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Understanding Plan Variations

Want a minor change made to your NDIS plan but don’t want to go through a full review of your plan? You’re in luck! The NDIA have made an all too important change to the way it processes minor changes to your plan. This will give you more flexibility, choice, and control over your plan. Say hello to plan variations.


Woman in wheelchair outside in nature holding an tablet
Woman in wheelchair outside in nature holding an tablet

What is a plan variation?


‘Light touch plan review’, ‘plan extension’, ‘rollover’ ‘continuation’, ‘new plan with similar supports’ or ‘new plan with minor changes’ are all terms that were previously used to describe the similar things. To make things a little simpler, the NDIA have now brought all those terms under one name – plan variation.


A plan variation is when a plan is varied slightly. There are several reasons that a plan variation may occur, including:

  • Correct a minor technical error

  • Change a reassessment date

  • Change to the statement of supports

  • Add a different provider or type of support to a stated support

  • If your needs have changed significantly and you require crisis or emergency funding

  • New information is available relating to a previous NDIS request for information

  • Minor variations related to increased support funding

What all this means is that when a participant requests a slight change to their plan, a plan variation can be requested instead of needing to wait for a full plan reassessment to occur. Plan variation can be requested at any time and the NDIA have 21 days to review your request. If the NDIA decide to vary your plan, you will receive a new copy of your varied plan within seven days of the review response.


If the NDIA decide not to give you a plan variation or they give you one that you don’t like, you can request an internal review of the decision.


What are the benefits of a plan variation


Plan variations are definitely a welcome change within the disability community. Over time they are likely to be better refined. However, there are several benefits plan variations can provide, including:

  • Easier path to access necessary supports

  • If you want to change the way your NDIS plan is managed (i.e., if you are agency managed but want to be plan managed)

  • Ensures your plan more accurately reflects your needs

  • Set timeframe for NDIA response

  • Can be requested at any time

  • More flexibility, choice, and control

  • Additional funding for urgently needed AT or AT repairs

  • Crisis funding if an informal carer, such as a parent, is temporarily unable to care

In short, if there is a minor change needed to a plan, the NDIA can review the change itself rather than reviewing the whole plan.


Of course, as always with the NDIS, you need to ensure when requesting a plan variation that you meet the NDIS reasonable and necessary criteria.


Plan reassessment vs. plan variation


Plan reassessment’, like plan variation, is also a new term used by the NDIA. It replaces the former term ‘plan review’.


Plan reassessments occur at the end of a plan period or when significant change has happened resulting in the need for a whole new plan. Whereas a plan variation can occur at any time when there are minor changes to be made. Unlike with plan reassessments, if a plan variation does occur, the result will not be a whole new plan but simply a modification to the current plan.


It’s important to note, if you do request a plan variation and that variation is approved, you will receive a new start date on your plan and a new reassessment date. This may change in time as a plan variation is technically not a new plan. However, the process on the NDIA’s end at this stage is to provide a new start and reassessment date with the variation.


How to request a plan variation


There are a few ways you can contact the NDIA to request a plan variation. Filling in an online form is the recommended option by the NDIA as the form outlines all the information that you need to provide for your plan variation request. As a result, it can make the processing a little faster and easier


However, filling in an online form may not suit every participant. Here are some other options to request a plan variation:

  • Over the phone 1800 800 110

  • Via email at enquiries@ndis.gov.au

  • Visiting a NDIS office

  • Sending a letter to:

  • Chief Executive Officer National Disability Insurance Agency GPO Box 700 Canberra ACT 2601

Remember to include evidence to support a plan variation with whatever method you opt for when making your request.


Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or support@first2care.com.au.

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