Plan Management: a legislative right.
Plan Management is just one of the many elements of the NDIS that are poorly understood.
Like “Self-Managing”, gaining access to competent, professional Plan Management Services gives participants access to the wide range of mainstream and unregistered plan providers that cannot be used if the NDIA manages the plan.
But unlike self-management, a good Plan Manager will free the participant to enjoy the benefits of their funding, participate fully in society and focus on their life goals. Rather than waste valuable hours paying invoices, maintaining bank accounts, chasing up service delivery verification and maintaining evidence for NDIS audits.
My discussions with participants and family members have shown that many believe gaining funding to employ a professional Plan Manager is a privilege. Many believe that it is something they have to argue for and justify. And, most concerning, others believe that Plan Management Services will come at the cost of core elements of their plan.
The reality is that Plan Management is a right of participants coming directly from the NDIS Legislation. Section 43 of the legislation provides that:
“A participant … may make a request (a plan management request) that:
(a) he or she manage the funding for supports under the plan … or
(b) the funding for supports under the plan be managed … by a registered plan management provider he or she nominates; or
(c) the funding for supports under the plan be managed … by a person specified by the Agency.”
Most importantly, the legislation states that: “A statement of participant supports in a participant’s plan MUST give effect to the plan management request”
Not should. Not may. MUST.
The only times the Agency can disregard the participant’s choice are if the participant is insolvent, has a plan nominee or their management of the plan would “present an unreasonable risk to the participant”.
Each option of Self-Management, Agency-Management and Plan-Management may suit different people for different reasons, and at different life stages. What is important is that participants are able to make their own choices based on a full understanding of their options and their rights.
Glenn Campbell is the Founder of LifeFul, a provider of Plan Management and Support Coordination Services.