In the last 10 weeks, quite a few of us have needed to apply for emergency payments from the NDIS. The payment went by number of names depending on who you spoke to – manual payments, advance payments, emergency payments. There was a spreadsheet to fill out, and then just as we were waiting for it to be processed, we were told the form changed, and you might have been asked to re-enter the data to a new form (taking a considerable amount of time away from client directed services).
Many of us suspected that this process could cause problems down the track, but faced with the prospect of insolvency, we needed to apply for the advance payment.
And, as the portal begins to function (somewhat – there are still many issues) the emergency payments are now preventing payments from flowing – creating a second wave of financial stress for many practice owners.
What should you do now?
What was the advance payment anyway?
Despite being asked to provide detailed accounts of the clients that services had been provided to, the advance payment was NOT ENTERED against clients in the portal. I suspect this would have been well beyond the resources of the NDIS at the time, and perhaps the system was sufficiently broken that they could not enter the payments any way.
The emergency/advance/manual payments were entered as a lump sum advance against providers accounts – effectively a loan. In accounting speak – it’s a debt, which needs to be paid back.
How do you reconcile the advance payment
Payment requests entered by providers are used to pay down the debt, and further monetary payments can’t be made to you until the debt is paid off. You may have been asked to re-enter the details into the bulk upload form – this would enable the NDIS to easily enter the claims into the portal, and reconcile (pay off) the advance payment.
Who should enter the payment requests?
The NDIS are advising that they will be contacting providers to do the reconciliation, however this is likely to take some time. It is also possible to do this yourself – and my advice if you need urgent payments is to do this.
Can I enter the payments myself?
Yes! You canThere are 2 ways you can enter payments into the NDIS – via a payment request (which allows you to make claims one at a time for individual clients) or by bulk upload. I recommend this method if you have a number of clients to make payments for. You may be able to use the spreadsheet that you have already entered data onto to receive the advance payment. Note: If you have had some contact with the NDIS about this, and they have said they are going to do it for you – Please let them know once you have completed it.
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