Updated: Apr 6
Does the word “budget” make you feel a little anxious? You’re not alone. Many Australians feel uncertain when it comes to managing their finances. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’re new to the NDIS or you already have a plan in place, understanding the types of support budgets you have and how to manage them is important. Having this understanding can help you to maximise your funding, seek the supports you need, and achieve your personal goals.
NDIS budget categories explained
Everyone living with a disability has different needs and goals, which means your NDIS plan is assessed on an individual basis. The NDIS will consider what funding is ‘reasonable and necessary’ based on your needs, your short and long-term goals, and the support provided by family, friends, and other community and government services.
There are three types of support budgets that can be funded in you NDIS plan:
Capacity Building Supports
Core support budgets are aimed to help you in your everyday life. This is the most flexible of the support budgets and has four categories:
Assistance with Daily Life – assisting you personally during the day or night, making household decisions, cooking and cleaning.
Consumables – everyday items and services such as interpreting and translating services
Transport – helps cover costs associated with travel for community-based activities, work or education programs
Assistance with social and community participation – activities or courses that connect and engage you with the community, such as art classes, sporting groups or coaching, peer support, and skill development
Capacity building support budgets cover nine support sub-categories which relate to the short and long-term goals outlined in your NDIS plan. This type of support is not flexible, which means if for example you have funding for ‘Support Coordination’ you cannot use that funding for ‘Finding and Keeping a Job’.
The nine key sub-categories are:
Support Coordination – help harness choice and control from your plan with the skills to connect with, engage and implement your supports
Improved Living Arrangements – gain the support you need to find and keep appropriate accommodation
Increased Social and Community Participation – develop individual life skills, development and training, which might include public transport training and support, developing skills to help you participate within your community, social and recreational activities
Finding and Keeping a Job - access to employment related assessment and counselling
Improved Relationships – for positive behavioural support strategies to reduce behaviours of concern
Improved Health and Wellbeing – e.g. exercise advice you need due to the impact of your disability
Improved Learning – assistance moving from school to further education
Improved Life Choices – having access to training in planning and plan/budget management
Improved Daily Living Skills – therapy aimed at building your capacity to participate in the community or be more independent at home
Capacity support budgets relate to supports such as assistive technology or home modifications. Note: Any funding provided within this budget must be used for its specific purpose. There are two support categories:
Assistive Technology – equipment items for mobility, personal care, communication and recreational inclusion
Home Modifications – to help independence within the home, including rails in the bathroom, stair lift, or ramp access
Understanding the NDIS budget categories, how flexible the categories are and where your funding fits, is the first step to being in control of your NDIS plan.
To spend or not to spend?
Once you know what funding is available to you, it’s time to use it. You’ll need to manage your funding from each category and consider what type of support providers can help you achieve your goals.
Overspending and underspending are two big factors to be considered when managing your NDIS funding.
It can be all too easy to overspend, causing you to go through your NDIS funds too quickly. Overspending could result in a halt in receiving specific supports which could result in the need to pay for these supports out of your own pocket. If this does occur, you can request an early plan review but there is no guarantee of increased funding. Therefore, it is important to ensure your budget is well managed for the duration of your plan.
Underspending also comes with its inherent problems. If you find you have a significant amount of funding left as you approach your next NDIS plan review, the NDIS might decide to reduce your budget in your next plan for these supports. Often underspending is the result of delays in identifying who will provide the supports and delays in the commencement of those supports. This may also impact the supports you can receive in your next NDIS Plan.
To help avoid overspending or underspending, it’s a good idea to be aware of your funding supports and keep track of your finances. If you engage an independent professional Plan Manager, such as First2Care, they will regularly reach out to you and let you know if you are off track – either under or over spending on your NDIS Plan so that you maximise your plan’s budget and you achieve your goals.
Keeping track of your budget
Keeping track of your NDIS funding is very important, but it can take up a lot of time. NDIS Participants have plenty of options to consider when managing their funding. One of those options is employing a Plan Manger.
Plan Management can be included in your NDIS plan funding at no extra cost for you. Having a personalised independent Plan Manager, like First2Care, to take care of the day-to-day administration and financial management of your plan can be a great way to keep you on track. We can manage your finances and keep financial records, give you access to both registered and non-registered service providers, the flexibility and freedom of self-managing without the stress, and overall more control over your NDIS plan.
If you choose to be Plan Managed with First2Care, our team of experienced NDIS professionals will be able to guide you through what is funded and what is not funded in your NDIS plan, organise providers and payments, process invoices, keep track of your funding and expenses and hold your records in one easy-to-access place.
To ensure we offer the very best service and technology at First2Care we have designed our FREE NDIS Plan Management platform for you. This will guide participants through the planning process step-by-step, including pre-planning, plan renewals, monthly budgets and reports, your goals, a Service Provider portal and a Support Coordinator portal, which allows them to view either the status of invoice processing and reconciliations or how your budget is tracking.
Read more about the benefits of working with First2Care as your Plan Manager. Alternatively, register today on our FREE NDIS Plan Management platform, so we can start helping you best manage your plan today.
Read more about First2Care’s Plan Management features.
Over to you
Although budgeting and managing finances can seem daunting, keeping track of your NDIS plan is the key to staying in control and maximising your funding. We would love to hear about your experiences with budgeting, self-management or plan management, and the First2Care NDIS Plan Management platform. Let us know in the comments below.