Webinar on NDIS- Self-Management for Families of children and young people with disability

    Webinar recording

    Webinar on NDIS- Self-Management for Families of children and young people with disability

    Webinar – NDIS- Self-Management for Families of children and young people with disability

    Webinar on NDIS- Self-Management for Families of children and young people with disability
    Video Read transcript

    Good morning everybody.  I can see we've got a few people online already.  Apologies for the delay in getting up online.  We will just wait for a few people to arrive.  It is 11.03.  We will start at 11.05.  In case people are connecting in.  We have got 20 people now.  Fabulous.  Thank you very much.  While we're waiting I will introduce myself.  My name is Maeve Kennedy.  I'm the policy and program manager here at CYDA, Children and Young People with Disability Australia.  Thank you so much for joining us all today.  Just a little bit of housekeeping.  I will let you know that there's a Q&A function.  You should be able to see in your zoom screen.  You can write questions in there at any time and my colleague Elga is monitoring that.  We will also have some set times throughout the webinar to answer questions because I think it will be a great opportunity for everybody, you know, if you've got that question it's very likely somebody else does as well.  Elga, was there other housekeeping?  Captioning is available.  Thanks.  There's closed captioning available.  So it might come up automatically.  Otherwise please press the CC button at the bottom of your screen there.  If you have tech issues, please feel free to write that in the Q&A and we can help sort that out as well.  How are we looking for time?  Fabulous.  Okay.  I am going to make a start now.  Good morning.  Thank you all very much for joining us today.  This is a webinar that CYDA is hosting, Children and Young People with Disability Australia.  My name is Maeve Kennedy.  I am the program policy manager here at CYDA.  We also have a member of our advisory group joining us today to provide a case study.  Linda Wemyss who is also online.  To formally start the webinar today I would like to acknowledge we're meeting on traditional custodians, lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, lands that were never ceded and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.  Here in Melbourne we are on the lands of the Wurundjeri‑willam people, of the Kulin nation.  We pay our respects to their elders and communities and those on the land in which everybody is joining us across Australia today.  There we go.  A quick overview of today's agenda.  So today's session is really intended to be an introduction to self‑management.  We've had lots of questions coming in from people as you registered.  Thanks for that as well.  That has helped us target the agenda and make sure we're touching on issues that are of interest to you but please again feel free to use the Q&A function to type in questions at any point and of course we're also available after the webinar by email and phone to answer questions as well.  I will repeat again for anybody who has joined us a little bit later, closed captions are available.  If they're not coming up on your screen already please press the CC button at the bottom of the screen.  Today we will be focusing on an introduction to self‑management.  What is it?  Why you might be thinking about it?  How to get started, the different types of budget that are in an NDIS plan and what that means for managing that plan, what's included under self‑management, what you can buy if you're self‑managing a plan, how to keep records, what you need to do around that and different ways of doing that, and Linda who will be speaking at the end as well will be able to take us through what she and her family are doing in that respect.  We will also be looking very briefly at using the NDIS portal and how you might like to be ‑ how you claim payments through the portal and other forms of support for self‑management too.  And then finishing up with a case study from Linda looking at self‑management and practice.  Plenty of times for questions throughout the session today.  I will have a break in the middle of my presentation and then again at the end and then Linda will give her presentation and demonstration and then there will be more time for questions there too.  So we're starting today with looking at what is self‑management compared with self‑direction.  So self‑direction is a term you might have heard used as well.  They're both terms that are pretty common in NDIS speak.  Self‑direction is a general principle.  So a person with disability and their family where relevant makes their own decisions about the support and services that they need to achieve the outcomes they want.  So general principle of self‑direction.  That underpins all of the different approaches to managing a plan and the funding within a plan.  Self‑management in contrast is one of those three formal approaches to managing a plan, and that's funding.  That's what you use once you've got an NDIS plan in place.  Self‑management specifically is when the participant or plan nominee manages their own NDIS funding.  That is you decide what support or services to buy with the plan funding and you pay the relevant bills.  So a plan nominee in this case, and particularly given this section is targeted towards families and care‑givers of children and young people with disability, you might be a plan nominee for your child or young person's plan in which case it's you doing the self‑management.  Comparing the three plan management options.  So the other two options, just for context ‑ and you might be familiar with these already ‑ are agency management where the NDIA pays your providers on your behalf, plan management where the NDIA provides funding to pay in your plan to pay for a plan manager who then pays the providers for you, helps keep track of funds and takes care of the financial reporting.  And then self‑management.  So you can see it's sort of a stepped process and self‑management is the end step of that with the greatest degree of flexibility to you as a participant or a plan nominee where the NDIA provides you with funding so you can access the supports that will best help you achieve the goals in your plan.  We're going to look at the three options in a little bit more depth on the next couple of slides just to see the differences between them and then go through some of the benefits of self‑management as an option as well.  So comparing the three options, you can see on the slides there's a little bit of difference.  And self‑management gives you the greatest degree of flexibility.  You will see ticks in all those columns.  So through self‑management you can use registered and unregistered providers.  Using registered providers is available through all the management plan options.  The use of unregistered NDIS providers and registered and unregistered here is referring through the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and the regulatory framework they have set up.  So if you are plan managed or self‑managed you can also choose to use unregistered NDIS providers which might suit people in different circumstances and gives you a bit more flexibility over the support workers and the people in your lives and your family's lives.  Self‑management is also the only option of the three that allows you to set your own prices.  So in agency‑managed and plan‑managed situations prices are limited to what's in the NDIS price guide.  When you self‑manage ‑ and Linda will talk about this at the end as well ‑ when you self‑manage you can set your own prices.  You can use the NDIS price guide if you wish.  You can also use it as a bit of a benchmark or a guide but you can set your own prices above or below that.  And that also gives you more flexibility around selecting services and even doing things like employing support workers.  The final row in our table here is about directly employing support workers.  So through the self‑management option you can choose to employ support workers directly and become the employer in that relationship which, again, gives greater flexibility about who is in your life and your children's lives and your home as well, potentially.  It does not have to be through an agency.  Going further into the differences, this is just about what you must do.  So the flip side, I guess, or the other side of the coin with having that flexibility is when you're self‑managing you also have some different responsibilities around the use of that funding and the reporting around that.  So you must keep records of all the purchases that you make using the NDIS funds, in the other plan management options another party would do that record‑keeping for you.  In self‑management, you use the NDIS participant portal to make claims and put in claims for payment and you also pay service providers directly.  In the other two options those things are also done for you.  I'm just going to make a callout ‑ so one of the things with being able, I suppose, to pay service providers directly is also it's likely to be quicker than the other approaches and one of the things that we hear consistently is the length of time that it can take for people to be paid through the NDIS.  So the speed can be a benefit as well and for your relationships with support workers and with agencies too.  We're looking now ‑ I'm going to encourage people to enter questions as well in the Q&A function throughout.  I feel like I'm speeding through this but please there will be plenty of time for questions.  So as they come up, just add them into the Q&A function.  We're looking now at what self‑managers are responsible for.  So if you do choose the self‑management option out of the three that we were talking about or if you're considering it, if you're thinking about it, these are the sorts of things you would be responsible for as a self‑manager.  There's a lot more information on this and where we've pulled this from is the NDIS self‑management guide which we will send around to everybody who has registered after the session as well, and there is more information about that.  We will be referencing that throughout the presentation.  So the sorts of things that self‑managers are responsible for include purchasing the supports, managing the funds and the budget around that throughout the life of the plan, claiming and paying for supports and services as we've talked about, keeping records, participating in any payment auditing that might come up, having clear agreements with providers, so it's your responsibility to have those agreements with the providers around what is and isn't in scope and the different parts of that service provision, and in some cases self‑managers are also responsible for meeting the relevant legal requirements for employers.  And this is only the case for self‑managers who directly employ support workers.  If you do directly employ support workers then all the usual legal and compliance requirements for employers will still apply.  That includes things in your State and territory like work safe and WorkCover and things like that.  The benefits of self‑management include things likes as we've been talking about throughout the session, greater choice and control.  More flexibility is one of the key benefits that we hear from people who self‑manage, and we've been very lucky to have a group of fabulous parents on our advisory group for this NDIS self‑management project who are able to give us a lot of feedback as we go along and more flexibility and choice and control is something that comes through really strongly, as a benefit of self‑managing.  Saving money or the potential to save money is also another benefit of self‑management.  You have more scope to choose how you use the funding which means you can do things like buy items when they're on sale and pay under the price guide and things like that.  You can, of course, directly employ your own support workers, as I've mentioned, which means you have the greatest level of control about who is in your lives and your children's lives, who is coming into your home, and what that sort of person ‑ who the ideal person is for you and your family where you are at the time.  You can choose to use registered and unregistered providers which also gives you more flexibility and ‑ there is also the option for you learning new skills and we will talk further in the presentation about the way that you can develop your skills if you would like to and how you might be able to build some funding for that into the plan.  When you are thinking about getting started.  There's some key things to think about at the beginning.  Firstly, we decide whether you would like to fully or partly self‑manage.  So full self‑management is just as it sounds where you take responsibility for all the elements of your plan.  There is an option to partly self‑manage if you would like.  And that can be a tester and a way to start getting ‑ you're dipping your toe in the water and seeing if that's something you would like to do.  And Elga might be able to speak more to that later if questions come through on that front as well.  Some recommendations before you get started as well is setting particular things up.  So the NDIS recommends setting up a specific bank account for the NDIS funding and there are ways you can do that.  For example, you might set up an account where all the NDIS funding comes in or there might be other ways that work for you and your family as well which Linda might touch on in terms of setting up accounts that work for different things within that planning world.  You would also want to be linking your MyGov account with the NDIS.  There's a number of things that it's helpful to get your head around before you start as well.  So you want to be understanding the support budgets in the NDIS plan and we're going to be talking a little bit more about that as well and the different categories within the plan.  You want to be looking at the options for record‑keeping and what's going to work for you and get those mechanisms set up beforehand, ideally, and you want to be learning how to use the NDIS participant portal and nutting out any issues you might have around that as well.  Another important thing to do is identifying areas where you think you may need training or support or where you think that would be valuable because there are discussions that can be had with the planner or the LAC around possibilities for funding some of those supports to support self‑management.  If you ‑ I'm just going to circle back to fully and partly self‑managing as well because I think that's a point of interest for some people.  So fully self‑managing means you're managing all the NDIS funds within the plan, partly self‑managing, as I said, is for trying out how it might work.  For example, you might self‑manage only some things like only consumables and therapies.  Then the rest of the plan can be plan or agency managed.  If you only manage consumables but you have more categories in core support that are plan or agency managed you won't be able to flexibly use the other categories if you run out of this funding.  We can go through that in more detail in the questions if that's coming through.  Basically there is a scope.  You can change as you go over time.  For example, in your first year you might want to partly self‑manage or in your child's first year on the NDIS and then in future years you might decide to fully self‑manage.  Moving into looking at the different types of support budgets within the plan.  And this is something that it's good to start thinking about before deciding ‑ sorry, I have dropped my paper.  I'm back.  Before you decide to self‑manage.  Getting your head around the language and one of the things which I'm sure everybody else is finding but we certainly hear a lot about at CYDA is the NDIS language and NDIS speak and all the different words that they have that mean things that you might not be familiar with, or might be quite new.  Once you get your head around it, it makes sense in a funny sort of way but I guess there's a lot of words that are really new to people.  So initially we're looking at ‑ so there's three types of support budgets.  Initially we will look at core support.  So core support has a number of categories which are on the left side of the screen called daily activities, consumables, social community and civic participation, transport and support coordination.  Core is flexible within the core categories but not with the other support budgets.  For self‑managers, core is flexible only for the categories approved in the plan.  The NDIS will make core flexible for all its categories for self‑managers in June to allow more flexibility due to COVID‑19 and that might be something we're able to go through in more detail in the questions as well.  And there's also a resource about a device for self‑managers during COVID‑19 that the NDIS has also just put out which we can send out as well.  Capacity building supports is the second type of budget within the NDIS.  And I've got two pages on this so bear with me in order to have the writing a big enough size.  There's a number of categories.  One of the quirks with the NDIS again is here a number of the categories have the same name as the core support budget.  So it can get confusing.  So there's capacity building, daily activity as well, capacity building social and community ‑ social community and civic participation and a few categories that have similar names.  They do have different meanings, though.  For example, the capacity building supports are all around building skills, building experience, building confidence to do particular things in your life.  And there's a few categories where training around self‑management can come in as well.  Capacity building supports number 2.  This is where support coordination can also come in as well to help you connect with providers and use your plan.  We will be talking about that in a little bit more detail as well further down.  Further through the presentation.  Finally, we will look at the third type of budget which is capital support.  This is generally funded at higher levels so it includes the higher levels of assistive technology, levels 3 and 4 which are more expensive and often larger purchases.  It also includes home modifications as well.  So just to recap the three types of support budgets are core support, capital support, and capacity building.  All right.  I'm going to break for some questions now and see if we've got any questions that have come through.  We've got a question here from Karen.  Thank you, Karen, which I will read out for everybody.  Can I use my son's capacity building daily living category forgetting his laundry done, lunches made and organising his bedroom making his bed putting clothes away or culling stuff in order to relieve him of these daily living issues so he can engage in full‑time employment which is one of his NDIS goals.  I will ask my colleague to answer this one if that's okay.  Bear with us while we get Elga's microphone on, too.  Good morning everyone.  Yes, the answer of this question and ‑ unfortunately not.  Capacity building daily living is face ‑ anything that would be relative to the case of the participant.  My advice is if you have budget in your core daily activities if there is any funding, this will be the area where you're going to take the funds to pay for these supports.  As you describe it here is to do some of the task of the participants for him to engage in full‑time employment but I would say anything that is related to develop the skills would be definitely under capacity building but if it's just to do a task for the participant it would be under the core funding.  

    Thanks so much, Elga.  That's brilliant.  We've got another question come through as well.  If you employ an independent support worker not through an agency, do you have to have WorkCover and public liability insurance?  Yes.  So if you're directly employing an independent support worker directly where they're your employee or they're your contractor, all of the usual employer legal obligations do apply.  And Elga has just been working on developing a resource so to give a bit of background to Elga she's our project officer and policy adviser here at CYDA.  She works on our NDIS ILC project if you call up with any questions about it she will be able to provide with advice as well.  She's in the process of developing a resource which really steps out your requirements and obligations if you are directly employing staff, and the tricky thing with this it can vary from State to State because a lot of the regulatory requirements for employers are to do with State Government regulation and legislation.  So watch this space.  We will be sending out more information soon and Elga has a comment to add as well.  Thank you very much, Elga. 

    Thank you.  I would just like to add if it's an independent support worker you might be preferring that you are getting supports from a contractor or that you are employing directly that support worker.  If it's a contractor, the person will pay the legal employment requirements like taxation, superannuation, insurance.  If you are actually employing the worker directly means that he is one of your employees and you will have to report all these legal obligations.  So these are the two types of workers that you can get if it's not through an agency.  If it's the contractor it means that you're going to have an invoice and you are going to pay any other supports you are getting in your plan.  If it's a person that you are employing directly you will pay the wages.  So that's sort of like your employment ‑ your contract of employment. 

    Thank you.  Thanks very much, Elga.  All right.  I think we might move on ‑ I will keep going with my slide now but please keep sending questions through.  Yeah, please keep sending questions through in the chat and we will have more time to answer them shortly.  All right.  Here we go.  So looking back ‑ and this is going again back to the NDIS self‑management guide and page 8 is a really key page that we're going to be leaning on and we really recommend people looking at.  This is what you will use once you are self‑managing or if you're thinking about it and you're trying to work out what you can and can't buy and what's allowed.  And some of the words that are often used around the NDIS are reasonable and necessary.  Which doesn't always sit very well when you're thinking about what a life actually looks like and things but that's to do with your goals.  When you're thinking about what will be allowable through the NDIS funding the things that you want to think about are on page 8.  Essentially, if you're self‑managing you can buy without approval things like support or services to achieve the goals in the plan.  You can buy supports to enable the development of relationships and community participation, assistive technology at levels 1 and 2.  Higher levels, like we flagged just earlier, around like levels 3 and 4, will require additional approvals and quotes to be sourced.  The key things to think about as well when thinking about what you can and can't buy, buying things through the NDIS plan they must be disability related.  Related to the person's specific disability.  They must be safe, they must be considered to be good value for money.  So if you were to be asked about that you could give a response about why that service is good value for money.  And importantly, they must be things that aren't funded by another government system.  And we know this can get quite tricky in the NDIS space and there's often intersections between things that are ‑ things that could be funded through the NDIS or through other systems.  For example, an iPad which a child would also use at school.  So there can be challenges around this.  If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with us.  We have email and phone contacts as well.  To talk through some of the issues around that.  One of the things that supports can be available for through the plan around self‑management is supports to assist with developing self‑management capacities and capabilities.  So you can talk ‑ and obviously if it's being funded through the plan and built into the plan, it will need to be discussed with the relevant people, your planner or the LAC or the ECEI but things can be included like self‑management training, workshops or one‑on‑one support.  The use of a book keeper or accountant to assist support coordination as well, and support ‑ Linda might be able to speak to this as well but support coordinators can assist you in self‑managing by helping with identifying providers and other parts of the work that's involved.  There's also software applications that are available.  And I will touch on that a little later as well around record keeping but there's specific software that's been developed to work with the NDIS and there's also general software programs that you can use.  There's also the opportunity to chat to the planner about hiring somebody who can provide you directly with support and capacity building around self‑management, maybe a mentor or somebody in that vein.  Record‑keeping is an area where we've gotten a lot of questions.  So please, if our presentation is raising more questions or isn't answering your burning questions, please put that in the Q&A as well.  I know Elga is typing responses to some people and then we will also have time to speak about them as well.  So record‑keeping needs to be done if you're self‑managing.  It's critically important.  So you need to be able to prove how the funds were spent.  This can be ‑ so collecting evidence to show how they were spent.  This can be through invoices, receipts, bank statements if the description of the product that you purchased is in there, and other things like that, or a combination of those.  You need to keep records for the life of the NDIS plan but also for five years in total.  And if you're employing support workers directly, this is seven years that you need to be keeping those records for in case you're audited down the track.  How to keep your records?  There is a range of options and it's really what works for you and your life and your family.  So there's options like electronic records.  You can set up folders in your email, you can set up folders on your computer or store things in the cloud.  You can get fancy Excel spreadsheets if that's what works with you, you can keep manual records with folders ‑ with hardcopy folders and invoices and things like that.  You can use software that's available or hire somebody to do that, a bookkeeper ‑ or an accountant and again there's NDIS and non‑NDIS software available.  You can do a combination of these as well.  Linda is going to talk to us shortly about her approach to record keeping as well and how to find what works for you as well, because I think that's the key.  It can sound quite scary but really it's about just keeping the relevant data to show how you've been using those funds and that you're meeting those tick boxes on page 8 of the self‑management guide, so that you've thought about the things that you're buying are in order to meet goals, they're disability related, they're good value for money.  And you're just keeping records and keeping information along the way that will prove those things should you be asked down the track.  I will touch briefly on submitting a payment request through the NDIS.  So the NDIS has a step‑by‑step guide for this we will only touch on it briefly today.  We will send out the guide with the email ‑ with an email to everybody afterwards.  But basically, when you're submitting a payment request it's through the NDIS participant portal.  You need to know the support categories that what you're requesting fits into not necessarily the individual line items.  A key thing to remember is that you pay for the service once it's been delivered.  You can't pay for it in advance.  So ‑ because of a risk of cancellation or other change in circumstances.  So for something like a six‑month course, you would pay for each session individually as the participant attends it.  If you make a mistake, it can be fixed.  So please don't be scared off by the participant portal and seeming intimidating.  It's okay to fix it.  You know, it can be done.  We can do it.  So if you make a mistake claiming the wrong category, you can cancel and resubmit the payment request in the right category.  You can also call the NDIA for help.  So these things aren't ‑ it's not done and dusted.  There are options.  So please don't let concerns about using the online portal stop you from investigating self‑management as an option.  And similarly with record keeping as well.  If you would like to talk about what would work for you and options for you and your family, please feel free to give us a call as well.  We're happy to do that.  And to provide some general information that then you take on board to make your decisions.  This is a screenshot of the participant portal when you're adding a payment request.  And you can see on the right, about halfway down under the purple it says support categories.  So that's where you put in the category from the budget that we were looking at earlier and then you can choose the claim type, is it a direct service, non‑face‑to‑face service, or other things in there and then you can put a description in as well.  And you can see that you can add another payment request as well.  You can put more than one through at a time.  All right.  So some options to get further support.  CYDA's phone number is there as well.  We can provide support.  We can also provide support on email.  And you will have our contact details through registering for today's webinar but we will also make sure we send resources out afterwards.  There's NDIS resources.  And just to say, I guess, to make it really clear that relying on NDIS resources and speaking directly to the agency is your best port of call for accurate information, to rely on up‑to‑date information.  The self‑management guide information on directly engaging your own staff and information booklet they have just put out around COVID‑19 and changing circumstances there.  CYDA is keeping track of those updates as well and how it's changing because we all know changes can happen pretty quickly  with the NDIS.  So we're keeping an eye on it as well.  There's information being sent out in our newsletter, our e‑newsletter regularly too.  You can get in touch with us if you have questions.  There's a range of options for peer support as well.  And there's a number of Facebook groups, for example, if that's what works for you or you might know other people who are involved or you might ask us around learning from other people and so with the peer support I guess noting that it's not formal advice, it's ‑ it doesn't replace professional advice but peer support can be a really effective way of informally sharing experiences and learning from each other about what works and what doesn't work.  And we're really happy to have Linda here today to do that with us too which leads me quite nicely into there.  I'm going to just finish up with putting our information on the screen.  We will also email this out as well but, of course, there's our information there for us.  We've got some time for questions briefly.  I've had a question come in.  We've had some come in from email.  Excuse me while I shuffle my pages.  Here we go.  I've got it.  All right.  So we've got some questions here about what you have to tell service providers and how much you disclose about your plan to service providers.  You don't need to disclose your plan or your child's plan to the service provider or even to tell them that you're self‑managing as some may not be registered providers.  Noting that for therapists you will need to disclose the goals in your plan that ‑ so that they can write a report to track progress and make recommendations for the next plan.  Also got a couple of questions here about the participant portal.  So do I have to pay upfront and then claim through the portal?  No.  This is only one way to do it.  However, the best way is to ask your providers to invoice you and give a few days to pay and in that way you will be able to do the payment request in the portal first and then pay your provider.  Do I have to upload invoices or receipts when I claim in the portal?  No.  You keep the invoices or receipts with you in case of auditing.  The payment request has a description box where you can add information about your purchase which is useful for your record keeping.  All right.  If any other questions are coming in, please pop them in the answer box.  We've got a question from Karen that has come in.  I will read it out.  Can I pay out of the NDIS funds for disability sports memberships, eg special Olympics annual membership fees and sports inclusion Australia annual memberships.  That's a great question.  I'm going to throw to Elga for that one.  Just a tick while we get our microphone sorted.


    Thanks everyone.  This is a really good question.  Thank you, Karen.  General rule is they are not funded by the NDIS.  I know that this one is different because this is done special Olympics annual membership.  I guess the criteria you saw in the presentation also is that anything that is disability related will help the participant to be part of the community or to integrate to any activities that they like to do.  So it could be more that if your son needs support to attend these groups, the Olympic group or some training he will have the support worker and that support worker will be funded by the NDIS but the memberships, they're not ‑ they're definitely not funded.  It's not the support they need to be part of the group or, for example, the transport that he needs in order to attend these regular sessions during the year.  So that's not about the support that he will get.  To clarify when the participant wants to go to a gym to improve their health.  The NDIS won't pay those membership.  The NDIS will be there to have that support worker that will be with the participant in the gym or have the special support in the gym for them to be safe and to participate in the activities they like to have.  I hope we answered your question.  

    Thanks very much, Elga.  All right.  I'm just about to introduce Linda.  I will do a final plug for people to keep putting questions into the box in case our responses haven't answered or in case anything else comes up.  And now I'm very happy to introduce Linda Wemyss.  She is a writer and disability advocate, wife, mother to two young boys who are NDIS participants.  Linda and her family live in sunny Queensland and as an aside from Melbourne I am going to say I'm jealous of that especially at the moment.  Linda is going to share her experiences with us around self‑management and the things that she likes about it.  Thank you so much, Linda. 

    Hi.  Thanks for that.  Before I start, I would like to acknowledge the Gubbi Gubbi people the traditional custodians of the land on which I live.  And recognise their continued connection to land, water and community.  I pay my respect to elders past and present.  A little bit about me.  I have got two boys on NDIS, Nick who is 14 and Quinn who is 11.  We deal with a variety of disabilities in our home.  We have physical, neurological, psychosocial and developmental.  So we sort of have the whole broad spectrum there.  This is our second year on NDIS.  We chose to self‑manage because I also am on NDIS and I didn't want to ask permission to live my life.  I wanted to just be able to get out there and do it.  So by self‑managing, when we want something or need something we can just make that happen.  We don't have to go to a planner or anything else.  We're in a position to do that.  So we're really lucky with that.  Some of the benefits of self‑management for us have been that I've been able to go back to study.  I'm starting a business.  I get to do things when I want to.  My kids get to do things when they want to.  We can directly employ our own support workers which has been fantastic for us because we have such a unique family it can be really hard to find people that fit in.  We can get inventive with things that we need.  So our first plan was really tiny.  And being able to self‑manage meant that we could get very creative with how we spent our funds and that was awe some.  It made it go a lot further and also meant that we could put things in place which meant this year we got a much better package so that was great.  We can pay our own prices for things.  So at one point last year we saw a psychologist, my boys saw a psychologist who was charging over the maximum NDIS fee.  But it seemed to work well for them at the time and so we were able to do that which was really great.  With the categories that we use at the moment, so it does get a bit confusing with categories.  There's ‑ so we use core daily activities which is where we employ support workers to help us around the house, they help my kids with things at home, we employ a cleaner, our mower dude who is fantastic, someone to wash our car, that sort of thing.  I also use that funding to employ a bookkeeper to help me with the bookkeeping side of things and teach me how to do it because at first I was really, really stuck.  With core social participation we use that to employ support workers to go outside of the house.  So anything that we need to do that's outside of our yard, basically, we use that section for.  We also use that for short‑term accommodation.  Core consumables, that was really hard for me to wrap my head around at first.  I wasn't sure what was allowed and what wasn't.  So it took a little while to learn but peer support networks are really great and places like CYDA are really great to ask questions.  So at the moment we use that for level 1 or 2 AT, for example fidget items, sensory items, adaptive equipment because we all do things for ourselves.  We have limitations.  Personal supplies like PPE which we actually have needed before COVID‑19, continence aids, that sort of thing.  We also use that for bookkeeping supplies.  So things like the files that I file everything in and the books that we use.  My support workers have vehicle logbooks, that type of thing comes out of consumables.  Moving into capacity building, which is about building capacity, I guess, we have support coordination for all three of us.  So David is our support coordinator.  He's fantastic in just assisting me in anything that I sort of find difficult.  So a few months ago we needed to find a speech pathologist that dealt with swallowing issues.  And that was very difficult, not very many speech pathologists do that.  So we had his help to find one of those.  That sort of thing.  He will make appointments for me if I'm really busy or just really stressed out.  We are getting CB home living this year because we're applying for specialist disability accommodation.  So that's been quite the ride.  CB social participation we use for peer support workers to try and ‑ they don't just take us out but they actually help us build skills in being social and going out and doing that sort of stuff.  CB health and well‑being we employ a dietitian to help us with some of our issues with diet and one of our disabilities we have a lot of gastro issues so she helps with that sort of things.  Then CB daily activity.  This is where we pay therapists and last year we also used this for support workers.  So the difference between your core daily activities and your CB daily activities when it comes to support workers is in core you can employ support workers to do things for you.  So they can do the cleaning for you.  Whereas with CB daily activity, it's more about employing a support workers to help you do that activity, so to teach you or to otherwise help you do it for yourself as opposed to doing it for you.  So that's sort of how I distinguish between the two.  And lastly we have capital, AT that we can use.  So the rules have just changed around that where we're now allowed to do some of that ourselves so long as we have the appropriate paperwork and that to go with it so we were really lucky to get some of that funding this year.  Hopefully I can get electric wheels on my wheelchair and the same for my son.  So that would be really great.  It's good timing for us that that came in.  So moving on to record keeping, which Maeve was talking about before.  I have quite a complicated system for record keeping.  I'm a little weird like that.  I prefer paper over computer.  So I ‑ I am not sure if you can see me at the moment.  Hang on a sec.  There we go.  I'm back.  Sorry about that.  So my first file, I guess, is this one.  You can buy these from Officeworks.  They're fantastic.  You put files in them.  If you can see the different colours there.  Because we have multiple plans I have a different colour for each of us.  And this holds our formal paperwork that NDIS sends out.  And then at the beginning I have like the books that NDIS give you.  So this file's sort of my set and forget.  I get our new plans, I put it in here in case we need it and then put on the shelf and don't refer back to it until the end of the year.  I have this ‑ this is my main NDIS record keeping book.  So, again, it's sort of like a thing you can put different books in with elastic.  So in the front I have all our NDIS cards and a couple of our bank cards that we don't use very often which I will get more into that later.  The first book here is where we go through once a month and I plan our future.  So I will write down how much funding we have left for the year and then on the page behind it I will work out, okay, what do I need to do with that funding and how long does it have to last, how many hours can I employ my support workers were ‑ for because they like to know that sort of thing.  And it also keeps track so that if I'm over spending then I can cut back and if I'm under spending then I can say, okay, we can now do a bit more stuff with that.  So the next book I have is online purchases which I haven't actually been filling out.  The one after that is one of my important ones.  So this is where I write down everything that we've spent.  And I keep track of the NDIS number, where it came out of, how much, and then the bank number from when I paid it.  And then who it was for.  So this is in case my computer crashes or something else happens to what I've kept on my computer.  And it also means that it's just there for me.  Sometimes I can't use my computer so this helps.  A to‑do list.  Then at the back I have a book that keeps all the important stuff like our reference numbers and phone call details that we've made and that sort of stuff.  So this is my main book.  Again, I don't use this very often.  Probably every month or so I will update it with that information.  So the next one is this one.  This one I use every week.  This is where my invoices go.  And the system I have is when I first get an invoice I put it in the front here.  And then ‑ so I've got a couple in there at the moment.  And then once I've put them into the portal and I'm waiting for the NDIS to pay me, they then go to the next one.  Once I've been paid and I've written my details into my book and I'm waiting to file it, they go into the next one.  My husband very nicely made me some stickers which I think you can see there.  So I've got the one at the top is the one that I put on invoices and the one I put on pay slips is down the bottom.  That just has the name because there's three of us, so I can tell whether it's for me or Nick or Quinn.  And then the date, support budget category, and receipt numbers and the date they were paid and everything.  So once this has been filled out, the sticker has been filled out, I know that receipt or invoice has been done.  It can be filed.  And then every few months I will go through and file them, write them all up and at the end of the year I ‑ or end of NDIS year, when our plans finish, I go through and make sure that I have all of the invoices and receipts and that they match up and then I put them away for filing.  And forget about them and work on next year's.  The other records that we have to keep are for our employees.  So I have one of these folders which is also sort of a set and forget.  So in the front I've got our workers' compensation insurance policy and all that sort of stuff.  And then my employees have a file each.  So I've done up a pretend one for you to have a look at.  So in the front here to keep track of everything like their blue cards and that sort of thing because they're working with kids I have like a to‑do list so I can tick things off, once it's ticked off I know it's done and it's fine.  Next to police check, blue card, yellow card,ing etcetera, I have expiry dates so I can make sure they're all in ‑ all up to date with that.  And then I have forms that they fill out with their emergency contacts, their tax file numbers, super, bank accounts,s that sort of thing.  I have a different one for anyone that we contract.  So we do have one contractor as well.  And then I also put in here their employment contract, their tax file information, copies of their driver's licence, etcetera, interview questions or any résumés or anything they might have given me.  So once that folder is done up I can pretty well put that aside as well.  Then the last of our record keeping for the paper side of things is this file that I have.  So it's kind of like a diary and a book in one.  So we have weekly ‑ I don't know if you can see that ‑ we have weekly diary that the girls keep track of the hours that they've worked, we have stickers here we've done up so they tick off when they've done all the chores that need doing around the house.  Each of my kids has their own little section.  So if something particular to them needs doing then it gets written in there.  And then at the end of each month we have major to‑do lists.  So if everything else is done then they can come here.  And this way I can just write down, you know, if it's 11 o'clock at night and I think I need them to do this, I can write it down there and know that it will get done and I don't have to worry about it again.  So it works very well for me.  On the computer side of things, I use zero to do payroll.  The tax department has started single touch payroll which is easy to do especially in zero.  So, yeah, I put their pays through, I do the single touch payroll, and then every three months I pay their tax bill.  We did get a bookkeeper to help set it up.  It took a few hours to set it up but once it's set up it's really simple.  We have three bank accounts.  I have one that the NDIS pays money into.  I have one that I use for my employees so that that's separate to everything else.  And then I also have one that we use for more personal purchases.  So the employees get a card each for that one and they can use that when they're out and about with my kids.  I don't do spreadsheets.  I prefer paper but I know a lot of people do find spreadsheets very useful.  That's always an option if you want to go that way.  I keep a copy of all invoices and receipts that I get via email.  I don't keep a copy of any that I get in person.  There's not actually that many that I get in person and I figure if the house burns down then they're going to understand that.  I will also have records ‑ I pay everything through the bank.  So I will have records of having paid it.  It just won't have details of what it was for, exactly.  So I think that's probably about it for my record keeping unless anyone has any questions.  

    Thanks so much, Linda.  That's brilliant.  I'm going to come back with my video as well.  Hi. 


    We're just getting ‑ we will see if we've got any questions coming in on the chat for now.  I wonder if that will have sparked some thinking for people and some questions about what that ‑ how that might work for them and their families as well.  So I will keep you up there.  And we will see what comes in on the Q&A.  I will read ‑ Elga has been typing responses to people who have been writing in as well.  So I will read out some of those as well in case they're of relevance to other people too while we wait to see if any new ones come in.  We had a question that says, "Hi I thought that CB daily activity was for therapists and not support workers, please could you clarify.  Thank you.  And Linda, if you want to jump in on any of this as well. 


    I will read out our response first.  We've said CB daily activities generally where you pay your therapist, therapists assistant but can be for a support worker as long as they help with skill development.  You may use social and community to pay support workers as long as they have the capacity building component.  

    Pretty well what I said before the way I think ‑ core daily activities is somebody doing something for me and CB daily activities is somebody teaching me how to do something.  They're both support workers and that's fine.  But CB daily activity the support worker can't do it for you.  They can only do that if it's coming out of core.  So that's sort of where I make the differentiation.  

    Fabulous.  Thank you.  I'm going to put you on the spot here with a couple of questions, if that's all right. 

    Go for it. 

    So I'm thinking if you were starting self‑management again and you had somebody like yourself now to ask questions of, what would you wish to know?  Like, what do you wish you had known at the start that would be helpful?  

    Probably the best piece of advice I got was a few months after I had started and it just totally blew my mind and made everything so much more simple for me.  It's when it comes to funding within the NDIS there's two lots of rules.  There's reasonable and necessary, which is what you're funded for.  And once you have your plan and you have your funding, reasonable and necessary goes out the door.  That's done.  After that, when you're self‑managing, it's all about page 8 of the self‑management guide.  If you can answer yes to those questions, you can purchase the support.  So long as you're doing it from the right category and all those sorts of little rules we also have.  But it's no longer about reasonable and necessary.  It is only about those questions.  So if I can answer yes to those I can get it.  It's very simple.  

    I really like that way of thinking about it.  I think that's really helpful.  


    What are the things that you found most challenging as you were starting to self‑manage?  

    Probably finding my niche with the paperwork.  We tried ‑ or I tried lots of things, before I sort of found my groove with it all.  I think that it takes time to get your groove with that and find what works for you and for some people it might take a few months to sort of try a ‑ a few different things and realise what works for them and their family.  

    Fantastic.  What about places you've gone to for help or advice.  Is there anywhere you've found useful to speak to or information online that's helped you. 

    There's a few peer support groups on Facebook that I'm part of that have been really helpful.  I tend not to call the NDIS because they often give you different answers.  But I did have to call them last week so I do recommend that if you do, you get a reference number for that phone call and take note of what was said.  And just looking around the internet there's actually quite a lot on the internet if you just Google stuff.  So the growing space is a really good resource.  And CYDA, obviously, was also a really great resource for us having kids. 

    Thank you.  We're about to push our own work, we're about to put resources out on our beautiful new website.  I would encourage everybody to take a look at that as well.  We've had a couple of questions come in through the chat.  So we will start with how do you find the employees you recruit. 

    This was really interesting for us because we had a lot of problems with support workers in the past.  So they tended to come in and wanted to save us.  And I found that really challenging to deal with and quite offensive quite often, quite regularly.  So we sort of started to steer away from disability support for the kids and I got a membership to find a babysitter.com.au and I found our support workers there.  One I found on Facebook but, yeah, the majority I found there.  So that's actually worked a lot better.  For us.  

    Yeah, absolutely.  That's a brilliant ‑ I haven't heard that before but that's a really brilliant example of the flexibility, I think, that can come with self‑management. 

    And I did call the NDIA and I said can I hire a nanny and not a support worker.  They said yes, that's part of your choice and control.  So, yeah, that was awesome. 

    Yeah, absolutely.  I'm going to read out ‑ sorry, just one tick.  

    I just want to add that where you can find support workers in your local community can also be advertised in your supermarket, in your library, in the local university.  It really depends, you know, the type of support worker you're looking for.  It could be even a friend of yours, or, you know, someone that you know previously that can provide services.  There also was a question about if you can employ family members and that's something that it's not allowed by the NDIS.  You can definitely hire friends as support workers but you can't hire family members.  That's one of the rules.  However, the NDIA has an exception to that rule but you will need to have approval by the NDIA to get that and they will analyse your specific circumstances to allow the person to have that exception but the general rule is not.  

    Thanks very much, Elga.  I've also got a comment that's come in saying we've also found great people through our child's after school care provider, young energetic people which is great.  So people are being really flexible I think with how they're thinking about those things.  Two more questions for you, Linda.  The first one is why did you choose to directly employ workers instead of engaging contractors. 

    So our workers for the most part have the same hours every week, two of them are on 30 hours a week and one is on 18.  And due to that they are actually considered employees by the tax department.  So for that reason we decided this year to swap over and actually start direct employment.  Just to make sure that we were doing the right thing legally.  And it also helps them because it's easier for them to do things like get a loan and that sort of thing if they're employed as opposed to having their own business.  So, yeah, we had a chat altogether and said, "Okay, what do you think about this?"  And everyone was for it so that's why we decided to change over. 

    Yeah.  Fabulous.  That links in ‑ I've got another question that's come through earlier as well that's written down here around thinking again about employing staff and managing staff.  How can self‑managers bring different support workers together?  And if you have any advice on that, Linda, and I know you've talked through some of your record keeping approaches as well. 

    Sorry, I'm not sure what the question means exactly. 

    I guess in terms of communicating if you've got different people doing different ‑ 

    Oh, yeah.  That's where our planner comes in.  So everything goes into that.  So we have ‑ if I can show you again.  We have the weekly that I showed before but we also have in the back here various sections that apply to my kids.  So everything from all our Centrelink and Medicare numbers through to ‑ I've got doctors' numbers and all that sort of stuff in here.  My ‑ I do up a booklet as well on my family for our support workers.  So it's got emergency numbers, our extended family numbers in case something happens to us, details on the kids' medical situations and what to do if, you know, they have an asthma attack or allergy attack or whatever.  Just where things are in the house so that if we're not here and they want to find something like sun screen and they don't know where it is, then it's got all that sort of thing written down.  Where the fire extinguisher is and that sort of thing as well.  Health and safety stuff.  So, yeah, everything is in that book.  And they look at that every day.  That's where they write down their hours.  It's just all in that one spot.  

    Yeah, that's fabulous.  Thank you.  I think that's a really good thing to think about when you've got people coming into your home as well and different people as well.  We've got another question that has come through about what type of accommodation can be paid for by a plan.  And in your experience, Linda, are you able to speak a bit to that?  

    It sort of depends on which type of accommodation.  I guess that's the question, isn't it.  So there's various levels of accommodation with NDIS.  There's specialist disability accommodation where the NDIS helps you with a house that you live in, so for us we're going to need one that's especially built for our family.  So we're very much in the beginning of that process.  I'm expecting it to be very long and complicated.  So that's your SDA.  That comes into capital.  Capital support.  There's medium term accommodation which helps people with disability sort of ‑ it's a few months, I believe.  I haven't looked into it that much.  We haven't needed it so I apologise for that.  But between 3 and 6 months, I think, for up to 3 months.  One or the other.  And it's for that sort of in between place where you don't have anywhere to live at the moment but you don't actually really need specialist accommodation either.  You just ‑ yeah.  I think from memory.  It's been a while since I've read about that.  And then there's short‑term accommodation which we have used a few times.  And that's where you can go and stay or ‑ like the person who has the plan can go and stay somewhere.  To give the carers a break or to go and do something that they need to do or whatever the circumstances may be around that.  So we've used our short‑term accommodation for my husband and I to go away so we've used mine for that.  And we've used the kids for them to go away to camp and that sort of thing.  So, yeah, so that's your short‑term accommodation.  I know people go on cruises and there's all sorts of ways that you can sort of use that.  

    Yeah, absolutely.  Thank you.  And that, again, speaks to the flexibility, I think, as well, and doing what works for you.  


    All right.  We've nearly come to the end of our webinar and we've got no active questions waiting.  I'm going to do one final call.  If you've got a burning question, please pop it in within the next minute.  Otherwise email it through to us and give us a call.  I want to say thank you so much to Linda for sharing with us today and for providing an example of self‑management in practice and sharing the lessons you've learnt as well.  I think nothing helps more when you're thinking about starting something new than hearing from somebody who has been in the same boat, I think.  Thank you so much for taking your time. 

    Thanks for having me. 

    So thank you.  All right.  And I'm going to say thank you very much to my colleague Elga as well for pulling together all of the material that we've been talking about today.  And for all of her work on the project.  And make another plug for ‑ I might share the ‑ share the numbers one more time.  Make a plug forgetting in touch with us if you would like.  We've got a beautiful new website which has a lot of information on there.  We've also got an e‑newsletter you can join and please email us and call us at any time.  Comments coming through in the questions as well.  So thank you, Linda ‑ saying thank you Linda as well.  So without further ado I would like to thank everybody for joining us online today as well.  We've had a great turnout and really appreciate everybody's time this morning.  And wish everybody an enjoyable rest of your Friday.  Thanks again.