How do I self-manage a NDIS plan?

So you’ve gotten a diagnosis, have an NDIS plan and funding… what next? If you have chosen to self-manage a NDIS plan, you need to manage how to spend the money. This includes finding, choosing and scheduling therapists and budgeting for them.

How do I find and choose a therapist?

Finding a therapist can be a long process. Although you have your choice of any therapist when self-managed, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to find therapy near to home.

Many therapists will book out their calendars a year in advance which recurring appointments. This means finding free appointments during the year can be tricky. However, if you are calling therapists around October/November when their next year calendars first open, you’ll have a greater chance of finding free appointments.

When starting out, it’s worthwhile making a list of therapists in your area. Call up each therapist on your list and ask if they are taking on new clients. Also ask if they have a wait list. Some therapists will say they are not taking on new clients. Cross them off your list. Some places will have wait lists – you will often have to complete New Patient forms and questionnaires up to 10 pages long in order to seek a place on the wait list.

Some will place you on the wait list and on a list to be called in case of cancellations. And what you hope for is one place that will have availability so you can start seeking therapy.

Even if you start somewhere, you can stay on a wait list for a place that’s closer to home, has a therapist with a specialty you are seeking, or if you are looking for a better personality fit for your child.

If you can’t find anywhere with availability, ask about University supervised students or therapists-in-training. These are often cheaper, are easy to access at short notice, and have available spaces during the term.

Use the Therapy Finder page to record your phone calls and responses.

How do I self-manage my appointments?

Once you find a therapist with availability, book all appointments for the year in advance.

Work out how frequently you’ll have appointments. To know how frequently to schedule, balance the;

  • recommendations in the assessment report or in a review/update report. Towards the end of the document it will often suggest certain therapy e.g. speech pathology every fortnight.
  • how often you can manage to hold appointments each week, given your other commitments.
  • the amount of funding you have in your CB budget line and how many appointments that will be able to cover. If you know how frequently you have each therapy appointment, and the cost, you can work out how far your budget will extend. Don’t forget to include the cost of report writing for the review meeting at the end of each plan cycle. This is often 1-2 hours of work for the therapist, at their usual hourly rate.

Use your planner to record the dates of all your appointments that you book. If you call up and request appointments once a month, they can then email you the schedule of appointments as a record.

If you have multiple therapists, allocate them to a particular day and time (morning or afternoon) to avoid clashes. Some will only work on particular days. Others can do home visits or therapy at school/kindy. Sometimes you can get after school appointments or weekend appointments. But not everyone can have appointments at 4pm so be prepared to have interruptions during the day.

How do I self-manage my NDIS funds?

The Claim, Pay, Save Invoice process, along with batch processing your admin, will save you time in managing your funds and paying after each therapy session. Read more in the How do I self-manage my NDIS budget post below.

How do I self-manage my NDIS budget?

Conclusion: How to self-manage a NDIS plan

Setting up therapies for the year can take some time and organisation. But using the Balance Planner helps you schedule the appointments a year in advance when calendars open for the year. The Planner also helps with the admin around paying the bills, claiming and saving invoices as part of managing the budget.

This is the fourth post in the Navigating the NDIS series.

Also see:

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