“Choice and control” is something you will often hear in relation to the NDIS. It’s commonly used when referring to supports, services and providers. But what does it mean?
Choice and control means you have the power to make decisions over the things that affect you and your life. You can make choices that are right for your goals and needs.
Today, we dive into choice and control to help you better understand the concept and how it can help you feel more empowered over your entire NDIS experience.
How the NDIS defines choice and control.
The NDIS defines choice and control as: “The right for a participant to make their own decisions about their supports. This can involve choosing the supports they receive, including how and when the supports are provided, having a range of service providers to work with and having the option to manage their own plan funding.”
Exploring the meaning of choice and control.
Choice is about having options. It means the act of selecting something from a range of possible options.
Choice in the NDIS means you get to choose:
- The goals you set in your NDIS Plan
- Which providers you work with
- Supports and services that align with your goals, needs and preferences
- The mix of supports and services that suit your needs.
Control is about providing direction. It means to have the power to run your life and make your own decisions. Think of it like being the captain of your own ship.
Control in the NDIS means you have the right to direct:
- How you live, where you live and who you live with
- How your NDIS Plan is managed
- How, when and where you receive supports
- Requests for changes to your NDIS Plan or how it is managed.
How does the NDIS provide choice and control?
Every NDIS Plan is person-centred. That means your plan is unique and individual to you. You can shape what your plan looks like by telling the NDIS your goals, needs and preferences. Don’t forget that anything you purchase with your NDIS Plan still needs to meet the “reasonable and necessary” criteria.
Below are some ways you can have choice and control over your NDIS Plan and the supports and services you receive.
1. You can choose and change service providers.
You can choose the service providers you work with. Even if someone has recommended a provider or you have a quote, it’s okay to choose someone else. People who use a plan manager or self manage can use registered and unregistered providers, meaning there are more options.
If you’re unhappy with a provider or they’re not the right fit, you can change to another. Be sure to follow any rules or notice periods in your service agreement if you plan to switch.
2. You can negotiate service agreements for a better deal.
Service agreements for NDIS supports should benefit you and the provider. When negotiating a service agreement, be clear on what you want to include and change anything you’re unhappy with before signing.
Sometimes, providers charge the maximum amount in the price guide for their services. However, you don’t have to pay the maximum amount! When preparing a service agreement, it’s okay to ask for a lower price or a special price based on a certain number of services.
3. You can use some NDIS funds flexibly.
There are three main support budgets in the NDIS – Core, Capital and Capacity Building. Your Core budget is flexible, so you can use your funding across any of the four categories in most cases.
If your needs change, you can change how you use your NDIS funds if the purchase will help you achieve your goals and meets the “reasonable and necessary” criteria.
4. You can change your NDIS Plan.
You can ask for a change to your NDIS Plan at any time. There’s no need to wait until your existing plan finishes. This can occur if your support needs change, you want to manage your plan differently, or your living or work situation changes.
The NDIS may decide to do a plan variation (for minor changes) or a plan reassessment (for major changes). The NDIS may not change your plan in some situations, such as if you have run out of funds.
5. You can change how your plan is managed.
You have the freedom to choose how your NDIS Plan is managed. Choose from plan management, self management or Agency management where the NDIA manages your plan on your behalf, or a combination of these options.
It’s possible to change how your plan is managed at any time by contacting the NDIS, even if you’re not due for a plan reassessment. That means you can switch to Leap in! and have choice and control over how you use your budget, plus the support of a plan manager to manage your funds and pay your bills.
5 tips for exercising choice and control when it comes to the NDIS.
- Be prepared for your plan meeting or reassessment: Before your meeting, gather relevant information that can help support your case.
- Ask for what you want: Clearly communicate your goals, priorities and the outcomes you want to achieve. The more information you provide, the better your plan can be tailored to your requirements.
- Research service providers: Explore the options and research their qualifications and experience. Choose providers that align with your needs and values.
- Understand your plan: Review the goals, budgets and support categories. Know what funding is allocated for which services, how to use it and where there’s flexibility.
- Seek support and information: Knowledge is power. Ask someone you trust to explain anything you’re unsure of, such as an LAC or planner, or chat with the friendly Crew at Leap in! We’re here to help.
Get proactive with Leap in!
With Leap in! plan management you get choice and control over your goals, budgets and supports with support to manage your plan and pay invoices.
If you’d like to find out more about managing your NDIS funding, call us on 1300 05 78 78 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also book a free NDIS pre-planning session or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.