Once you get your new NDIS plan, the first thing you want to do is check if you’ve been funded for support coordination. If you have, it will look a little something like this:
Support coordinators are funded by the NDIS to help participants understand their NDIS plan, and to help them to get supports set up. They’ll help you make sense of your NDIS plan, and get the ball rolling for the things that you need. If your preparing for your first NDIS plan, we recommend asking your LAC to fund a few hours of support coordination, just to help you get things sorted.
There are three levels of support coordination:
Support connection is where you may have a support coordinator or service provider help you to build you ability to connect with informal, community and funded supports. It’s not quite as intense as Level 2 Support Coordination, and you’ll still need to do some of the ground work yourself. The person providing support connection to you may provide you with some advice or guidance in relation to your plan, but more often than not it will be up to you to set things up. Support connection isn’t common to see in plans, and there is talk NDIS may stop funding this however watch this space for some more updates.
Level 2 is the most commonly funded level of support coordination, and this is the level most support coordinators work at. This support will assist you to build the skills you need to understand, implement and use your plan. A support coordinator (SC, also called CoS – coordinator of support) will work with you to ensure a mix of supports are used to increase your capacity to maintain relationships, manage service delivery tasks, live more independently and be included in your community. They will often help you to:
Specialist support coordinators (SSC’s) usually have an allied health background (e.g. psychology, occupational therapy, social work), and lots of experience across different fields including mental health, palliative care, justice, homelessness and community services. Specialist support coordination is usually only funded when a participant has complex needs requiring specialised support, or the client is in a crisis situation. Specialist support coordination is often funded for a time sensitive issue, or when there is significant barriers to accessing services. Specialist support coordinators do the same role as a Level 2 support coordinator, but will also support the client in the specialised areas they require. Some of these specialised areas might be:
How much your support coordinator is able to help you with will be dependent on how many hours you receive for support coordination in your plan, so it is important that you discuss what your priorities are with your support coordinator at the very start of your relationship with them. Often it will say on your plan how many hours you have, but if not just divide the amount you have funded by the hourly rate, which is:
*prices current as of 15 Jan 2021.
It’s important to note that not everyone will be eligible for support coordination, and you may not get support coordination in every NDIS plan that you get. Support coordinators are a vital part of the NDIS framework, but it’s important that they help you to build your capacity to understand the NDIS and the disability sector, so that you feel confident to navigate on your own one day.
Under the current price guide, if you don’t have support coordination funded under Capacity Building Supports, then you can use your Core Supports funding to purchase it. This gives you a bit more freedom, as you can decide how many hours you want to allocate to a support coordinator. The hourly rates are the same as above.
You should note, though, that this means you’ll potentially take funding away from other areas where you need support (e.g. if you choose to use 30 hours of support coordination from your core budget, you may have to cut back on another support as you’ll now have two (or more) providers sharing the same bucket of money). You’ll need to approach a support coordination organisation (or an independent support coordinator) to confirm they are happy to use your core supports funding to help you, as not everyone will be willing or able to.
If you don’t have a core budget in your plan, and no support coordination funded under your Capacity Building supports, you should go to your LAC or planner and ask for a plan review to include support coordination. Depending on your circumstances and the support system that you have, NDIS may not choose to approve support coordination for you. It’s very important that you’re clear about what you need help with, and the things that you need to put into place to help you to use your NDIS funds. Having a letter or report from existing service providers backing you up on this request will definitely help.
That’s up to you, but a few things we would consider asking before agreeing to use a support coordination provider are:
You can see a list of NDIS registered support coordination providers in WA here (start on page 39). If you’re in another state, have a look here. You can generally find unregistered support coordinators (who are often independent sole traders) through a quick google search.
You don’t have to use a registered support coordinator, but if you don’t you’ll need to make sure that your support coordination budget is self-managed or plan-managed. If your support coordination budget is agency-managed, and you want to use an unregistered support coordinator you will need to ask for a review.
Got more questions about support coordination? Give us a ring or send us an email – our team has experience working in support coordination, and we can help with any questions you might have.
You can also download our easy-read ‘What is Support Coordination?’ factsheet here.