It can be easy to forget that an NDIS plan has an end date (usually 12 months), so it's important to know what your options are and what happens when your NDIS plan is coming to an end. Get the low-down on NDIS plan extensions, renewals and reviews below.
There are two types of plan extensions that can occur – an extension due to non-communication from the NDIA or an extension by request (more details below on how COVID-19 has changed plan extensions).
Typically plan extensions are an auto-response option when an NDIS plan is due to expire and there has been no communication or a plan review between a participant and the NDIA or LAC to organise a new plan. This means that even if your NDIS plan expires, and you haven’t received a new plan yet, you won’t be left without plan funding. Having auto-extensions in place is part of the NDIS ACT, which states that an NDIS plan will not end until it is replaced with a new plan, or a participant departs from the scheme.
Any funding that remains in your current plan will be added to the extension. For example, if your current plan funding was 20,000 and you have 3,000 remaining at the end of your plan, your plan extension will be 20,000 plus the 3,000 making it a total of 23,000 for the extension.
Your current plan can auto-extend for a period ranging anywhere from one month to twelve months depending on the circumstances. It’s also important to note (and this is mentioned below as well) that an extension is not a new plan, it’s an extension of your current plan.
How has COVID-19 changed Plan Extensions
As a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NDIA announced that they would give participants the option to automatically extend their NDIS plan. While this initially may have been intended to be a short-term option for participants, the NDIA has since announced that automatic plan extensions are something they intend to continue.
Participants considering this option should know that opting for an automatic plan extension does not give you a new plan. Instead, you are acknowledging that the current plan you have is suited to your needs ad by choosing to extend it, the NDIA cannot make any changes to it. This means that the funding you have in your current plan will continue for another 12 months.
This option is available to participants who have a plan lasting 12 months or more*, who are aged 7 years and over, and who have not already commenced their plan review process.
*If you have a shorter plan, your extended plan will be for the same timeframe i.e., a six-month plan can extend for six months.
A plan renewal is similar to a plan extension in that you essentially repeat your current plan. However, the key differences between the two are that a plan extension is not a new plan whereas a plan renewal is a new plan. And because a renewal is a new plan, this means that if there are any funds remaining in your current plan, those funds will not transfer across like they do with a plan extension.
If you are someone who has been saving up some of your funding for a particular purchase or support towards the end of your planning period, be sure to factor that in when requesting a plan renewal. The reasoning behind this is that while your new plan is likely to commence when the current one finishes there are some cases where your LAC or NDIA planner may start the new plan sooner than the end date of the current plan. Always let your LAC or NDIA planner know that you want your renewal to start when the current one is finished.
A plan renewal can be a good option for people who are happy with their current plan, and don’t want to go through a full plan review.
Light Touch Reviews
A light touch review focuses on smaller changes that may need to be made to your NDIS plan. You may want a light touch review to request that plan management be included in your NDIS plan or if you feel that your current plan does not reflect your support needs.
While requesting Plan Management to be added to your NDIS plan will always be approved, other changes to your funding may or may not be.
A light touch review could result in increased funding as easily as it could result in a decrease in funding. So, it is really important that you are confident in your decision to request a light touch review and if you have a Support Coordinator you can discuss this with them to ensure it is the right move for you.
Plan Review Meeting
A plan review meeting is the stock standard end of plan review to help you create a whole new plan. This can be done on the phone or in person, and in both circumstances, you can have someone there to support you. That person could be a friend or family member, support worker or disability advocate.
During the plan review process, you will need to supply supporting evidence (much like you would have in your initial planning meeting when you first applied for the NDIS) and Statement of Outcomes.
Your Statement of Outcomes is a report provided to you by your current support team. They can provide you with a NDIS Participant Progress Report that shows the goals you’re working towards, your progress, and recommendations for additional support you need to achieve your future goals.
If you have any questions about the difference between extensions, renewals and reviews when it comes to your NDIS plan, or how to prepare for the plan review process, you can speak with your personal First2Care Client Manager through their direct contact number or email, our First2Care Support Team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or your Support Coordinator.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or email@example.com.