You have choice about what supports you buy to pursue your goals. Once you understand your NDIS plan and support budgets you can choose the supports you are going to buy.
As a self-manager you can be really creative when working out how you can best meet your needs and plan goals using your funding.
The following guidance has been created to help you decide what you can buy with your NDIS funding.
- Will the support help you to pursue the goals in your NDIS plan?
The support you buy must be linked to the support budgets and goals in your current NDIS plan and related to your disability.
- Is the support reasonably priced and good value?
The support should give you good value-for-money compared to other options. Remember you can choose to pay less and get more support, or pay more for a higher-quality support that meets your needs.
- Can you afford the support within your support budget?
Your NDIS funding needs to last for the length of your plan. Work out your budget early so you know what you can afford. This will help you to track your funding and make decisions about any changes to your supports during your plan.
- Will the support help you to connect with your community and improve the relationships you have with family and friends?
The support you buy should help you to participate in activities with friends and other members of your community, or help you find or keep a job.
- Is the support something that should be funded by the NDIS and not other government services?
In your NDIS plan the funded supports will not include support that is provided by other government services. For example, dental, health or hospital services, education, housing and public transport are all provided by other government services.
- Is the support safe?
The support you buy must be legal. It should not cause harm or put yourself or other people at risk.
If you are able to answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions, then the support is likely to be in line with your NDIS plan and goals.
Who can I buy my supports from?
What is a provider?
A provider is a person, business or organisation that delivers your support.
Providers include large companies, charities, small not-for-profits, sole traders, or any other type of business. Providers have different areas of experience and expertise so it is important to work out what you want and find the right providers for you.
How do I find a provider?
Once you have decided what to buy, you should find out more about the providers in your area. You can do this by:
- researching providers, checking reviews and getting advice from family, friends and peers;
- meeting with different providers before you decide who will provide your support; or
- speaking with your early childhood partner, local area coordinator or Support Coordinator.
To find NDIS registered providers you can search the Provider Finder on the myplace portal.
Remember that it is easy to change providers if you are not happy with the support you are getting, or think you may be able to get better value using a different provider.
As a self-manager there are different ways you can buy your supports
- Buy your supports from a business or organisation
Businesses and organisations may be registered NDIS providers or not, as long as they help you to pursue your NDIS plan goals in a safe and professional way. Normally businesses and organisations will arrange your support and take responsibility for the support workers on your behalf. When you arrange supports with a registered NDIS provider it is important to let them know that they will need to provide you with an invoice for payment.
- Use self-employed contractors
A self-employed contractor is a person who has an Australian Business Number (ABN), and is generally responsible for managing their own insurance, tax and superannuation. Self-employed contractors may be NDIS registered or not. Many gardeners, cleaners and tradespeople are self-employed contractors.
It’s up to you to make sure a contractor has:
- relevant safety checks
- an ABN
- appropriate insurance
- the right qualifications and skills.
Contractors can charge per job or charge an hourly rate, and will give you an invoice to pay for their support or a receipt to say you’ve paid. Invoices and receipts need to show the type of support, the amount, the cost and ABN.
- Directly employ staff
You choose, recruit and manage the people who support you. As an employer of staff, you will need to:
- make sure your staff have the right skills, qualifications, training, and where relevant, any relevant safety checks
- meet the costs of recruiting staff, paying their wages, superannuation and any insurances, from the rate of support calculated in your plan budget
- seek advice or support when needed from professionals such as an accountant, financial advisor, employment agency or lawyer. These people can help you set up systems to pay appropriate wages, superannuation and insurances. If you manage your budget properly you will easily meet the cost of directly employing staff within your funding. You can use any savings to help you manage direct employment arrangements or buy more supports.
NDIS worker screening check
Self-managed participants can choose to ask workers to get an NDIS worker screening clearance. This clears a person to work in certain roles to reduce the risk of harm to people with disability.
Self-managed participants can ask to access a database to check the clearance status of an NDIS worker.
To find out more, visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website.
Making a service agreement
You are encouraged to have a service agreement in place with each of your providers, which clearly outlines what will be provided to you and how the supports will be provided and paid for. For more information visit the Making a service agreement page.
- Can I use my NDIS funding to pay a family member for support?
No, you cannot pay a family member to provide you with support. This is important for you and your family so you can maintain good relationships. We may reconsider when there are exceptional circumstances. More information is in the Operational Guideline.