Have you ever found you were running out of NDIS funding?
In this blog, we explain what to do if you find yourself running out of funds before your plan ends, as well as our top tips for managing your NDIS budget effectively.
What to do if your NDIS funding runs out
1. Review your spending
It’s important to figure out why you’ve overspent your NDIS budget. Were there unexpected costs that you didn’t plan for, or did your circumstances and support needs change? If you need some help with this, ask your support coordinator, family or a friend to assist.
Work out where you may have spent too much or where you have money left that you can use. Understanding your spending will help you use remaining funds wisely, and focus on the supports and services that you really need.
Make a note of the reasons why your funding has run out, so you can plan better in the future. Remember, if you feel your plan is not adequate for your needs, you can contact your support coordinator or NDIS representative to request a plan review.
2. Ask for help
Talk to your support coordinator or NDIS representative and let them know about your concerns. They will be able to review your plan to see if it’s still adequate for your needs or help you reallocate some funds to cover the essentials. It’s important to talk openly and be honest about why you have run out of funding so they can give you the best advice for your situation.
You can also try talking to your service providers and ask if there is anything they can do to ensure your supports aren’t interrupted.
3. Use other services
Don’t forget about regular services that exist outside the NDIS. You can access healthcare, transport services, mental health support and help with daily living needs outside of specific disability services.
Find out if there are any services in your local community that can assist with things such as transport or grocery shopping. Some local community groups or charities may offer certain services for free or at a low cost.
Even if it’s just temporary, there are other services that can help fill the gap in NDIS funding until your plan is renewed.
4. Ask for a plan review or extension
In special cases, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) may be able to approve some emergency funding or a plan extension.
The NDIS won’t be able to help you if you’ve run out of funds due to poor management of your plan. However, if you’ve had a significant and urgent change in circumstances, they can review your plan and provide some additional support.
If your support needs have changed significantly and your plan is no longer adequate, you should let the NDIS know as soon as possible. Provide any necessary documents and explain why you need more funding. Remember that the NDIS will review your request before making a decision.
5. Have a backup plan
Even the best-laid plans can fail sometimes. Life is unpredictable, so you need to be prepared for unexpected situations. It's a good idea to create a backup plan so you know what to do if your funding runs out.
Your backup plan should include alternative services and resources you can use if your NDIS plan runs out. Make sure you have a support network of family and friends who can support you, and write down any important contacts.
Some people like to keep 5-10% of their NDIS budget as a buffer to cover unexpected costs. This can be a lifesaver if your support needs suddenly change. Also consider if you can afford to self-fund some supports, and how long you could manage this for.
How to avoid running out of NDIS funding
Prevention is always better than a cure. So, what do you do to avoid running out of NDIS funding in the first place?
Managing your NDIS plan effectively is an important skill that can help you make the most of your support and services. With careful budgeting and planning, you can ensure you have enough funding to meet your needs throughout your plan.
Below, we share some top tips for managing your NDIS funds.
1. Understand your plan
When you get your NDIS plan, take some time to read through and understand the funds allocated to you. Familiarise yourself with the different supports and services your plan covers.
Pay attention to the different budget categories, such as Core Supports, Capacity Building Supports, and Capital Supports. Your NDIS plan will outline how much you can spend in each category and usually covers a 12-month period.
Knowing exactly what is included in your plan will help you plan your budget.
2. Prioritise your support needs
Your most important needs should come first, so you know that they will always be covered. Think about your priorities and the areas where you need the most support. For example, if you need support at home or with daily needs, these should be prioritised first.
Then, think about your goals and what supports will help you achieve them. Prioritise these based on which goals are most important to you.
By understanding your priorities, you can allocate your funds accordingly and ensure that you have enough for the most important services.
3. Plan your budget and break it down
Now that you understand your NDIS plan, and you know what supports and services you need most, it’s time to create a budget.
Break your NDIS plan down into smaller chunks and assign amounts based on your support priorities. This way, you can ensure you don't overspend in one area while neglecting others.
Don’t forget to plan for the year ahead, too. For example, if you need some additional support at holiday times or around certain events, make sure there is room in your budget to cover this.
4. Track your spending
Once you have a budget, you need to stay on track. You could also use a budgeting app, create a spreadsheet, write it in a notebook, or whatever method works best for you.
Record everything you spend from your plan and which category it belongs to, so you don’t overspend in any category. Be aware that sometimes you can be charged for services a while after they’ve happened. So, you may think you have more funds than you actually do. Request up-to-date invoices from your provider regularly to stay on top of what you’ve spent.
If you need help with this, your support coordinator or a family member may be able to help you. They can assist with staying up-to-date with invoices, keeping a record of your spending, or sharing helpful tips for staying on track.
5. Review and adjust your NDIS plan
It’s possible that your support needs could change throughout your plan. As your circumstances change, or you have new goals, you may need to review your NDIS plan to ensure it can meet your needs.
You can speak to your support coordinator, plan manager, or NDIS representative to request a review of your plan.
If you are running out of NDIS funding, don't panic. There are other ways to get support. Talk to your support coordinator or NDIS representative, explore additional support programs, use regular services, manage your budget carefully and create a backup plan. By doing these things, you can handle the situation and keep getting the help you need.
Want to know more about the NDIS? Speak to one of our NDIS experts on 1800 112 112 or visit our NDIS information page.