The National Disability Insurance Scheme is Australia’s first national scheme for people with a disability. The NDIS model gives direct funding to individuals in the form of an NDIS Plan. The NDIS replaced the previous system of providing block funding to agencies and community organisations.
The NDIS is a federally managed and funded safety net, providing a nationally consistent lifetime commitment to people who have permanent and significant disability with funding for supports and services.
The NDIA is an independent Commonwealth Government Agency responsible for overseeing the NDIS.
If you are eligible for the NDIS, you will receive an individual funding package to purchase supports from service providers.
When you agree to purchase from a service provider you enter into a contract (called a service agreement) with that provider.
Once a service agreement has been signed, service bookings will be made. A service booking is similar to making a reservation at a restaurant. You are making a reservation for a service you will receive in the future from that provider. A service booking will show the type of support to be provided; the length of time it is needed and sets aside funding (out of your NDIS Plan) to pay for the support.
Your NDIS Plan might be for 12 months or 2 years. As it nears conclusion you’ll be invited to attend a planning meeting to review any changes in support requirements and then a new NDIS Plan will be written for you.
The types of supports that the NDIS may fund for participants include:
- daily personal activities
- transport to enable participation in community, social, economic and daily life activities
- workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market
- therapeutic supports including behaviour support
- help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home environment
- help to a participant by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training
- home modification design and construction
- mobility equipment, and
- vehicle modifications.
Support must be reasonable and necessary. In order to be considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ a support must:
- Be related to the participant’s disability
- Not include day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s disability support needs
- Be effective and beneficial to the participant
- Take into account informal supports given to participants by families, carers, networks and the community.
To be eligible for the NDIS you must:
- Have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities or a developmental delay
- Be less than 65 years of age
- Be an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa
Or to meet the early intervention requirements for children:
- your child is aged under 6 and has a developmental delay and
- you or your child has a disability that is likely to be permanent or early supports would reduce how much help you or your child needs to do things in the future.
To further assess your eligibility the NDIS will ask you:
- Do you usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
- Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
- Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?
If you have applied for the NDIS prior to turning 65, you are eligible to continue receiving NDIS funding post 65 years of age.
If you are 65 years+ and wishing to apply for NDIS funding for the first time, you will be deemed ineligible and will need to apply for support from the Aged Care system.
If you meet the above NDIS Eligibility Criteria and you would like to become an NDIS participant, you can:
- Call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and ask to make an Access Request
- Or complete and submit the Access Request Form (found on the NDIS website) and send by email to NAT@ndis.gov.au
- Or contact your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA office.
As part of the Access Request process, you will be asked:
- to confirm your identity and/or a person’s authority to act on your behalf
- to confirm you meet the NDIS eligibility criteria
- to consent to the NDIS seeking information from third parties to support your application.
You may be asked to provide some additional information after you make your Access Request. This may include information about your disability and how it impacts on your day-to-day life. You can provide copies of existing information, including letters or reports, or you can ask your treating health professional to fill out and sign a form.
If you need help with English, call the TIS service on 131 450.
If you have hearing or speech loss, call the TTY service on 1800 555 677. For Speak and Listen, call 1800 555 727, or for Internet relay services, visit the Relay Services Website.
When you have provided all necessary information, the NDIA will make a decision about whether you are eligible for the NDIS. They will send you a letter to tell you about the decision. This is called an ‘access decision’. If you are eligible for the NDIS, you will be contacted to arrange a planning meeting to discuss your support and funding needs.
If you are found ineligible for the NDIS, you have the right to ask for an internal review of the access decision. MDS provides an advocacy service who can assist you with submitting this request.
Once you have been deemed eligible for the NDIS, you will be asked to attend a planning meeting with either a:
- LAC – Local Area Coordinator
- ECEI Coordinator – Early Childhood Early Intervention Coordinator
- Or an NDIA Planner
This meeting will be in person, or over the phone. The purpose of the planning meeting is for the LAC/ECEI Coordinator/NDIA Planner to better understand what supports you may need, so they can write your NDIS Plan. During your planning meeting, make sure you discuss the goals/activities/tasks you want to achieve and any supports you require to achieve those goals.
Once your NDIS Plan has been written the ECEI Coordinator, LAC or NDIA planner will give it to you in person or mail a paper copy out to your preferred address.
Your NDIS Plan will outline:
Information about you – This section includes basic information about your disability, your day-to-day activities, where you live, who you live with, or who cares for you.
Family and friends – This section includes information about the support you get from family and friends that is not funded but will help you work towards your goals.
Services and community groups – This section includes information about services and supports funded and delivered by community or other government services like support groups, health centres, libraries and public transport.
Your goals – This section includes the current goals you would like to achieve as part of your plan and the long-term goals you have identified for your life.
Funded supports – This section tells you what funding you have been allocated in each support category and what that funding is for. You may not have all the support categories funded in your plan. Some people might have one or two support categories funded and others may have more.
There are three types of support budgets that may be funded in your NDIS plan:
Core Supports budget
Core Supports help you with everyday activities, your current disability-related needs and to work towards your goals. Your Core Supports budget is the most flexible, and in most cases, you can use your funding across any of the following four support categories. However, there are instances where you do not have flexibility in your funding, particularly for transport funding.
In your plan
In the myplace portal
Assistance with Daily Life
For example, assistance with everyday needs, household cleaning and/or yard maintenance.
Everyday items you may need. For example, continence products or low-cost assistive technology and equipment to improve your independence and/or mobility.
Assistance with Social & Community Participation
Social, community and civic participation
For example, a support worker to assist you to participate in social and community activities.
This is support that helps you travel to work or other places that will help you achieve the goals in your plan.
Capacity Building Supports budget
Capacity Building Supports help build your independence and skills to help you reach your long-term goals. Unlike your Core Supports budget, your Capacity Building Supports budget cannot be moved from one support category to another. Funding can only be used to purchase approved individual supports that fall within that Capacity Building category. The Capacity Building categories are:
In your plan
In the myplace portal
This is a fixed amount for a Support Coordinator to help you use your plan.
Improved Living Arrangements
CB Home Living
Support to help you find and maintain an appropriate place to live.
Increased Social & Community Participation
CB Social Community and Civic Participation
Development and training to increase your skills so you can participate in community, social and recreational activities.
Finding & Keeping a Job
This may include employment-related support, training and assessments that help you find and keep a job, such as the School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES).
This support will help you develop positive behaviours and interact with others.
Improved Health & Wellbeing
CB Health and Wellbeing
Including exercise or diet advice to manage the impact of your disability. The NDIS does not fund gym memberships.
CB Lifelong Learning
Examples include training, advice and help for you to move from school to further education, such as university or TAFE.
Improved Life Choices
CB Choice and Control
Plan management to help you manage your plan, funding and paying for services.
Improved Daily Living
CB Daily Activity
Assessment, training or therapy to help increase your skills, independence and community participation. These services can be delivered in groups or individually.
Capital Supports budget
Capital Supports include higher-cost pieces of assistive technology, equipment and home or vehicle modifications, and funding for one-off purchases you may need (including Specialist Disability Accommodation). It is important to remember that funds within the Capital Supports budget can only be used for their specific purpose and cannot be used to pay for anything else. The Capital Supports budget has two support categories: Assistive Technology and Home Modifications.
In your plan
In the myplace portal
This includes equipment items for mobility, personal care, communication and recreational inclusion such as wheelchairs or vehicle modifications.
Home modifications such as installation of a hand rail in a bathroom, or Specialist Disability Accommodation for participants who require special housing because of their disability.
You have 3 options for how your NDIS Plan will be managed.
- Self-Managed – your will manage both the financial and administrative requirements
- Use a Plan Management Provider – approved organisations can be chosen to do all the financial and administrative tasks relating to your plan. This includes paying suppliers, developing service agreements, hiring and paying staff and reporting to the NDIA.
- Nominate the NDIA to make all payments necessary to registered providers of support.
The NDIA will contact you six weeks before your plan ends to discuss a review.
Depending on your preference, you can do your plan review in person or over the phone. You are also welcome to bring along a family member, a carer or another person to support you.
Your plan review is an opportunity to reflect on your last 12/24 months and what you have achieved and to discuss what supports you will need included in your next NDIS Plan.
If you are unhappy with your plan or your circumstances have changed meaning you require additional support than what you are funded for; you can request a review of your NDIS Plan at any time.
The NDIS participant portal is called myplace. It is a secure website portal on the Australian Government’s myGov website where you or a person you trust can access your NDIS Information.
On the myplace portal you can:
- See your current plan and previous plans.
- Check your contact details.
- See messages from the NDIS.
- Create and view payment requests.
- Create and manage service bookings.
- Upload documents, including assessments or service agreements.
- Share your plan, or parts of your plan, with your service providers.
- Find service providers.
The price guide sets a price by the NDIA for supports offered under NDIS. It determines what a service provider can charge for supports much like a Medicare line item.
No, the NDIS is not means tested and has no impact on your DSP.
Plan management is one of the four options you can use to help manage your NDIS funding. Plan Managers act as your personal NDIS accountant. They can help you:
- Receive invoices and pay your providers for their services
- Track your supports and funding budgets
- Claim funds through the NDIS portal
- Adhere to the NDIS Price Guide
- Manage financial reporting for your NDIS plan review and audits
- Be your expert in NDIS funding matters
It is the role of a Support Coordinator to manage the supports and providers you hire. Whether you’re plan-managed, self-managed, NDIA-managed or a combination, you can access a Support Coordinator if it is deemed ‘reasonable and necessary’ by the NDIS. A Support Coordinator will:
- Help you choose supports and providers
- Arrange assessments
- Talk with your Plan Manager to allocate funding
- Connect with mainstream and community services
- Manage Service Agreements, including changing or ending an agreement
- Assist in preparing for your plan renewal and/or plan review
You can use your NDIS funding to pay for the support that the support worker provides. However, flights/accommodation/activities (for you and the support worker) are at your own expense.
No. However your NDIS funding can be used to modify your existing car (if the modifications required are related to your disability.)
Your NDIS funding can be used to purchase a service dog and to fund its upkeep. However, you cannot buy a pet dog using your NDIS funding.
No your NDIS funding cannot be used to pay for your daily living expenses (unless that expense directly relates to your disability support needs.)
No. If you are in a correctional facility, all your support requirements will be funded by the NSW Justice system.
You can use your NDIS funding to pay a support worker to come sit with you while you are in hospital. However, the support worker cannot complete any duties that are covered by NSW Health (i.e. showering, administering medication, changing bandages etc.)
If your child needs to attend a specialised school holiday program (due to the nature of their disability) then you can use their NDIS funding to pay for this. MDS has a great School Holiday program available. Contact Amanda Leighton on (02) 4621 8400 for more information.
If your child is attending a mainstream school holiday program, their NDIS funding cannot be used to pay for this.
If the medical expenses relate to your disability, such as seeing an Allied Health professional (Occupational Therapists, Dietician, Speech Therapist) then yes your NDIS funding will pay for this.
Your NDIS funding cannot be used to pay for Doctor Appointments, Psychiatrists, scans & medical tests etc.
You also can’t use your NDIS funding to pay for collecting medical evidence for your NDIS planning meeting.