Distinguishing the Roles of a Local Area Coordinator from a Support Coordinator

Distinguishing the Roles of a Local Area Coordinator from a Support Coordinator

Whether you are an NDIS worker or participant, there are too many details to read and understand concerning coordination and support. Although the NDIS provides information on the same, it may not be enough to capture all the intricate details. For example, the roles of the local area coordinators and support coordinators are clear but telling the difference between the two entities is still challenging. Therefore, we have put together all this information elaborately to distinguish their roles and understand where they fall in an NDIS plan. Learn more about local area coordinators and why they differ from support coordinators.

Who is a Local Area Coordinator?

An NDIS local area coordinator (LAC) works alongside other planners contracted by the NDIA to handle planning meetings within a specific geographical area. Their main duty is to link NDIS participants to the NDIS and other mainstream and community support within your area. LACs are also paid directly by the NDIA, and no money is payable out of your plan, nor will you pay out of pocket.

What are the Responsibilities of a Local Area Coordinator?

  • Helping NDIS participants access the NDIS through group workshops or one-on-one conversations.
  • Creating NDIS management plans – The respective LAC in your region will talk to you about your current situation, support you need and goals to achieve, which guides the development of an elaborate plan. However, it is essential to note that local area coordinators cannot approve any NDIS plans because an NDIA representative must do it.
  • NDIS plan implementation- The NDIS website states that NDIS local area coordinators should help participants and start receiving services included in the NDIS plan. They should also help throughout the plan if you have any concerns.
  • Reviewing your plan – The LAC works collaboratively to make changes to your plan through plan reviews when they expire. It takes place after 12 months or when you consider an unscheduled review.
  • Informing participants about the available support within the local community.
  • Explaining how the NDIS partners with other government services to support health, education, and transport. The LAC will provide an email or telephone number to reach them if you have any questions.

Who is a Support Coordinator (SC)?

An NDIS support coordinator provides funded support for applicants who get approval for ‘support coordination’ in their NDIS plan. These supports are included because of complex needs that may require more assistance than available. The support coordinator will coordinate the services you receive from various providers and suppliers.

Participants can engage any support coordinator in the NDIS of their choice, considering they are private businesses that receive funding from your plan. There are also different levels of support coordination to consider during the planning meeting with the LACs.

What are the Responsibilities of a Support Coordinator?

  • Helping NDIS participants build the necessary skills to understand and use the NDIS plan. In addition, they communicate about the plan and advise on the usage of funding to reach long-term goals.
  • Works with people with disability to ensure they receive a combination of supports that will increase their capacity to maintain relationships, live independently and actively participate in the community.
  • Explaining to participants what the items in their plan mean, to empower them and help them feel the connection and support. Doing this ensures confident spending of funds in appropriate ways.
  • Connecting NDIS members to providers they want to include in their plans.
  • Helping approved NDIS participants to negotiate with providers about their offers and how much they will have to pay from the plan.
  • The support coordinator ensures the service agreements and service bookings are complete.
  • Ensuring the services the participant engages in are relevant to their goals. Any services that are considered unhelpful to the participant will not be part of the plan to allow focus on essential activities.
  • Helps participants prepare for plan reviews as soon as they are due.

Differences Between a Local Area Coordinator and a Support Coordinator

  • An NDIS local area coordinator holds plan meetings with eligible participants to collect information that the NDIA will use to create new plans. Meanwhile, a support coordinator receives funding from the NDIA in an NDIS plan after approval. They must assist members in planning how to achieve their goals and live independently.
  • An LAC can work and assist all participants in implementing and understanding their NDIS plans, including those not receiving support coordination funding. However, Support coordinators are only available to NDIS participants with support coordination in their plans.
  • LACs within a geographical region are supposed to inform participants about the available support in their communities. However, unlike local area coordinators, support coordinators in NDIS connect participants to providers within their areas and help them negotiate service prices in their support.
    Local area coordinators rarely assist participants in finding and managing support compared to support coordinators. However, support coordinators offer various levels of support, including specialist support coordination to assist people with more complex life situations to help them manage the challenges in the support environment.

Getting Support Coordination Included in Your Plan

NDIS funding is based on what is ‘reasonable and necessary to pursue your goals besides the support of family, friends, and other communities or services. Support coordination is included in the overall capacity-building budget when there is a reasonable and necessary situation. This budget included the fixed amount for a fixed coordinator to help you use your plan. If your plan provides for a specific level of support coordination for funding, you can only purchase that given support. If the plan does not describe the level of support coordination funded, you can independently choose the level of support coordination that works for your needs. Your local area coordinator can inform you of any support available.

With all the details covered above, you can sufficiently determine your engagement level with a support coordinator or a local area coordinator. Both bodies work closely with the NDIA in different capacities to ensure proper care for people with disabilities. Knowing the difference between their roles will help to formulate a clear roadmap toward achieving your goals. It will also help incase you have any issues with your plan, you will know exactly the appropriate route to take when seeking help.

If you have any questions about NDIS plan management, please call us at 1800 63 63 77 or email us at info@ndsp.com.au. Register for Plan Management Sign Uptoday!


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