What is a Support Coordinator?
A Support Coordinator is a type of provider who can help NDIS participants understand and utilise their plan. Support coordinators are funded in NDIS plans under capacity building support, though as with most things it does depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
Principally, your support coordinator will help you to understand and use your NDIS plan. This includes making the most of your funded support, accessing community and mainstream services and building your ability to become more independent in line with your goals.
Let’s have a look at these individually.
Making the most of your supports: Your funding is, above all else, yours. It is important that you are able to maximise your funding, as more often than not it is provided to you to last a year. A support coordinator can help you with ensuring that the funding is being used to the best of its capacity and will last for the entire length of the plan.
Accessing community and mainstream services: A support coordinator will work with you to find out what services you want to have access to, what you need to have access to, and may even make suggestions about what you might benefit from having access to. More importantly, they will help to connect you with all these services. This in turn will hopefully keep you connected with both your immediate community and the community at large.
Building your ability to become more independent: Your plan is designed to help you become as independent as possible, and your support coordinator should help to assist you with this goal. This can come in the form of either simply finding the right support services to help you with day-to-day living, helping to create more social connections, or even helping you to eventually be able to self-manage your plan.
Support coordinators act as the principal point of connection between you and your providers, helping you to negotiate with service providers about what they will offer you and how much it will cost out of your plan. Support coordinators also ensure that service agreements and service bookings are completed.
Another type of support coordinator is the Specialist Support Coordinator. Specialist Support Coordinators will be funded if you have high or complex needs. Specialist Support Coordinators will be qualified practitioners such as an Occupational Therapist, Psychologist or Social Worker. They help manage challenges such as health, education or justice services that may cause obstacles to your support. Overall, the aim of any support coordinator, specialist or not, is to reduce any barriers to implementation or utilisation of your plan.
The key aspect of the NDIS is to provide the participant with choice – and support coordinators are funded to empower you to exercise that choice. You, as the participant, remain entirely in control of your plan at all times. Just as any other service provider, you can change your support coordinator if you are not happy with their support.
When starting service with any new support coordinator, you should be aware of a few things, all of which are questions you could ask:
- How will they help you to pursue your goals?
- What experience do they have providing support?
- What are their prices, what is included, and how will they charge you?
- What is the agreed notice period for ending an agreement?
It is important that you are comfortable with your support coordinator as they can be vital to your satisfaction with your NDIS plan. A good support coordinator should make time to understand your goals, and work closely with you to decide on the best way for you to utilise your plan funding.
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