“The NDIS focuses on how someone’s disability impacts on a person. NOT the disability itself.” Les Cope
Les Cope is absolutely right. The NDIS is about investing in you so that you can live the life you want to live, right now, and in the near and distant future. When you’re planning, you need to construct a clear picture for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), so they understand the assistance you need to achieve your goals and your potential, and you need to make sure they understand you. The best way to do this is to know which questions to ask your NDIS planner.
Unfortunately, once you have your final planning meeting with the NDIA, you probably won’t be able to review your plan before it’s approved. This isn’t ideal but it makes it all the more important to be as clear as you can from the start.
Even if you bring all your medical reports and documents with you, and feel totally prepared to discuss your proposed plan, you need make sure you haven’t left anything out, so let’s make sure they understand your circumstances completely.Questions to ask your NDIS Planner to confirm what you’ve discussed
I’m sure you’ve heard many stories, just like we have, of participants being given plans that have been insufficient for their needs. So, asking your NDIS planner questions about each part of your plan, won’t just confirm they’ve got it right – but hearing it from someone else’s mouth can make you realise what you may have forgotten to mention. If you wish, you can invite your carer or provider to attend the planning meeting with you, to help you advocate for the support you need. So what questions do you need to ask your planner?1. What are my personal details?
This might seem like too basic a question. But be sure to check your planner has your name and your personal info recorded correctly, and if you’re a parent or nominee for someone, that their details are right too. There have been some instances where personal details have been recorded incorrectly, which means your plan needs to be voided and a new one created. This is costly in both time and money and is frustrating for all involved.2. Can you confirm my current circumstances?
Ask your planner to confirm with you what your life looks like now. This will show they have a clear understanding of the:
Formal (paid) and informal (unpaid) support you’re currently receiving
The challenges you currently face in your day to day life
What you would like to stay the same in your life now
What you would like to change in your life to achieve your goals and potential
What goals and aspirations you have for the future
By hearing it in their words, it will be pretty obvious if they have misinterpreted something, or something is missing.
The point of the planning meeting is to give your planner the opportunity to get to know you, so they can create a ‘Statement of Participant Supports’ from the information you provide. This statement is what the NDIA use to decide what funding you will be given.
The NDIS website states that for any support to be approved, they must be satisfied that it will help you achieve your goals. Your planner will need to understand the link between the support to be funded and one or more of the goals you wish to achieve.The NDIA planner will also ask you how you’re going to measure the success of your goals in your proposed plan. The goal tracking features within First2Care make this easy.
A good planner will encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to planning for the future, but only you know what is important to you and how your current situation affects your life. The goal of the NDIS is to ensure you are building the life you want to live, and increasing your skills and capacity to achieve that.
Without a proper understanding of what your goals are for your life now, for the next 12 months to 5 years and beyond, your planner cannot advocate for the right support for you.From your meeting, your planner must establish at least one ‘Statement of goals and aspirations’.
So you need to make sure that this statement is correct. It might look like this:
"I want to increase my confidence and be able to manage my difficult behaviours and social skills and gain suitable, local employment so that I can feel like I am contributing to society, and making more friends.”
For the NDIA to consider funding assistance to support you to transition to employment, your planner would need to see that you have expressed this as a goal, and be able to disclose this in your ‘Goals and aspirations statement.’
As I mentioned in pre-planning post, the NDIA uses the Price Guide to determine what categories your supports will be funded by, and gives a definition of what is reasonable and necessary. If your planner indicates that you might not be given funding for anything you’ve mentioned, you should ask them why they aren’t considered ‘reasonable or necessary?’ You can always discuss these at your next planning meeting (if you require a second one).4. What is my preference for management of my plan?
When it comes to your NDIS Plan, you have the choice to decide exactly how much you want to do yourself. Self-management will give you the ultimate freedom to choose how you want your life to look – but you don’t have to start there.
In the beginning, you might choose to manage and engage your supports yourself, but ask a provider to act as a financial intermediary and take care of the money for you – and also teach you how to do that yourself.
So, one of your goals might be to learn how to manage your staff, pay their invoices and track expenses with more confidence. Make sure your planner understands how much you are willing and able to do yourself. You don’t want to be expected to self-manage if you don’t feel confident in doing so.
5. What information do you need that I haven’t already supplied?TIP: The First 2 Care management app is a Registered Assistive Technology with the NDIS. You can request funding to pay for the recruitment, rostering and plan management features of the app inside your plan. First 2 Care will assist you if you are self-managing or partly self-managing your funding. You can connect with support workers and providers from within the database to help you dream, plan and live the life you want to live.
Finally, it is important to confirm that your planner has all the supporting documentation they require to advocate for the funding and the support you want and need. Ask them to confirm if there are any gaps in the information you’ve provided that might clarify or give further evidence to back up your circumstances.
These might be:
a) Medical reports or reports from current service providers or allied health professionals
b) Evidence of the current informal and formal supports you are receiving – such as a letter from a current carer or a daily diary of support
c) Letters from employment agencies, volunteer employment services or respite servicesIf you require a second meeting to finish your planning conversation, you should check if there’s any further information or supporting documentation you need to provide.
Do it at the time of booking your next meeting so you’re prepared for your next appointment and can discuss these then.
Hopefully, these questions for your NDIS Planner will help you confirm that they’ve understood what your needs and goals are, but if you’d like more information on how the
NDIS decides on what to include in your plan, you might like to read some of their documentation:
Read more about the benefits of working with a Plan Manager. Alternatively, register with our FREE NDIS Plan Management platform, so we can start helping you best manage your plan today.
Read more about First2Care’s plan management features.
Over to you
Have you booked in to meet with your NDIS planner? Or have you received your first plan? What tips do you have for a successful planning meeting? We’d love to hear about it.