Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions
about the NDIS
There’s a lot to know about the NDIS. There’s even a whole bunch of new terms to learn and understand before you even get started. To help make your NDIS journey easier, we’ve explained the basics of how to access the scheme and how it works in these NDIS FAQs.
Have a read of our NDIS FAQs to gain a better understanding of what you need to do, and how to start your journey.
If you have any more questions about how the NDIS works, check out our blogs for some useful information, or you can also contact us.
Am I eligible for the NDIS?
You’re eligible for the NDIS if:
- You’re aged 7-65 years old and have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities
You’re aged 0-6 years and have a developmental delay requiring early intervention to reduce the impacts of your delay and build skills and independence
You’re an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa, and
You live in a part of Australia where the NDIS is available
What is an NDIA Partner?
There are two types of community-based organisations that partner with the NDIA to deliver the NDIS, and assist with access requests.
Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) partner who helps children 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability. They connect you with services and supports tailored to your child’s needs.
Local Area Coordination (LAC) Partner who help people aged 7-65 years, to understand and access the NDIS. They also work with NDIS participants to develop and use their plan, as well as connect people with supports, services, activities and other government services in the community.
NDIS Access request information
What information do you need to provide for your NDIS access request? You, or your chosen nominee will need to provide:
- Your name, age, location and whether you have permission to live in Australia permanently, plus evidence of your age and residence
- Details and evidence about your disability and its impact on your everyday life
- Current and/or relevant reports from medical specialists or allied health professionals
- Notice of permission for the NDIA to talk to other people about your disability, including Centrelink, your GP or a person providing support to you
You can provide your information:
In person: Take it to your local office
Or send your evidence to the NDIA via:
By mail: GPO Box 700, Canberra, ACT 2601
By email: NAT@ndis.gov.au
How do I prepare for the NDIS?
When you go into your planning meeting with the NDIA you need to provide them with enough information about you and your life, to give them a clear picture of:
- Who you are
How your disability affects you
What support you need
What your goals are for your life
The easiest way to do this, is to fill out a pre-planning document like the template in First2Care. It will help you document details such as:
Who’s helping you with pre-planning
What regular activities you’re involved in
What occasional activities you’re involved in
What is life like for you now
What your living arrangements are
What important relationships you have
What paid support you have
What aids and equipment you have or need
What your goals are
The support you need to reach those goals
We know that the more detail and preparation that goes into pre-planning, the better your funding outcomes can be.
What is an NDIS plan?
When you’re approved for the NDIS and become a participant, the NDIA will send you your NDIS plan to you. Your NDIS plan is created by the NDIA based on the information that you provide in your planning meeting. That’s why it’s important to be well prepared for that meeting. It outlines all your needs and goals, and details all the funding you’ve been given for the duration of your plan.
Your plan can be Self-Managed, Plan Managed or Agency Managed, and will list the informal supports (friends and family), community support and other government services and funded supports you’ve been approved to receive.
Your plan will be unique to you, your disability and circumstances. You’ll get to choose how to use your funding to achieve your goals and live the life you want to live.
What support is covered under NDIS?
The NDIS funds a range of supports and services that are deemed to be reasonable and necessary to help you (the participant) to, reach your goals, objectives and aspirations, maximise your independence and undertake activities to enable you to participate in the mainstream community and in employment.
The NDIA assesses your application against the criteria in the Rules from Sections 33 and 34 of the NDIS Act.
Support funding may be provided in your NDIS plan for education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements, and health and wellbeing.
For the support to be considered reasonable and necessary, a support or service:
- Must be related to your (the participant) disability
- Must not include day-to-day living costs that are not related to disability support needs, (groceries etc) and should be value for money
- Must be proven to be effective and work for the participant, and
- Cannot overwrite support given by other government services, family, carers, networks and the community
What do I take to my NDIS planning meeting?
Before your NDIS planning meeting, it’s important to get all your documentation together. Being prepared with all of your information will help streamline the process with your planner and give the NDIA a clear picture of who you are and what you need. You’ll need to bring with you:
- Personal information: copies of your ID, Enduring Power of Attorney etc
- Information about your disability and health: diagnosis reports, assessments and reports from therapists, home modification assessments etc
- Other documentation about your life and supports: lists of disability supports and services, hours of personal care, lists and quotes for equipment and consumables you require
How can my NDIS plan be managed?
The flexibility and control offered by the NDIS comes from your ability to choose how you manage your plan. There are three plan management options:
1. Plan Managed
This is where you engage a Plan Manager to help you manage your funding (such as organising providers and payments, paying invoices and tracking expenses). You maintain the the freedom to choose and direct your supports and can use registered and unregistered support providers. You might choose to be Plan Managed if you want help and/or training to make sure you’re claiming funds from the NDIS correctly, and keeping adequate financial records.
2. Agency Managed
This is where you decide to let the NDIA (or Agency) manage your plan for you. You give control to the NDIA to pay for and engage your supports for you. While you maintain choice and control, the NDIS will only engage NDIS registered providers to provide you with the supports and services you need. Agency management suits those people who don’t have the capacity to coordinate their support and keep track of their budgets and paperwork.
3. Self Managed
Self-management is when you choose to stay in control of who you engage to support you, as well as managing all the financial tasks and reporting to the NDIA. When you self-manage your NDIS Plan, you’re not limited to registered support providers. As long as the supports and services you engage are reasonable and necessary – you’ll have complete control over your plan and your life.
What does reasonable and necessary support mean?
The term ‘reasonable and necessary’ refers to the criteria that the NDIA use to assess your proposed plan and approve your supports. This list of criteria is found in the Rules from Sections 33 and 34 of the NDIS Act.
It means that the NDIS will fund supports that help you (the participant) to:
- Reach your goals, objectives and aspirations
- Maximise your independence and undertake activities enabling you to participate in the mainstream community and in employment
While taking into account your informal (unpaid) supports and formal (paid) supports in place already. Informal support might come from friends, family or community services. Your formal support might come from the departments of health or education.
More detail here: Reasonable and necessary: What it means for you
How do I find help to apply for and navigate the NDIS?
If you need help to access and implement your NDIS plan, there are a number of services available to you.
1. NDIS Access
Your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Partner will be able to assist you to prepare for and access the NDIS.
In addition to the LAC and ECEI partners, most service providers can help you with your pre-planning. You might like to choose an existing service provider, or one that you might get support from in the future. The Pre-planning Template within the First2Care NDIS Plan Management Platform has proven to be helpful for participants in building a detailed picture of their life for the NDIA, leading them to receive the funding they need to achieve their goals and live their life the way they want to.
The NDIS have translated a lot of the key information about the how to access the NDIS and what it means for you in Auslan.
Translations and interpreter services are also available for people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 or you can access NDIS information that has been translated into ten other languages.
For help to implement the services and supports within your NDIS plan, you can request funding and assistance from a Support Coordinator. Depending on your level of need, they can help connect you to services through to assisting you with arranging complex support needs.
For many people with a disability, the NDIS is the first chance they’ve had to stand up and ask for the support they want, and feel they’re entitled to. Miscommunications between providers, government agencies and participants can result in poor outcomes. If you feel you need help protecting your rights to choice and control there are advocacy services available to you in every state. Find out how to build your capacity for success under the NDIS.
The NDIA holds regular events and workshops across the country to inform people about the NDIS and answer their concerns and questions about the scheme.
What happens if I’m not happy with my plan?
One of the main reasons participants don’t get the funding they were expecting is by not providing enough information for the NDIA to make accurate funding decisions during their planning meeting. It’s so important to be prepared for this meeting.
If you’re not happy with your plan, you may wish to request an early review. This is called an internal plan review. The NDIA will review the funding decision internally and you will be assigned a new planner to perform a reassessment of your support needs. This process can take a few weeks to a few months to complete so you need to be sure this is what you want.
You can also request an unscheduled plan review if your circumstances have changed significantly, and your plan is insufficient for your needs. The NDIA will review your circumstances and reassess your support needs, and prepare a new plan on your behalf. Reviewing your plan.