings of the NDIA or you are just looking to explore the care and support options available to you or your loved one, Maple Community Services is here to help. We have the experience and expertise to walk you through the process of designating nominees or guardians if necessary and ensure your support needs are met.
What are plan nominees and guardians?
Plan nominees and guardians are important concepts, particularly for those involved in the provision of or receiving of support and care services. A plan nominee is one designation of nominees within the NDIS. In general, an NDIS nominee is a person designated to act on behalf of the participant for a specific or multiple areas of concern. Meanwhile, a guardian is a legally designated representative of an individual for legal and non-legal matters depending on the scope of their authority. A guardian is not automatically designated as a nominee for matters involving the NDIS, but they can be if they are so designated through the appropriate channels.
If an NDIS participant is under the age of 18, they will require a guardian to make final decisions, though a guardian’s decisions should take into consideration the needs and goals of the participant, no matter how old they are.
What is a nominee under the NDIS?
The NDIS has multiple classifications for nominees and their roles in evaluating information and making decisions on behalf of a participant. The main designations are as follows:
A plan nominee is a person that is designated by a client or a concerned party to manage aspects of a participant’s disability support services, wellness strategy, and relevant finances. Plan nominees are the broadest category of nominees to make decisions on the clients behalf and can take on any action that the participant would otherwise take on with regards to their scope of authority.
The scope of authority can be broad enough to include all aspects of a person’s support services including enlisting services, setting goals and developing strategies, reviewing and revising the plan, and managing funds, but it can also be set more narrowly so a plan nominee only has limited responsibilities. A participant can have multiple plan nominees if necessary with different areas of responsibility.
A payment nominee is a subset of the plan nominee. Whereas the plan nominee could potentially hold responsibility for a number of areas related to the participant’s care, the payment nominee is specifically tasked with management of their finances and the payment of funds to the availed service providers. The payment nominee does not have authority over any decisions regarding service providers or the participant’s disability support plan. There can only be one designated payment nominee at a time.
A correspondence nominee, like a payment nominee, is a nominee with a narrowed scope of responsibility, although with a parallel role. Correspondence nominees are tasked with submitting and receiving documents and filings on behalf of the participant, but do not undertake any of the roles of a plan nominee. Their responsibility and the scope of their work is set by appointment as a correspondence nominee, and so can not be narrowed further.
Who can have a nominee and who can be the nominee?
Nominees are essential and empowered allies of their participant or loved one and it’s important that they understand the impact of their role on the care and support team. People living with a disability should as much as possible be enabled to make support decisions on their own behalf. The NDIS recognises that there are circumstances where this isn’t feasible and has thus established the nominee system as a last resort for people unable or unwilling to make decisions for themselves.
How do you appoint a nominee?
In order to appoint a nominee, an NDIS participant may make a request for a nominee and designate a specific person. The CEO of the NDIA may also make a determination that there is a need for a nominee, but this is only done after a careful case-by-case determination of the participant’s functional and cognitive status, ability to make decisions for themself, and need for advocacy or representation.
How do you become a nominee?
A nominee is appointed. They can be appointed by the participant themselves, by the NDIA, or by a designated guardian. Regardless of the appointing party, the nominee has to take responsibility for their scope of interest in the participant’s care as designated in their appointment.
Can a support coordinator be a plan nominee?
A support coordinator can be designated by a plan nominee or a guardian to provide support services to a participant. Normally, the role of support coordinator is separate and distinct from a plan nominee, but a participant can designate whomever they choose as a plan nominee and they will be evaluated for their ability to act on behalf of the participant in an impartial manner and whether or not they have any conflicts of interest. For this reason, a support coordinator can be a plan nominee.
Maple Community Services has worked with the NDIA for NDIS plan participants at all levels and has the experience and know-how to make the most of the system. If you are considering appointing a nominee for some or all aspects of your or your loved one’s care, get in touch with us today to unravel the process and find the right nominee arrangement for your individual needs.