Working out what you can use your NDIS funding for is step one, worthy of it’s own blog post, so we’ve addressed that elsewhere in “Can I Buy It?”
Breaking the funding down into a budget so you can get the most out of it, and make it last the length of your plan, is another thing entirely. And let’s face it, it’ s not everyone’s cup of tea… In fact, we’re pretty sure you’d much rather be having an actual cuppa than doing a budget!
If you’re lucky enough to have good Support Coordinator they can do this with you. We have a host of different tools that can be used to work out how to make sure your funding does what it needs to. As well as helping you plan your supports and source providers, we’ll help you understand provider service agreements and can check that you have enough funding to cover unexpected costs that the NDIS may not have factored in (provider travel, reports and non-face-2-face supports). We know the NDIS Price Guide inside-out, so we can help you find all the details you need to work out your budget and get the most out of your funding.
If you don’t have a Support Coordinator, your Plan Manager may be able to help you out with this. We may not have the scope to build a custom budget for you, but if you come to us with an outline of what you hope to achieve and expect to use, we can definitely confirm for you that you’ll have enough funds. You can also pass on your provider Service Agreements so your Plan Manager can make sure funds are blocked out the way you want for your supports, and raise any flags for higher than expected funds use.
When you’re working out how many hours of support you can access from your funding, you need to keep in mind that there may be extra expenses that the provider will bill you for that also need to be taken into account – this is why having a service agreement in place is so helpful. It provides transparency for both parties, so you don’t have any unwelcome surprises and can understand exactly what you are paying for. Most providers can charge for their travel time, for the number of kms (non-labour charge), for report writing and for non-face to face time. There are rules around claiming for these, which your Support Coordinator can explain, and which your Plan Manager should understand. We always flag if we have any concerns about how a provider is billing you.
Some tools that may help you work out your budget:
- The NDIS’ Support Organiser – not for the fainthearted, or for those who aren’t comfortable with spreadsheets, and you’ll need to be able to find your way around the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Guide. Maybe a good one to work on with your Support Coordinator.
- This is an online calculator where you can add in the supports you want to build out a budget – it is pre-filled with the data from the NDIS Price Guide, you can download a copy of what you’ve put in.
- Another online calculator with a slightly simpler, different layout.