Tips and tricks: How to maximise your NDIS funding and access services earlier

Don’t risk losing your funding – plan ahead and get in early for allied health services.

A common trend by participant support networks, is that support to access a plan’s NDIS funding is provided immediately for the much-needed, everyday core supports such as personal care. However, fundamental allied health therapy services are often delayed and not prioritised.

We’re seeing support network providers ‘cramming’ because NDIS plans are coming to an end, with large amounts of funding unspent.

This risks funding being lost or not regarded as essential when the time comes for the plan review. Essentially, this can impact how much funding is be provided in the future.

Instead, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for those services likely to have the longest wait periods, such as allied health therapy services, including– speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology. These allied health professionals are very much in demand, due to a shortage across NDIS services.

Shorter or no wait times with LiveBig

The good news is that LiveBig generally has shorter or no wait times for these services.

By thinking ahead, budgeting for and booking therapeutic supports through LiveBig, instead of the usual waiting periods of 3 to 6 months, clients can expect to see our specialists within a much shorter timeframe.

Considering allied health needs early, rather than much further along in the plan’s life, means that clients don’t ‘run out of time’ and funding doesn’t go unused. When funding is unused it can affect how much funding is allocated in the next plan.

When allocating budgets to therapy supports, keep in mind that funding needs to align to the main goals in a participant’s NDIS plan. This way, participants will have enough funding for all therapy supports they need.

An example is that if a client’s main goal is to build independence and develop social skills, more funding will need to be allocated to occupational therapy (OT) support.

Match provider skillset with participant needs

Another tip for participants and their support networks is to do the research about provider specialities and make sure these match what’s needed.

For example, if services for children are required, make sure the targeted provider actually works with children, and not just adults. Match the provider to the participants needs.

Also, right at the start of the planning process, consider the benefits and value of the services on the wish list.

An example here is ‘counselling services’ and how these can help a participant. LiveBig employs provisional psychologists to deliver these services. These professionals have a broader skillset and qualifications as well as more experience across the NDIS system, so they can be more useful to participants.

Also, because counselling services are billed at a lower rate, participants benefit from more services out of their plan’s funding.

LiveBig usually has no waiting period to access counselling services.

Diversify your eggs

We usually suggest that support coordinators develop options or services advice based on at least 2 to 4 potential providers for a service, not just one.

Any provider’s capacity to deliver a service may change over time. If bookings are not made at the start of a plan, participants or support coordinators may feel rushed to find a provider, with an impending deadline to use the funding.

By having a targeted list of 2 to 4 potential providers, there is a strong chance the participant will achieve their goal of accessing the service within their required timeframe.

Tips to take away

  • Consider allied health needs at the start of a plan as these specialists are often booked out with long wait periods
  • When allocating budgets, keep in mind that funding needs to align to the main goals in a participant’s NDIS plan
  • Check a provider’s skillset and expertise before booking – make sure they match your needs or ask specific questions, such as ‘what is the main age group the provider supports?’ and ‘what is the main disability type the provider supports?’
  • Make a shortlist of 2 to 4 researched providers that match the participant’s needs – not just one (e.g. don’t put all your eggs in one basket)
  • Consider the value add of counselling services if provided by provisional psychologists.
  • LiveBig usually has no waiting periods for counselling services, and much shorter waiting periods for other allied health providers.

Get the most out of the NDIS through LiveBig, contact us today on 1300 762 654.

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