Let’s be honest… overspending can happen on occasion. However, when it comes to your NDIS plan, it’s important to keep your plan funding on the right track. Check out some tools and supports you can access and get to know how the NDIA respond to overspending below.
Tools to keep your spending on the right track
When it comes to keeping your plan funding on the right track, there are tools that you can use to help avoid overspending.
Tool #1: Breakdown your budget
When you receive a new NDIS plan (or even if you are part way through a plan), it’s always helpful to breakdown your budgets in the Core, Capital, and Capacity Building Support categories. That way you can know how much funding you have available each week, fortnight, or month (which ever your preference is). Once you know how much funding you have available, it’s important to know what supports you plan to access, how much they cost, and how often you need to access those supports. This can help to ensure you are using your plan as intended and that you are maximising funding without overspending.
If your Core Supports funding is $18,000 for a 12-month (52 weeks) plan and you want to know how much you can spend each week then you need to divide the cost by the number of weeks.
18,000 ÷ 52 = $346.15 per week
If your supports cost $57.10 per hr you can access 6 hrs of support per week.
Core Support funding is flexible so it means you can breakdown your overall funding. If you want to breakdown your Capacity Building Supports (which are not as flexible as the core budgets), rather than taking the overall funding and dividing it, you should look at a specific category within your Capacity Building Supports like Improved Living Arrangements or Increased Social and Community Participation and divide that individual category instead.
If you are unsure about how to breakdown your plan funding, you can always speak with your First2Care Client Manager, and they will be able to help you.
Tool #2: Monthly budget statements
Whether you are plan managed or agency managed, you should receive a monthly statement that details your overall NDIS funding, an overview of where your funding is currently at, any pending amounts, how much funding you have left, and any invoices that have been processed during the month.
At First2Care, we send monthly statements via email (or another nominated method) to our plan managed participants on the first of each month.
Your monthly statements, also sometimes called ‘monthly budget report’, will include:
Total spending to date
Breakdown of your Core, Capital, and Capacity Building supports
Graphs that show your pattern of spending
List of your monthly invoices detailing the service date, invoice number, provider, category, and the total cost
Your monthly budget statements are easy to read and understand and will show your budget, how much you have spent, how much is pending, and how much is remaining.
Tool #3: In-real-time budgets
Participants plan managed by First2Care who would like day-to-day insight into their NDIS plan funding and how it is tracking, can request access or login into the First2Care Client portal. Your client portal is personal to you and provides you with easy access to your plan details, invoices, and real-time actual to budget tracking updates rather than having to wait to receive your monthly report. To access the portal, you can click here or go to ‘Your Hub’ and click on ‘Portal Access’ on the First2Care website. All you need to do is fill in the online form and you will be provided with your own personal login details. The online request form can be filled in by Participants, Nominees, or Support Coordinators. For a Support Coordinator to be granted access, they must have the consent from the Participant or Nominee.
If you already have access to the Client portal, you can login easily by clicking here or on the First2Care website by clicking ‘Client Portal’ on the First2Care website home page. You can discuss the Client portal or request access at any time by contacting our support team on 1300 322 273 or email@example.com or you can speak directly to your assigned First2Care Client Manager.
Remember, you don’t need to pick just one tool listed above, in fact, it’s a good idea to combine them all.
Tool #4: Share your Service Agreements
When you access supports from a service provider, it’s a good idea to request a service agreement. Having a service agreement can ensure that both you and your service provider are on the right page when it comes to your support needs, and it can be a great way to help avoid any overspending.
In relation to managing your NDIS plan funding, your service agreements should include:
What support is provided
How frequently the support is provided
What the cost is per hour and the total cost agreement
You can use this information to keep track your commitments and how much funding is allocated in each support category.
Sharing service agreements with your plan manager, allows us to assist in managing your funding and ensures that you have enough available funds in your NDIS plan to cover the cost of the supports that are detailed in the service agreement without overspending. If there is not enough funding available to cover the costs listed in a service agreement, your First2Care Client Manager can work with you to find a solution, whether that is using some of your Core Funding (if available) or reducing the support hours to sit within your NDIS plan funding capacity.
How do the NDIA respond to overspending?
The NDIA response to overspending is changing. In the past, receiving additional funding from the NDIA when overspending occurred was more flexible. However, currently, if overspending occurs (and you are plan managed), the First2Care accounts team will submit a 'payment enquiry'. This payment enquiry is only put into place when all available funding has been exhausted but there are outstanding invoices.
It is then manually submitted to the NDIA, and they will decide if the payment can be processed. The NDIA have advised that unless there is documented evidence that the additional supports are reasonable and necessary, they are unlikely to approve the payment. In that case, the cost would be an out-of-pocket.
It’s important to know that the NDIA currently only review claims like this when a plan expires and before a new plan begins. This means that if you have spent all your plan funding in six months and you have a 12-month plan, it would mean that any claims for additional funding won’t be reviewed until then end of the 12-month planning period.
Sometimes circumstances change and the funding you were allocated may no longer suitable for your needs. If this is something you are experiencing, then you can request an unscheduled review of your plan. However, don't wait for your funding to run out before discussing your change in circumstances, it's best to notify the NDIS know as soon as possible. For more advise, you can discuss this with your Support Coordinator or First2Care Client Manager.
Supports that can help
Having a dedicated team to help you track and manage your plan funding can help to ensure that your plan funding stays on the right track.
When you have your planning meeting or plan review meeting with the NDIA, you can request supports to help you manage your NDIS plan, which can include financial management. If you are not already plan managed, you can request to have a plan manager (like us!) included as part of your support team. You have choice and control over which plan manager is right for you. Your plan manager will ensure that all your invoices are paid on time and keep you updated on your spending. At First2Care, our plan managed participants can work with their own personal Client Manager who can help them to breakdown their budget and provide support and tools to keep budgets on track.
Another person that can provide support is a Support Coordinator. Again, this is something that you can request in your planning meeting or plan review meeting. However, unlike with plan management which will be added to your NDIS plan if you request it, your support coordination needs will be assessed by the NDIA and may be included if you meet the reasonable and necessary criteria. If you have funding for a support coordinator, they can help you to find and make arrangements with the best service provider for your needs.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.