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What’s the deal with Participant Check-ins?

NDIS hot topic… participant check-ins. Although participant check-ins are not exactly a new NDIS process, they have been brought up in several disability forums, community pages, websites, blogs, and other platforms recently. Why? Like so many NDIS changes, there is a bit grey area of what to expect.

Get to know the ins and outs of participant check-ins, how to prepare, and what the pros and cons are.

Young woman with down syndrome walking out of a home office holding her phone
Young woman with down syndrome walking out of a home office holding her phone

What is a participant check-in?

Participant check-ins, which is a process that started during the COVID-19 pandemic, are a way for your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner to touch base with you regarding your NDIS plan, your current supports, goals, and wellbeing.

With participants now opting for longer plans (typically two years) over the original planning period duration of approximately 12 months, a participant check-in can determine whether you may need a plan variation or a plan reassessment.

  • Plan variation (formerly known as ‘light touch review’) is the same plan with a minor change

  • Plan reassessment (formerly known as ‘full plan review’) is a new NDIS plan where all supports are reconsidered

Typically, a participant check-in will happen towards the end of your planning period in preparation for a new NDIS plan. However, they can happen at any time throughout your planning period.

How to prepare for a participant check-in

As with all things NDIS – preparation is key – and participant check-ins are no different. Considering that a participant check-in could occur at any time, it’s important to be prepared.

You can prepare for a participant check-in by:

  • Assessing current funding and any gaps in that funding

  • Gathering any new evidence that you may wish to discuss with the NDIS

  • Considering about your current and new goals for the next plan and if your funding supports them

  • Thinking about whether your support needs and/or circumstances have changed or are about to change

  • Deciding if you want to change your plan management option

If you need assistance in preparing for a participant check-in, you can contact your support coordinator, LAC, ECEI coordinator or plan manager.

What to expect during a participant check-in

When an LAC or NDIA planner contacts you for a participant check-in to discuss your current situation, you can expect one of three outcomes:

  • No changes made for your next plan

  • Plan variation

  • Plan reassessment

If the outcome is that you need a plan reassessment, this should be scheduled for a later date. If the LAC or NDIA planner tries to push for a plan reassessment during a participant check-in, you can refuse and take time to collect all the evidence, supporting letters, and reports you may need to ensure your plan reassessment accurately represents your current needs.

If you need a plan variation or a plan reassessment, the NDIA will respond within 21 days.

If you would like changes to be made to your NDIS plan, you don’t need to wait for a participant check-in, you can request a variation or reassessment at any time.

Pros & Cons

Participant check-in pros:

  • Benefit participants with stable supports

  • Reduce the need to update plans regularly

  • The check-in has the potential to change your plan and/or supports so you receive the supports you need

  • Avoids the potential costly, stressful, and time-consuming process of obtaining a new plan

  • If the check-in is scheduled and you are notified for the upcoming check-in, it can allow for preparation time

Participant check-in cons:

  • If you’re not aware of or prepared for the check-in, this could be daunting and not provide adequate time to prepare and/or organise a support person to be present for the call

  • The current format and schedule are not clearly defined and seems to be different for each person

  • The check-in has the potential to change your plan and or supports in a way you may not want them to change

  • Lack of clarity around participant check-ins (i.e., will they happen three months before the end of a plan or at another time?)

If you have any questions about participant check-ins, you can contact our support team on 1300 322 273 or via email at Alternatively, you can contact your support coordinator, LAC, NDIA planner or ECEI coordinator.

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


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