To achieve your NDIS goals, you need to assemble a great support team. A Plan Manager plays a key role in your support team by – yep, you guessed it - managing your NDIS plan. If you’re not sure what a Plan Manager does, you can check out this article for an explanation and then come back to this one.
Choosing a Plan Manager is often one of the first NDIS-related decisions you’ll make. Of course, it’s always a good idea to shop around before deciding who gets your business in any situation, and Plan Management is certainly no different. The problem is, there are so many options out there and it can be hard to find the perfect fit. To help you make the right decision, we’ve made a list of four important things to think about when looking for a Plan Manager.
1) Personalised service
NDIS participants (especially those on their first plans) will have lots of questions about their plan and budgets, and being able to get these questions answered is really important. Of course, a big part of this is being able to speak with an actual human, rather than an automated answering service – or worse still, never receiving a call back.
It’s important to choose a communicative, responsive provider for this service because invoices need to be paid within certain timeframes and problems need to be resolved quickly. Sometimes with bigger providers, customers can have trouble getting a hold of their Plan Manager, and that can be stressful with a time-sensitive query or request.
However, if you’re confident in your financial acumen and experienced with using the NDIS, a bigger provider with lots of automation might be a great fit for you. People who are new to the NDIS, not confident in using technology, or for whom English is a second language might prefer a provider with a smaller caseload. The level of personalisation that you should look for will depend on your personal preferences and your circumstance.
Additionally, it shouldn’t be difficult to get in touch with your Plan Manager during business hours. If they’re on leave, the provider should appoint someone to step in for that period. Before signing up, it’s worth asking how they will handle these situations.
2) Supportive of choice and control
When learning about different providers, it’s good to see if they are happy to meet with you or speak with you over the phone to discuss their services before signing any paperwork. Not only is this a good way to get a feel for the provider, it’s also a good test to see if they are willing to invest time into you as a potential customer.
If they pressure you to sign-up at the initial meeting (or call), that can be a red flag. A good Plan Manager will encourage you to think about your decision and speak with family or friends about your options – after all, the NDIS is all about giving you ultimate choice and control over your supports.
3) Local community knowledge
If you’re new to the NDIS, not familiar with your local providers, or speak a language other than English at home, you might benefit from a Plan Manager that is familiar with your local community. They’ll have better knowledge of the providers in your area and are more likely to understand your circumstances and barriers. Lots of larger Plan Management providers will have a national headquarters and will be less likely to have this knowledge. If this is important to you, double-check the location of their office (or offices) before signing up.
Also, a local Plan Manager will be more accessible for face-to-face meetings than someone far away or interstate. As we mentioned above, requesting to meet in-person is a good way to get to know a provider.
4) NDIS expertise
Plan Management is a fairly new service in the grand scheme of things. The NDIS was rolled out in most places across 2017-18, so Plan Managers have only existed since then. With this in mind, opt for a provider with a well-established Plan Management service and a team with a strong financial background – this can help you avoid headaches down the track!
Remember: being able to answer your NDIS-related questions is important, but no one knows everything. A good Plan Manager will have a well-rounded general knowledge of the NDIS, and they will try to find out the answers to questions they don’t know off the top of their head. Sometimes, though, your query or request will be more relevant for a Support Coordinator or for the NDIS itself.
Lighthouse Disability are proud to offer Plan Management services from our office in Salisbury, South Australia.
Meet the team or get in touch to arrange a meet and greet where we can discuss your Plan Management needs.