Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Successfully self-manage your NDIS plan using First2Care
If you’ve chosen to self-manage, or self-direct your NDIS plan, you’re probably now looking at your future on paper and thinking, “How do I manage all of this?”
While taking ownership of managing your plan gives you greater control, it also means you’re responsible for:
Implementing your plan and purchasing supports
Negotiating your service agreement (or getting help from your LAC or support coordinator to help you)
Managing your funds
Claiming and paying for supports
Keeping adequate records of your receipts, invoices and service agreements
Meeting obligations as an employer and more
First2Care is a step-by-step self-management software built to guide and support you, building your capacity to succeed on your NDIS journey. Read on for a rundown on how First2Care can be the NDIS self-management guide you need to succeed and reach your goals.
GOOD TO KNOW: Choosing self-management is about gaining more control over your plan, and therefore, your life. You’ll pick up a few more responsibilities if you go down this road, so we recommend checking out the pros and cons of self-management before you lock in.
How do I implement my plan?
First, add your plan to the app. Simply head to ‘NDIS Plans’ in the toolbar, select ‘My Plans’. Click ‘Add a Plan’, give it a name, enter in a start and end date, hit ‘Save’ and you’re done!
You’ll be taken to a page like the one below. You can find your current plan again under ‘NDIS Plans’ from the main menu again.
Here you’ll see space to add your Service Agreements, Support Budget, Goals, Payees and Invoices.
Let’s go through each one.
Building your capacity with this NDIS self-management guide
1. Service Agreements
When you engage a Provider, they’ll draw up an NDIS Service Agreement that outlines how they’ll deliver the supports and services you need to achieve your NDIS goals.
You can store your Service Agreement securely within First2Care to keep a record of all the agreements, and the costs associated with them in the same place. First2Care will use the information in these agreements to show how they impact your funding. You’ll be able to see if you can afford to enter into another agreement, or whether the costs will blow your budget.
Select your Provider from the dropdown list, or add them with the ‘Add Provider as Payee’ button if they’re not there.
Follow the prompts to input the details of your Agreement, such as the period over which you’ll receive those supports (usually 3 – 6 months), and how much it will cost.
Complete the ‘Description of Supports’, which should be on your Service Agreement already, and therefore just be a matter of cutting and pasting. It is part of the negotiation between you and the provider, and will include:
How, when and where you’d like your supports to be provided
When and how your Service Agreement will be reviewed
How any problems that arise will be dealt with
Your responsibilities under the Service Agreement – such as letting your provider know if you can’t make an appointment
Your provider’s responsibilities under the Service Agreement – such as how they’ll work with you to deliver your supports, so you can achieve your goals in a way that suits you
If you’re engaging a Service Provider, they’ll have some standard ways of describing their supports – but you should know that you can negotiate these terms before signing the agreement.
Or, if you hire support staff directly, you might choose to enter into a self-management Service Agreement (like an employment agreement) with these carers. In this case it’s helpful to consider what hours you need them to work (or be available) and on what days of the week.
The document includes the date the agreement will expire, as well as the descriptions of supports you need (see above). The best part is, you’re in control and can negotiate an agreement that suits you.
TIP: Don’t forget to hit the big green ‘Save’ button at the bottom of each section before you leave the page.
2. Support Budget
This is where you add the Support Budgets from your approved plan. You can find all this information in your approved plan paperwork.
By adding it here, you’ll be able to view and track your spending throughout the year, to ensure you don’t go over budget.
Simply add the amount you’ve been funded under each Support Category, complete the start and end dates of your plan, and the purpose for each in your plan.
The funds are broken down in the same way your plan is. Take note of the list of items you might claim or purchase that appears on the right. This will help you understand what you can pay for with your funding, so you can implement your plan faster.
For each item you tick, matching providers will appear who offer those items or services. Click to contact. Simple.
Organising your invoices is crucial when self-managing your plan, as it’s up to you, the participant, to prove to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) that the funds are being used for NDIS-related purposes, and to pay your providers.
By storing invoices in the same location as all your other NDIS information, you can keep a record of your spending in real time, using the Budget Detail Report from within First2Care. We’ll touch on this more soon.
Add your invoices by entering the details into First2Care, and upload them into the secure Document Vault to keep all your NDIS paperwork together.
If you’ve funded any part of the service yourself, factor that into the invoice be adding the amount you paid in ‘What amount was self funded’ section.
Other details include the date the invoice was issued, its due date, the appropriate Support Category from the dropdown menu (which should be on your invoice – if not, you’ll need to contact your provider) and the invoice number.
Uploaded invoices will be recognised and automatically be tagged – making them easy to find inside First2Care for your review or audit.
Your goals are the most important aspect of your NDIS journey. As part of your planning meeting, your NDIA planner will create a ‘goals and aspirations statement’ to summarise why you’ve been given the funding you have.
By breaking these big statements into smaller, more manageable tasks, you can more easily make progress towards achieving these goals. And you’ve got a record to show the NDIA at review time.
You’ll notice your ‘Plan’ and it’s ‘Start’ and ‘End Dates’ are prefilled to make sure you're adding details to the correct plan. If the plan selected is wrong, go back to ‘NDIS Plans’ in the blue menu at the top of the page, and edit the correct one under ‘My Plans’.
Separate ‘Start’ and ‘End Dates’ are provided for individual goals – in case you want to use First2Care to track personal goals.
Select your goal category. The categories will match those from within your NDIS Plan. You can copy and paste your goals directly from your plan or Pre-planning Template inside First2Care or break them down further. It’s up to you.
Describe your goal thoroughly. For example: “I want be able to communicate more clearly, to lead a fulfilling social life, so that I can feel valued. I want to build my volunteering or employment opportunities in my community and be able to communicate with customers and other staff effectively, so I can advocate for my needs.”
Now, break your goal down further using ‘Add an activity or task’.
For example, if you are working with a speech therapist to help you build your communication skills, you might add in each of the exercises they want you to practice.
You would change the progress from ‘Not started’ to ‘Started’, and when you’ve mastered the task, you’d mark it ‘Complete’. You can even invite your therapist in to collaborate and help you with these goals.
Break your goal down into as many tasks as you need to. There’s no limit.
Your progress will appear at the bottom of the page.
IMPORTANT: Write down both your NDIA-funded goals, and your personal ones. Remember that the NDIA will be interested in what your current life looks like at your next review, and having both will help them get a better idea of your situation.
Your ‘Statement of Outcomes’ is an overview of your progress during your plan. This will help the NDIA determine if your funding went to good use and whether the goal is worth funding in your next plan.
Your providers and therapists can assist you with this. Ask them about a ‘Statement of Outcomes’ for your plan review. You don’t need to complete this until you’re preparing for your next plan.
One of the biggest benefits of First2Care’s service is its networking capabilities. Stay connected to everyone who is supporting you throughout your NDIS journey by adding them to the ‘Payees’ page. This way, you’ve got a central record of all their details – accessible at any time.
Add Payees’ contact and business details to the system and they’ll be waiting in the dropdown list of ‘Service Agreements’ and ‘Invoices’ when you need them.
Tracking your spending and progress
Stay on top of your spending by checking real-time, printable reports that show how much you’ve spent, so that you can make sure you’re on target.
Check and download a copy within seconds.
These clear, easy to understand reports will tell you your current financial position and show you a list of your processed invoices. Find them in the menu under the ‘Management’ tab.
Get a list of all your Service Agreements, Statement of Outcomes, and Timesheet Approvals to compare with your bank statement.
Bring them to your plan review meeting so that the NDIA can get an idea of how your funding has helped you over the last twelve months.
When you’ve updated your pre-plan template with your new goals and updated situation for your next plan, print the Planning Workbook from here.
Self-manage your NDIS plan via First2Care’s premium app and take control of your funding and supports. Make it easy for yourself and store everything in the one place, ready for when you and your NDIS connections need it.
Sign up to our free 30-day trial (no credit card required), and take control of your NDIS plan today.
Over to you
Are you feeling daunted at the prospect of implementing your own plan? Or are you well on your way and found it easy? Let us know in the comments below.