The job of a support coordinator is to help us understand the NDIS, connect to support services, and understand what our funding can be used for.
1. Support Coordination comes in different funding levels
You may have funding for a support coordinator in your NDIS plan. If you do, it would be under the funding category ‘capacity building’. There are three levels of funding when it comes to support coordination:
Level 1: Support Connection
As the name suggests, this kind of support coordination focuses on helping to connect you to supports. They can also help to understand your plan and assist you in putting together any reports the NDIA might need.
Level 2: Coordination of Supports
This level focuses on supporting participants to direct their lives, not just their services. This is done by helping you to develop and maintain your formal and informal supports.
This level includes all the assistance as level 1, but can also help you design support approaches, help with crisis support and build capacity and resilience.
So whether you already have a support coordinator, or are more of a “DIY” we spoke to some support coordinators who shared their top tips to help you navigate the NDIS.
Level 3: Specialist Support Coordination
This level is used when the the participant’s needs are complex or there’s a high level risk. Any support coordinator operating at this level is an expert in their field.
2. The NDIS is there to help
The first thing any good support coordinator would want you to know is that the NDIS is not something to be scared of.
Really, it exists to help improve peoples’ lives. It’s still pretty new though and it can be intimidating to try and get your head around.
3. Please ask questions
There is no limit to the number of questions you can ask.
It’s very important that you understand your plan and the options available to you so you can make the right decisions. You will get the best out of your NDIS plan if you spend your funds wisely.
Even if you are vision or hearing impaired, or have an intellectual disability that impacts your comprehension, a support coordinator should be able to answer your questions in a way that you can understand.
4. Choose the right person to represent you and make sure they are registered as your nominee
Any person, called a “nominee”, can act on your behalf in negotiating your NDIS funding plan.
Whether it’s mum, dad, uncle, sister, or anyone else you choose, they need to complete the appropriate paperwork to become your registered nominee. To do this, they can complete a form available on the NDIS website.
5. You are not locked into your NDIS plan
Once you get your NDIS plan, it’s not a signed, sealed, delivered contract. There are ways to ask for reviews and request changes.
The more information and evidence you have in your review meeting, the stronger your chance of approval for additional funds or a change in supports. Speak to your relevant therapists and request their expert opinion in a report format. If they don’t help build your case, seek another opinion. Then be sure to make it easy for your reviewer by having everything mapped out and keep it as brief as possible.
A good support coordinator can help you gather the case for making the change.
6. There is flexibility in how you use your funding
The NDIS funding categories have been designed in a way that allows for some flexibility. Of course, they aren’t totally flexible, but you may be surprised in some of the different ways you can use your funding. It’s your support coordinators job to make sure you are getting the most out of your funding, and they are often a great person to help you out with this.
7. Choose the best providers for you
Before you choose a new service provider, it’s good to get recommendations or research whether they are reputable and have a legitimate reason for being in the industry.
Also, don’t feel locked in if you have signed a service agreement. Remember you are in control of who you want to use
8. You and your funds are protected
The NDIS Safeguard and Quality Commission is a neutral body where you can report fraud and abuse, or lodge a complaint about a provider. They offer some great resources for participants and can provide advice if you have any concerns about how your funds are being used.
9. Take advantage of support coordination
By working with a support coordinator you get the benefit of their knowledge. They can help you get the most out of your plan and choose the best providers to help you achieve your goals. It’s powerful to have someone who knows how the NDIS works that can advocate on your behalf, who understands your specific support needs and life aspirations. In many ways, they can be the best person to help you review your plan as your needs change to always get the maximum benefit from your NDIS funds.