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A couple infront of an accesible vehicle in San Fransisco, they are both seated, Carolyn in a wheelchair, Steve in an motorised scooter

Want to know more about how to self manage your NDIS funding? Carolyn Campbell McLean takes us through some of her experiences and shares her tips for success.

Self-management is one way of financially managing your NDIS plan. It means you are responsible for purchasing supports, budgeting your funding, getting quotes, invoices and receipts, paying the bills and keeping records. Self-management offers the most amount of choice and control over your funding and the supports it can purchase, but it takes some work to make it work!

I started my first NDIS plan with everything being plan managed. This meant I could get used to the new system with support to manage my funding and pay my bills but still use registered and non-registered providers.

For my second plan, I elected to self-manage the Capacity Building – Daily Living (therapy) supports, to test out and see how hard or easy I found self-managing. I found it wasn’t at all hard for me to be invoiced for OT, go into the portal and make a ‘payment request’, see the money appear in my NDIS bank account with 24-48 hrs, then go and pay the invoice online. I also needed to set up a good record-keeping process – I use an excel spreadsheet, the NDIS portal and a good electronic filing system to record all claims and details, some people use Plan Tracker or Ability 8. 

For my third plan, I went fully self-managed and was fortunate to be funded some support coordination funds to get training and support to develop my capacity to fully self-manage. I engaged my support coordinator at Living My Way to set up a detailed excel spreadsheet so I could track all claims and record the details. I spoke with my contacts at Muscular Dystrophy NSW to get their advice, and I also attended a full day Self-Management training by The Growing Space.

Now on the verge of my fifth plan, I find self-management gives me a maximum choice of how I spend my funding within the self-management guidelines set by NDIS. For example, I was able to use support workers when I took my first overseas trip, and also claim the extra cost of renting an accessible vehicle big enough to fit me, my partner, my portable hoist and shower commode plus our support team and all our luggage!

Last year I was audited, and I am pleased to say it was a simple process of providing the invoice/receipt for just 1 claim. I was asked by letter to upload the documents relating to 1 claim number into the portal. Much less arduous than I had suspected.

Self-management takes me about 30 minutes to 1 hour a week depending on how many invoices I have, but I would probably spend the same or more time in contact with a Plan Manager to make sure everything was correct, so I might as well do it myself! Being a bit of a control freak I really can’t imagine any other way! I would highly recommend it if you are able to pay bills online and keep records and reasons for your purchases.  It’s really quite common sense but I also strongly recommend peer support as a way of learning how to perfect the art of self-management!

Tips for successful self-management

Be transparent

Set up a separate fee-free bank account for your NDIS funds

Be organised

Create a separate email address for your invoices to come to

Schedule time

Allocate an hour or so per week to do your self-management admin all at once

Be a savvy shopper

Make your funds go further by finding discounts and shopping around

Get support

Get advice and information from peer groups and do some training to make you the best self-manager you can be!

Handy info

Check out the Guide to Self-Management and in particular Page 8 titled What Can I Buy?

Please note

  • You can still make the decisions about your care and other supports using plan management and to a less degree NDIS management
  • Self-management is not the same as directly employing staff (another article altogether).

As told to IDEAS by Carolyn Campbell-McLean.

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