NDIS Support Coordination: All Your Questions Answered
Working in support coordination is a fulfilling profession, as coordinators gain the satisfaction of knowing they make a real difference to people’s quality of life with every shift. However, client and fund management, invoicing, and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) registration can be tricky.
Let’s look at some of the most frequent questions about becoming a support coordinator, along with the tools available to help you work within the NDIS guidelines.
What is Support Coordination?
For individuals on NDIS plans, accessing the support they need can be complex and at times confusing. Navigating what services are included and how to set up contracts often becomes an additional burden, one that is time-consuming and, at times, exhausting. This is where support coordination comes into play.
As a support coordinator, you will work closely with participants to help them access all the supports available to them. This ranges from making sure they understand their NDIS plan and setting up service agreements with providers to resolving issues with service delivery, building community networks, and aiding participants to develop the skills they need to access supports.
What Exactly Can Support Coordinators Bill For?
Support coordination may be included in NDIS plans, although the exact provisions will vary depending on individuals’ needs. When included in plans, NDIS support coordination operates on three different levels:
Support Connection: Support coordinators assist participants in connecting with supports, from fully funded options through to informal and community ones. The objective is to help participants get the most out of their plan.
Support Coordination: Support coordinators help participants to understand and implement the plan, with a focus on ensuring the right balance of supports is used. The end purpose is to help support participants in maintaining relationships and living more independently through selecting the most appropriate services.
Specialist Support Coordination: This support level is designed for participants with more complex needs. Support coordinators will help participants overcome challenges within the support environment and ensure that they consistently receive the services they need.
Do Support Coordinators Need to Be NDIS-Registered?
Support coordinators do not need to be NDIS-registered, although registering brings several advantages.
The biggest reason to register as an NDIS support coordinator is that it means you can work with a larger number of participants. Only participants who are self-managing their plan can work with unregistered support coordinators.
You will also be listed in the NDIS Provider Finder tool that participants have access to, meaning you could get inbound inquiries for your services. Although you may want to do additional self-promotion, being on the NDIS provider list means you will have at least one low-maintenance way of marketing your services.
It can also help with branding and relationship-building. Being NDIS-registered means you are approved by the government and meet their requirements for competency and qualifications. It also requires you to adhere to the NDIS Code of Conduct. As such, participants may have greater trust in a Support Coordinator who is NDIS registered.
On a more administrative level, you’ll also likely experience quicker payments and better cash flow, as payments will be made directly through the NDIS portal. However, you’ll also generally have more paperwork. In particular, you’ll need an in-house incidents management system, as well as an in-house complaints system. You’ll also need to be audited as part of the registration process.
If you’re still unsure if registering is right for you, check out our detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of registering as an NDIS provider.
How to Become an NDIS Support Coordination Provider: A Guide
Becoming an NDIS support coordinator means joining a fulfilling profession, but it’s important to get the right qualifications, checks, and business tools in place from the start.
How to Register as a Support Coordinator With the NDIS?
If you don’t want to be an NDIS-registered support coordinator, skip this section and go straight to the next one: what qualifications do you need to become a support coordinator?
If, however, you want to become an NDIS-registered support coordinator, that means registering with the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission.
First, you’ll need to prepare the prerequisite information and checks, including your registered Australian Business Number or proof of not-for-profit status, a police check, and a working-with-children check. From there, you can register and apply via the Provider Digital Access page.
The next step is working with an auditor for your quality, verification, or certification audits. The NDIS Commission will advise you on which audit you need (see what exactly each audit is checking for here). Finally, you need to wait for the NDIS Commission to confirm your registration.
Don’t forget that registration is dependent on you sticking to NDIS guidelines, including the Code of Conduct. Read more about them here.
Got more questions? We’ve published a step-by-step guide to registering as an NDIS provider that will take you through the finer details of the process.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Support Coordinator?
There is no specific degree or diploma required to become a support coordinator, but that doesn’t mean qualifications aren’t needed. In fact, if you want to become NDIS-registered, you need to show that you have “relevant qualifications”.
Some of the most appropriate qualifications include a Certificate III, diploma, or bachelor’s degree (or higher) in allied health. This could be, for example, a Bachelor of Community Welfare or a Diploma of Mental Health.
Depending on the qualification, credentials that support your desired business specialisation or marketing angle may also be helpful. For example, you could study an additional Certificate III in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care if you intend to work with these populations.
Care Management: A Toolkit for Succeeding as an NDIS Support Coordinator
One of the trickiest things about being a support coordinator is keeping on top of everything. Not only do you need to build good relationships with participants and provide excellent service, but you also have to manage multiple NDIS accounts, be efficient with your time whilst still keeping care personal, and ensure that your invoicing is always done correctly.
Fund and time management are critical so that you can ensure participants get all the support they need, without running out of funds of your own. For further help here, ShiftCare’s fund management service can help you keep track of current spending across multiple funds and forecast costs. The in-built alert system will also help you avoid working unbillable hours.
In addition, our support coordination software can help you simplify time-tracking, streamline invoicing, and view client records and goals. It even has a dedicated portal for families to ensure participants’ loved ones feel involved and up-to-date.
With the right tools in place, you can stop spending all your time on bureaucracy and focus on the reasons why you want to work in support coordination: participant care and support. Try ShiftCare now with a 7-day free trial.