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27th January 2021

Call 1300 789 302

27th January 2021

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  • Disability Support Worker Contracts – NDIS Self-Management Scheme
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Disability Support Worker Contracts - NDIS Self-Management Scheme

Scheme Rationale

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (“NDIS”) was created to support the independence and social and economic participation of people with a disability. It was established under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. That legislation also set up the National Disability Insurance Agency (“NDIA”), which is an independent statutory body responsible for administering the NDIS.

Insurance Model

The NDIS represents a move away from the “welfare model” as it applies to disability services to more of an “insurance model.” Under this approach, the aim is to focus on providing funding for the disabled to increase their independence and community participation in the hope of reducing the longer-term costs to the Federal budget. Accordingly, the NDIS has been designed to be flexible.

NDIA/Middleman

An NDIS Plan Participant can choose to have the NDIA responsible for appointing and paying those organisations/individuals involved in their care. Those service providers, however, must be registered with NDIS. Their details must be set out in the NDIS Provider Register maintained by the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission. Alternatively, NDIA can pay a (registered) Plan Manager to act as a go-between the disabled person and the service provider.

However, these service delivery models do not suit everyone. Some individuals do not wish to be limited to using NDIS Registered service providers and seek greater independence in the management of their lives.

Taking Control – Self-Managed Participants

Many disabled people are increasingly looking for the opportunity to gain greater control over their life and to make their own decisions.

Those who fall into this category are known as “Self-Managed Participants”. The NDIS scheme allows such disabled people to take control over their own NDIS funding. The recipients of such funding can use this money to pay for assistance with daily living (core budget”), development and training or support with interaction with others etc. (capacity building budget) and to pay for home modifications (capital budget).

Funding Facilitates Planning

A Self-Managed Participant also has the flexibility to draw on those support staff of their own choosing who may not necessarily be registered with NDIS (see below).

As a Self-Managed Participant, NDIS will provide you with a budget setting out the dollar value of the financial support you are to receive. This funding is allocated on a 12 to 24-month basis. Prior to the expiry of your plan, it will be reviewed by the NDIA.

Self-Manager/Plan Manager

The scheme is flexible enough to “mix-and-match” Self-Management with Plan Management. You don’t have to personally manage all of the funds that have been allocated.

Support Worker Engagement

As a self-manager, you could, of course, decide to buy in the support you need on an ad hoc basis. The other approach is to directly employ the staff you need or engage a contractor.

For those service providers registered with the NDIS, there is an NDIS Price Guide which can be useful for determining the “going rate” for the services you require.

Recordkeeping

Whether you engage an employee or contractor as a Self-Managed Participant, you will need, of course, to keep records (five years). This includes invoices, receipts, payslips, bank statements etc. The NDIA undertakes random audits. You will therefore need to maintain a reasonable record of the money you have received and the money you spend.

Modern software programs such as MYOB  Essentials would enable you to keep track of receipts and payments and to be tax compliant. If you do not wish to use a software package then you could always engage your own bookkeeper to undertake that work. The cost of those services would form part of the funding allocation.

Insurance for NDIS Recipients and Providers

A disabled person employing a Disability Support Worker will need appropriate employer indemnity insurance. That is to cover against the risk of injury/death of the disability support worker or the defence of legal proceedings brought by such a worker or the executor of that worker. In New South Wales, the State Government has established the icare Workers Insurance Scheme to provide such coverage.

For their part, NDIS Service Providers will also need to have professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

Information about insurance coverage and quotations for both NDIS Self-Managed Participants and Service Providers is available online. Alternatively, an insurance broker could be engaged to provide a quotation.

Unregistered Service Providers

Self-Managed Participants are free to use unregistered NDIS Service Providers. That should broaden the scope of being able to draw on support workers to assist you. However, the Self-Managed Participant needs to check the work history, skills, physical capacity and qualifications of the prospective service provider.

Document the Arrangement

If you decide to employ staff (full-time or part-time), then you will need a Disability Support Worker Contract.

If, on the other hand, you decide to engage a contractor, then you will need a Disability Support Worker Contractors Agreement to deal with the relevant issues.

Whether you are an NDIS Self-Managed Participant who seeks to manage his or her own budget and choose relevant support people or a Disability Support Worker, we can provide a contract suitable for your needs.

 

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