FAQ’s about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

1. What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing individualised support and care to people with disability, their families and carers in Australia. The scheme is being delivered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS provide people with disability the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process for their personalised NDIS plan. Allowing them to have control and make many of the important decisions about how they want to live their life and who they would like to deliver their support. The NDIS supports people by building skills and capability so they can participate in their community and employment.

The funding is applied directly to the person with the disability, allowing them the flexibility to choose the services they need. This replaces the old system of funding being directly applied to the service providers.

2. Why do we need the NDIS?

The NDIS is now centrally managed by the Federal Government and funded by the current safety net. Providing national uniformity and a greater commitment to life-long support for Australians with disability.

Being operated federally means that each individual state and territory will no longer manage their disability support services themselves, helping to avoid under funding and inefficiencies. Working to provide greater choice to people living with a disability.

3. What is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent agency that has been set up by the Australian Government to deliver and run the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

4. When is the NDIS available in my area?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new, national approach to providing support to people with disability and their families and carers. The NDIS is being progressively introduced around Australia from July 2016.

To find out if the NDIS is available in your area please click on your state or territory below. You will be redirected the official NDIS website for up-to-date details of availability and the current roll out schedule:

5. Can I access the NDIS, am I eligible?

You can access the NDIS depending on your age, residency and disability.

  • Age: Participants must be under 65 years of age when you first apply to enter the NDIS*;
  • Residency: Live in Australia and be an Australian citizen, or have paper paperwork that gives you permission to live in Australia permanently, or have a Protected Special Category visa;
  • Disability: Your disability needs to likely be with you for life and substantially impact how you manage every day activities;

You must also live in an area where the NDIS is currently available or you have been granted an Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI).

If you already receive supports from a government disability program, you will receive a letter or a phone call from an NDIS representative when it is time to transition to the NDIS. The NDIS representative will also provide you more information on next steps when they contact you.

For all others, to see if you meet the access requirements for the NDIS, please visit the NDIS Access Checklist. If you are deemed eligible to apply, you will then need to call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 to ask for an Access Request Form.

Being eligible means you will develop a plan with the NDIS to help you gain access to the supports you need. Each person’s plan is unique and will be reviewed over time to ensure you get the right support.

*Additional age requirements are required in South Australia and Tasmania.

6. Who or what is a Participant?

A participant is a person living with disability who is eligible and has been accepted into the National Disability Insurance Scheme by the NDIA.

7. Does my disability meet NDIS requirements?

The NDIS may need to determine disability or Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) access requirements by requesting evidence of your disability.

This includes information on what your disability is, if your disability is permanent (lifelong), and if your disability stops you from doing everyday things by yourself.

For some people who are already receiving support from state or territory disability programs, evidence of your disability may not be needed. This is due to many state and territory organisations having the same eligibility criteria.

8. What is the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI)?

ECEI helps children aged 0-6years with a disability that is likely to be with them for life but could be improved by getting some additional support earlier in life. This support emphasis on providing more support now with the goal of needing fewer support services in the future. Helping participants to live a more independent life.

To meet the NDIA Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) requirements, your child will need to:

  • Be aged 0-6 years;
  • Have a disability, impairment or condition that is likely to be permanent (lifelong); or
  • Be a child with a developmental delay and the delay means they usually need more help with self-care, communication, learning or motor skills than other child of the same age.

To help determine if you are eligible, visit the NDIS Access Checklist, or download the ECEI fact sheet here – https://www.ndis.gov.au/html/sites/default/files/Early-childhood-Early-Intervention.pdf.

9. What happens if I already receive support from a State or Territory government disability program?

If you already receive supports from a government disability program, you will receive a letter or a phone call from an NDIS representative when it is time to transition to the NDIS. The NDIS representative will also provide you more information on next steps when they contact you.

Until you transition to the NDIS and have a NDIS plan, your current supports and services should continue as normal.

10. I am eligible. Now what should I do?

By now you have used the NDIS Access Checklist and it indicates you are be eligible for the scheme, your will need to call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 to ask for an Access Request Form.

You can apply to enter the NDIS six months prior to the scheme rolling out in your area. From here, we recommend starting to prepare for your Planning Meeting.

11. What is a Planning Meeting?

Your Planning Meeting is a scheduled meeting with the NDIA to help build your personalised First Plan. An NDIS Planner will contract you and/or your Nominee to arrange a meeting to prepare your plan. This meeting will occur at a time that is suitable to you, with some people’s first plans being completed over the phone. During this meeting your NDIS Planner will talk with you about what support and services you currently receive and what additional services you can access.

Make sure that during your Planning Meeting you take down your NDIS Planner’s name and number. If for any reason you are not happy with your finalised First Plan you will then be able to contact them direct and discuss your concerns.

12. Can I have someone with me at the Planning Meeting?

Yes, you can bring support to your Planning Meeting. It may be a friend, family member or carer. If you don’t have anyone to support you during this meeting you can seek the assistance of a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or a Support Coordinator from a registered partner. DJ Health are a registered provider and have Support Coordinators that can attend your Planning Meeting with you. Please ensure that you contact DJ Heath on 1300 CARE 4U (1300 227 348) as soon as you have your Planning Meeting date, this will provide us time to make a Support Coordinator available.

13. What is my ‘First Plan’?

Your first NDIS plan is the start of a lifelong relationship with the NDIS. The NDIS planners will be initially focused on continuity of the participants existing support when transitioning to the scheme.

With thousands of people with disability transitioning to the NDIS, the First Plan aids in the simplification of the process and has been designed to allow swift entry into the scheme. Your First Plan will be finalised after your Planning Meeting.

14. What areas of support does the NDIS offer?

The NDIS offers a range of support to people with disability to build skills and capability. This can help you:

  • Support your informal supports – this is the care and help you get from your family and friends.
  • Access community services and supports – these are activities and services you can get from people or groups in your local community.
  • Access mainstream supports – these are supports and services you get from your doctors or teachers through health and education systems.
  • Receive reasonable and necessary funded supports – where necessary, these are related to your disability and are required for you to live your life and achieve your goals. Funded supports may be one off support or a funded support package. Examples of funded supports include Assistive Technology, Auslan and Housing.

The implementation of the First Plan, allows participants adequate time to access their needs, develop goals and explore available options for their next plan. Your next plan may include additional supports that provide you opportunity to explore options to get involved in your local community such as sports clubs and community groups.

15. What is Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology can vary. As an approved NDIS participant you may be eligible to receive funding for some of the below items:

  • Mobility cane
  • Talking watch
  • Long handled or adapted grip equipment
  • Shower stool, bath chair or non-slip bathmat
  • Over-toilet frame
  • Bed rail
  • Wheelchair
  • Hearing aid
  • + many more

Assistive Technology does not include items for treatment or rehabilitation, ramps or pathways, motor vehicles or something that does not include a device i.e. medicine or training.

16. What is Auslan?

Auslan is the sign language of the Australian Deaf Community. The NDIS provides some funding for participants with hearing loss or users of Auslan. Providing access to interpreting and translations services or activities for assistance with everyday life.

17. Can I receive support for housing?

Housing is an important issue for the NDIS. Affordable, stable housing is needed to support people with disability in achieving their goals. The NDIS will provide ongoing support for daily living but has not been designed to take responsibility for the housing needs of participants, unless the participant has very high needs and requires special accommodation that enables them to receive the supports they need.

The NDIS refers to this as Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). Participants who are assessed as needing SDA as part of their reasonable and necessary supports will receive funding to cover the costs of SDA.

18. What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is housing that enables people with very high needs to receive the support they need. SDA will provide funding towards the cost of the physical environment for eligible NDIS participants to live and receive their daily supports. For more information on SDA please find the following link to the NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation PDF

19. What to expect when my plan is approved.

At the end of your Planning Meeting with the NDIS planner, they will talk to you about your next steps. They will then contact you when your First Plan is finalised and discuss how to put it into action. This contact will happen within several days of you receiving your plan.

For participants who have a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to support them to implement their plan: A Local Area Coordinator from an NDIS partner organisation will be in contact with you to further discuss your plan, help you access supports and discuss your long terms goals under the NDIS.

For participants who receive help from a Support Coordinator to implement their plan: Your plan will include funding for a Support Coordinator to help you implement your plan. Once your plan is approved, this person will contact you to discuss your plan, help you access supports and discuss your longer-term goals under the NDIS.

For participants who are Self-Managing: You will be contacted by the NDIS once your plan is approved and they will talk to you or your Nominee about the opportunities and responsibilities of self-managing your plan.

It is important to think about how your First Plan is working for you – what is good and what is not. This will help you prepare for your Plan Review at the end of 12 months.

20. What is a Local Area Coordinator (LAC)?

Local Area Coordination services are an important part of the NDIS, as they will work with participants on the ground to help enter, and make the most of the NDIS - while supporting individuals to build strong, inclusive relationships in their communities.

An LAC may be the person you meet with during your first planning meeting, and then perhaps afterwards. Due to the large numbers of people coming into the NDIS, LAC’s have been tasked with gathering data and information from people in their planning meetings, and will pass this information onto the NDIA so that can convert this into a participant plan.

It is important to note that the LAC’s do not work for the NDIA, however they have taken on a planning role for developing participants plans to assist the NDIA with the NDIS rollout.

21. What is a Support Coordinator?

As an NDIS participant, you (or your Nominee) will need to understand your plan, its budgets and how you can find and connect with supports and services in your community to achieve the goals in your plan.

Your Support Coordinator can provide initial assistance with linking participants with the right providers, assistance in sourcing providers, coordinating a range of supports, resolving points of crisis, providing parental training and developing participant resilience in their own network and community.

A Support Coordinator is someone who could be funded separately in your NDIS plan to help you do this. Your Support Coordinator will need to be a person or provider who is registered by the NDIA to provide this service.

22. I have received my First Plan. What should I do now?

Depending on your situation there are a range of people who can help you implement your plan and support you to start receiving supports. You can start you plan on your own if you are self-managed or with the support of a Local Area Coordinator, Support Coordinator or Nominee.

The NDIS provides a Getting Started Checklist to help you start accessing your community, mainstream and funded supports and get the most out of your NDIS plan. https://ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/h3c/he0/8799397969950/Factsheet-Starting-Your-Plan-PDF-11KB-.pdf.

Areas that the checklist includes:

  • Reading and understanding your plan;
  • Registering for myGov and link to NDIS Participant Portal myplace; and
  • Connecting with the person who will start your plan.

Once your plan is approved and you receive your funding, all previous funding for your disability supports will be stopped effectively immediately. Therefore, to ensure your existing services continue as per normal, it’s important to let your service provider know that your plan has been approved as soon as you receive it.

23. How do I manage my plan, my funds and my support? I am concerned that this will be too much for me to handle on my own.

Once your plan is active you can access your plan on the Participant Portal, an online tool available through the myGov website that keeps all your documents together in the one place. You will receive Participant Portal access instructions once your plan is ready and your plan management will be discussed in detail during your Planning Meeting.

As part of the NDIS framework you decide how you want to manage your plan and if you need support.

For example:

  • You may choose to manage it yourself (also known as Self-Managed) – this is where the NDIS provides you with the funding to pay directly to the people and organisations that support you.
  • You may wish to nominate someone to help you manage your plan – this is a trusted person (also known as a Plan Nominee) that will make payments on your behalf to the people and organisations that support you.
  • You can use the services of a registered Plan Management provider such as DJ Health – DJ Health will then make payments on your behalf to the people and organisations that support you. Plan Management is funded as part of your plan and will not take away any funding allocated to you as a person with disability.
  • You can ask the NDIS to manage all or part of your plan on your behalf.

To get more information about your Plan Management, contact your NDIS representative and they will provide more information to help you make these choices.

24. Can I stay with the current supports I receive from DJ Health?

The NDIS is a new government scheme that is designed to provide you with choice and support. It gives you the option to stay with your current providers (such as DJ Health) if you want to, or you have the option to look for other providers if you believe another service or provider will better suit your needs. At DJ Health, we believe that you should only use service providers that provide you the best support – and we hope that you continue to choose us.

25. How long will my First Plan with the NDIS last?

You will continue to receive support if your NDIS plan is in place. Your First Plan will be in place for approximately 12 months. However, there are some plans that may have slightly shorter or longer term.

Having a First Plan that covers approximately 12 months, will provide you as a participant the opportunity to think about how your NDIS support is working for you. You can then assess what else you might need to help you achieve your goals before your next plan review.

26. Will I be able to change or review my plan before my review date?

If you think that the NDIS has made a decision about you, or your plan that is incorrect, you can apply for internal review of a decision.

If your circumstances or needs change you can also ask for your plan to be reviewed and potentially changed. Contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 for further information.

27. What do I do if my current providers are not meeting my needs?

If you feel a support or service provider is not helping you as much as they could, you can change providers. You don’t need to wait until your plan review. Visit the NDIS website www.ndis.gov.au and see ‘choosing a provider’ for more information.

28. Will I be worse off transitioning to the NDIS?

The NDIS aims to ensure that all participants are not disadvantaged. This means that if you were receiving support or funding prior to transitioning to the NDIS you should be able to achieve the same level of support or outcomes under the new system.

29. I don’t want to transition to the NDIS. Can I opt out?

No. The NDIS is a new, more synchronised federal scheme that will replace other sources of disability funding previously made by individual states and territories. When your local area transitions to the scheme you can remain with your current provider/s if you wish. This will all be discussed during your Planning Meeting with the NDIS.

30. Do I have to pay anything for the NDIS?

The NDIS is an insurance scheme funded through tax contributions, like Medicare. The NDIS does not require means testing for eligible participants and does not influence the Disability Support Pension payments you might receive. The NDIS is designed to complement the current health and education services in Australia.

31. What happens if I don’t spend all the funding I receive from in my plan by the time I have my review?

Any funds that remain at the time of your review will be returned to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

32. What happens when I turn 65 years of age?

If you are already on an NDIA plan when you turn 65 years of age, you can either choose to remain on the NDIS under Continuity of Support rules, or you can transition to the Aged Care System.

Should you already be over the age of 65 years when the NDIS becomes available in your area, you will transition to the Aged Care System.

33. Reviewing my plan (Plan Review)

Before you start your Plan Review, it can be helpful for you to explore options to get involved in your local community through activities such as sports clubs, local theatres, special interest groups and community gardening. The below steps should be considered when reviewing your NDIS plan:

  • ✓ Think about your life now. What supports are currently helping you and which ones are not.
  • ✓ Identify your strengths, interests, opportunities and challenges.
  • ✓ Consider your current informal, community and main stream supports.
  • ✓ Think about your future goals. What do you want to achieve?

Write the above points down in anticipation of your review as this may help with your preparation.

As a participant of the NDIS you have the option to have a support member available during your Plan Review. Support may be a friend, family member or carer. If you don’t have anyone to support you during your review you can seek the assistance of a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or a Support Coordinator from a registered partner. DJ Health are a registered provider and are happy to help if requested.

34. I need more information. Where do I go?

Visit the National Disability Insurance Scheme website – www.ndis.gov.au or call 1800 800 110.

  • For people with hearing and speech loss
    • TTY: 1800 555 677
    • Speak and Listen: 1800 555 727
  • For people who need assistance with English:
    • TIS: 131 450

This information has been proudly brought to you by DJ Health and Accnet 21.

DJ Health – www.djhealth.com.au
Phone 1300 CARE 4U (1300 227 348)
Accnet 21 – www.accnet21.com.au
Phone 1300 454 850

Disclosure: The information provided in this document is intended for informational purposes only and is subject to change without prior notice.