Navigating the world of disability services in Australia can be challenging, especially for individuals and families seeking to make the most of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Support coordination is a crucial aspect of this journey.

This blog post will help you understand how support coordinators can assist participants with their NDIS plans to ensure they make the most of their funding and achieve their goals.

We’ll also meet Tara Wormald, the Team Leader of Support Coordination at Enhanced Lifestyles, and hear why support coordination is a rewarding experience.

 

What is Support Coordination?

Support coordination is a service funded by the NDIS to help participants make the most out of their NDIS plans. Support coordinators work with participants to ensure they understand their plan, connect them with appropriate services, and build their capacity to manage their supports independently.

There are 3 levels of support coordination under the NDIS:

Support connection: Assisting participants understand their plan and connect them with informal, community, and funded supports.

Support coordination: More comprehensive than support connection, it helps participants design and implement supports in their plan, ensuring they use their funding effectively.

Specialist support coordination: For participants with more complex needs, requiring a higher level of support and coordination.

Support coordinators can be registered or unregistered. Registered support coordinators are those who have been approved by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as meeting certain standards of quality, experience, qualifications or competency to provide services for NDIS participants. Unregistered NDIS providers are not required to meet these standards but may still do so. and are only able to provide support to plan managed and self-managed participants.

All registered and unregistered support coordinators are required to comply with the NDIS Code of Conduct.

A teenage male NDIS participant sitting at a kitchen table, high fiving his Disability Support Worker

Who is eligible for Support Coordination?

Unlike plan management, support coordination is not available to every NDIS participant. The NDIS assesses each participant on a case-by-case basis, and usually only funds support coordination in the following circumstances:

  • Capacity building: The participant can likely develop the skills and confidence needed to be able to navigate the NDIS independently, so they work with a Support Coordinator for a time to help them achieve this
  • Lack of support network: If a participant doesn’t have or doesn’t want family, friends or other contacts to help find and manage service providers, the NDIS may fund a support coordinator to fill this role
  • Period of transition: If a participant is new to the NDIS, or is experiencing a significant change in their life, then funding for a support coordinator may be allocated.

 

The role of a Support Coordinator

Support coordination plays a critical role in helping participants navigate the NDIS system, access necessary services, and build their capacity for greater independence.

Tara has been a support coordinator in Adelaide since July 2020, and joined the Enhanced Lifestyles team in August 2022. She states that the NDIS is a very difficult space to navigate, and that support coordination is essential in NDIS plans as it, ‘helps customers understand the complex system, navigate available services and effectively implement their plans.’

She says, ‘Support coordination offers personalised assistance, linking the customer to appropriate supports, provision to build capacity for independence and ensure customers can maximise the benefits of their NDIS plan.’

Here are some of the things support coordinators do:

Help you understand your NDIS plan: Support coordinators assist participants to understand the specifics of their NDIS plan, including the funding allocations and how they can be used, including in home supports, personal care, community supports, Supported Independent Living (SIL), psychosocial recovery and support coordination itself.

Support budgets and funding: Support coordinators explain the various support budgets in a NDIS plan and what the funding can be used for.

Requirements and claims: Support coordinators inform participants about the necessary requirements to access supports, including when quotes are needed, what can or cannot be claimed, how much can be claimed, and when service bookings are required.

Connect with services: Support coordinators link participants with appropriate service providers (including Enhanced Lifestyles), community resources, and informal support networks such as parents, carers, family members and friendships.

Building capacity: Support coordinators empower participants to manage their own supports and make informed decisions about their care.

Crisis resolution: Support coordinators assist participants in times of crisis by coordinating with relevant services to provide immediate support.

Monitor and review: Support coordinators regularly check in with participants to ensure their supports are meeting their needs and assist with plan reviews.

Report to the National Disability Agency (NDIA): A support coordinator will need to provide the NDIA with reports on how they have helped participants to use their plan and pursue their goals.

Two women sitting on a couch reading a book.

Why is Support Coordination Important?

Tara feels that her role as a support coordinator in Adelaide allows her to make a meaningful impact in the lives of people living with a disability, particularly working for an organisation that is member-governed, where Board members are also customers.

‘Helping those living with disability in South Australia to navigate the NDIS, connecting them with essential services and being able to witness their progress towards greater independence or goals they have wanted to achieve – it’s incredibly rewarding.’

A woman with long brown hair is wearing a black turtleneck sweater, smiling, and facing the camera against a plain gray background.

Tara Wormald, Support Coordination Team Leader at Enhanced Lifestyles

Through the provision of individualised assistance, support coordinators empower NDIS participants to take control of their own lives and get the supports they need. Helping participants make the most of their NDIS funding ensures they get access to all the supports and services they are entitled to.

 

Choosing a Support Coordinator

Selecting the right support coordinator is crucial for a positive NDIS experience. Here are some tips for choosing a support coordinator:

  1. Qualifications and experience: Look for support coordinators with relevant qualifications and experience in disability services and the NDIS.
  2. Understanding your needs: Make sure the support coordinator understands your specific needs and goals.
  3. Good communication skills: Effective communication is key to a successful partnership. Choose someone who listens to you and communicates clearly.
  4. Transparency and integrity: Choose a support coordinator who is transparent about their services and operates with integrity.

 

Conclusion

By understanding the functions and importance of support coordination, participants can make informed decisions about their care and maximise the benefits of their NDIS plans. As the NDIS continues to grow and evolve, the role of support coordinators will remain crucial in ensuring that individuals with disabilities receive the support they need to lead fulfilling lives.

If you live in Adelaide or the Riverland, find out how Enhanced Lifestyles can assist you with support coordination!