Some one made a comment yesterday, 'that nothing has changed under the ndis.'
And I believe that is what some service providers want you to believe so you don't leave their service. Let me assure you plenty has changed under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The ndis is primarily about giving you choices.
- Choices around the activities you want to participate in. What are the things you want to do each day? Things like fishing, learning to drive, arts n craft, study, working out at the gym or going to the movies.
- The ndia talks about 'goals'. Don't let that put you off. All the want to know is a) what you want to do? e.g. look for work; b) how you want to do it? e.g. supported by your current support provider; c) who you want to assist you? e.g. support worker or a supported work network; d) what type of assistance you need, when and how often? e.g. attend job network meeting every Tuesday. These are some individual choices you can make.
- These goals or activities (the things you will be doing) will determine what your ndis plan will look like. You might be happy with life how it is now and make no changes. You might decide to look for volunteer work or learn something new, but the way you are currently supported is working for you. Or you might feel you've being doing the same thing, everyday, with the same people for the last 5 years and now you want to explore the world and try knew things. Whatever you want your life to look like from now on is your choice. If you don't want to go to art class. STOP!
- You can also chose who will support you to manage your ndis package and supports. Whose going to help you get the things you need, budget and pay for your services?
Paying for you own supports with your ndis money is the biggest change that has ever happen. Just like going down to your local Coles to buy breakfast cereal you choice the one you'll enjoy the most. You don't need to worry about the costs the ndis has set the prices and the amount you have to spend based on their pricing guide, you just choosing a provider (or who to shop with) and who you want to trust to help you do that. You can choose:-
- The National Disability Insurance Agency to do it for you. However you still get to choose what you want to do and how you want to do it! If you feel like you don't have choices you need to tell someone or call an advocacy service. You have the right to ask for a review if you feel you haven't got what you've ask for. See the ndis website for their appeal process.
- You can use a fund host provider. This is a little bit like choosing a bank. Do you choose Westpac or the NAB? Your local area coordinator can assist you to find a funds host provider. Just like your bank your host provider holds you funding and will pay for your supports as you use them. These host providers may also provide advice and support to help you find the right supports to suit your needs. But the can't not tell you which provider you can and cannot use. So if you feel that is happening speak up and tell your Local Area Coordinator. Under the ndis you do have the choice to change providers and your LAC is the best person to assist you to make this change.
- Plan manager - this puts you in direct control. Your plan manager will assist you to book your supports, negotiate with providers if that's what you need, and pay invoices as you receive them. This is how I am currently managing my supports. You can choose to directly engage supports and services under a plan manager. Self-directing gives you the option of using a 'genetic/home brand' service. e.g the physio doesn't need to be a ndis provider or you can pay a cleaning service instead of a support worker to do your housework. Do not let a provider tell you, you need to purchase everything from them. That is not choice! You can engage anyone who has an ABN. Again speak up and tell your planner or the ndis if you are being locked in to service(s) you don't want. If your ndis plan allows you can employ your own support team.
- Self-management without a plan manager means applying for your own Australian Business Number; opening a new bank account solo to 'house your ndis funds' - you can only use this money to pay for your ndis supports as set out in your ndis plan and agreement with the ndis. This will mean you directly need to pay the service invoices; or support workers wages and report back to the ndia on your expenditure. You will also need to do a tax return. My advice is to catch to a finical advisor first. Most banks will provide one free session to their costumers. Make sure you get advice on insurances needed as well. As my art business insurance is due this week I took the opportunity to find out if I am directly employing my own support workers do I need a second policy and the answer is YES. Now what a direct service provider won't tell you is their are service providers that specialised in assisting you to directly employ and engage a team of support workers. You do not need to fly solo and take great finical risks as most providers will suggest. Let's face it if you make this choice service the lose your $1,500 administration fee. This could become the money you use to engage a recruitment service. But check you are allow to do this with your local area coordinator first. Every plan agreement with ndia is different. There is no standard plan do not let a provider tell you that. When in doubt, find out!
Regardless of who is assisting with the administration of your funding, this is your funding to spend as long as you follow the rules and budget set out in your plan and you can ask for assistance to do this. I know this for a fact because I asked for this assistance to be included in my package.
I am also not the only one documenting my own journey. If you're reading my blog you are obviously have internet access. Use it! We goolge everything else. Google what you want to know. Google bloggers who are doing what I am. Join facebook pages. If your sitting there feeling alone and disempowered. STOP! Empower yourself and access services like the Queensland Disability Network or advocacy services.
The ndis is the game changer, STOP BUYING THE CRAP that you still don't have choice or you can't take on the big guns! We fought tooth n nail for the ndis, don't lie down now and keep giving power to service providers. They gloss over your rights and the service agreements to meet their requirements. Instead o sitting unhappy a copy of your rights and complaint procedures should be on their website or exercise your rights and ring and ask for a copy.
If we sit here and accept things look no different under the ndis then we are buying the lie that providers want us to. Even if you were locked into a 12 month agreement by your provider you can seek to break the agreement. I did just that this week.
Sure my provider beg me for another chance, I replied you put your energy into fixed the problems before you lose more clients. I've lodged numerous complaints in the last two months, I couldn't threaten to leave for much longer.
I am sitting here wondering where my worker is this morning, is it on her roster its on mind. I have plans I said I would be places today. I can no longer threaten to leave.
Please if your not happy, fight with me! Until we collective say to providers we no longer accept a second rate service the will continue to develivery in the manner they always have. Its you're package that pays them, you are entitled to what you need.
If you want to be counted! Stand-up to be countered!