New company Empowrd has launched to help bridge the gap in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services available in the Eyre Peninsula.
Directors Bec Kolpondinos and Trish Kelsh said after they attended some workshops they soon realised there was a lack of NDIS plan management services in the area.
Mrs Kolpondinos said they have found that some of their clients in the Eyre have extensive agency managed plans in place, but have not been able to access the services.
“There is some negativity towards agency managed plans as we have had clients come to us half way through their plans who can’t use any of their funding,” she said.
Ms Kelsh said with plan managers, such as themselves, clients can chose their own support workers, who do not have to be registered with NDIS, and can be creative with how they allocate their funding.
NDIS clients can have agency managed plans assigned to them, can self manage there plans or find plan managers, but Mrs Kolpondinos said they have found agency managed plans can restrict options for people in rural and regional places.
“The NDIS agency managed plans can help clients with the paperwork, but they can only provide them with very limited options for registered support workers,” she said.
“One of our clients, a young mother, is more than capable of managing her sons plan, but she said she has far more important things to do with her time then paperwork.”
Empowrd focuses on pre-planning support and plan management to help prepare clients for their NDIS plan meeting and to connect clients and allocate funds to their nominated support services once the plan is in place.
Ms Kelsh said they only started offering their services about three weeks ago, but they have had many clients in the community that needed help in preparation for their NDIS meetings and in navigating the red tape.
“We’ve already taken on around 20 clients and we do have some more clients still waiting to get their plans,” she said.
“We also help them prepare for their NDIS planning meetings, as they need to be able to know how they are assessed, how to answer some of the questions and how the funding is calculated.”
Each NDIS plan can last from six months to a year depending on the clients age and disability. After each plan, feedback is provided by the client before another plan is prepared and implemented.
The NDIS is available to Australian citizens under the age of 65 years who have a life long and permanent disability.