How do I self-manage my NDIS budget?

There are many advantages to being self-managed on NDIS. However, it does mean you need to do the financial admin yourself. In 3 simple steps, here’s how you can quickly and easily self-manage your NDIS support budget.

There are three ways to manage your NDIS funding – self-managed, plan-managed and NDIS managed. Being self-managed gives the greatest choice in how your funds are used and the greatest flexibility in choosing providers. However, you also have the greatest control and responsibility over the NDIS funding to make sure you are keeping within budget and that expenses are aligned with goals.

Responsibility of self-management

If you manage your own home budget and utility bills, then being responsible for self-managing NDIS funding is within your capacity!

If you are self-managed you’ll need to

  • work out what supports/therapies/items will help you meet your goals in your NDIS plan and be able to justify them
  • find providers or therapists to provide these supports and complete service agreement paperwork with them. This will include sharing your NDIS Plan with them.
  • manage your funding so you get the best out of your available budget.
  • pay for supports and claim for reimbursement through the NDIS portal
  • store invoices for 5 years as a record of where funds have gone and be prepared to provide these in the case of an audit.

What can I spend my NDIS funding on?

This is a popular question, and you’ll often have people tell you what they (or what they heard a friend) managed to buy using the NDIS funding, from ipads to holidays and art supplies. However, one key point to remember is that your funds need to relate to YOUR goals.

You can use your funding to buy items, supports and therapies as long as they

  • clearly link to the goals in your plan. Just because a friend bought art supplies does not mean you will be able to because you’re unlikely to have a goal that requires art supplies! Another interesting point is that you may find fidget toys don’t get covered, as they are now so common (everyone has one) that they aren’t considered goal-specific for disabilities.
  • are good value for money and are affordable within your budget.
  • aren’t things that would be provided by friends, family, or other government services (such as dental, health, hospital, education or public housing). You can’t pay your mum to do your laundry.
  • aren’t personal daily living expenses such as groceries, internet, bills and rent.

If in doubt, check with your Local Area Coordinator.

Step 1. Set up a separate bank account and MyGov

Firstly, set up a separate bank account. This should be pretty quick using your online banking or banking app. Call it something unique like “NDIS”. If you can, transfer a couple hundred dollars in to act as your initial float.

Log into MyGov and link the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) MyPlace service to your account. Follow the steps as prompted. You’ll need an NDIS Activation Code (from your Plan Coordinator or Local Area Coordinator, LAC), your last name and your date of birth.

If you are acting on behalf of your child, you’ll need to select from the drop down at the top which participant you are acting as.

Step 2. Check your plan and NDIS budget

Make sure you know how much you have in the budget, what support categories they are under, and the expiry of the plan (plan review date). You can view this by clicking on ‘Plan’ and then either ‘Support Budget’ or ‘Funding Report’ to get an overview of the budget allocated.

Particularly for the CB Daily Activity (Capacity Building) support category, it can be helpful to plan out your expenses in advance. 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.

Step 3. Claim, Pay, Save Invoices

This may be done in the order claim, pay, save invoice. If you have to pay on the day of the service then it may be pay, claim, save invoice.

Pay: Use your NDIS account (set up in step 1 and hopefully with a float) to pay the service fee on the day of the appointment.

Claim: Log into the NDIS MyPlace app through MyGov and click ‘Payment Request’. Then click ‘Add Payment Request’. Fill in the details of the support date, the support category (if it’s a therapy, it’s probably CB Daily Supports). Add the payment amount, the business or person (e.g. Helpful Kids Psychology) and the description (e.g. Psychology appointment). Click next and follow the prompts to request the payment. You’ll need to have your ‘NDIS’ bank account details recorded first!

Save Invoices: Because you are self managed, you’ll need to keep track of your records and invoices yourself. Most of these will be via email – save them into a folder on your computer. It might help to have a top folder called “NDIS Invoices”, then a folder for the year, then folders for each therapist and expense category. If your invoice was printed out on the day, scan it in using a phone app like Adobe Scan and then save it in the same folders.

Save time on your self-managed paperwork

Batch processing is the best way of saving time on your paperwork. Set aside 20 mins each week, for example, on a Saturday morning. Use this time to pay, claim and save invoices for all expenses/appointments that week. Use your NDIS planner to record each appointment that week, and use the bill tracker at the bottom to track your progress through step 3’s pay, claim and invoice.

Conclusion: 3 simple steps to self-manage your NDIS budget

In three simple steps you can manage multiple NDIS budgets at once (yes, even if you have multiple children on NDIS like us!). With very little time (about 20 mins a week) you can track, process, document, pay and claim all payment requests, without ever being out-of-pocket.

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