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Understanding the NDIS

Click below for answers to some of the most commonly asked NDIS questions.

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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a way of funding services and support for people with permanent and significant disability in Australia. . The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the independent agency responsible for implementing the NDIS.

If you have a disability that is likely to be permanent and significant you can receive funding from the NDIS. You must also be under 65 years old and live in Australia (and be a citizen or permanent resident). People who currently receive state-funded specialist disability support services will transition to the NDIS and will be contacted by the NDIA. Your existing supports will continue until you transition to the NDIS.

The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports to help you reach your goals and aspirations and take part in activities to increase your social and economic participation. Some of these supports can include:

  • Accommodation/tenancy assistance, so you can obtain or retain appropriate accommodation
  • Assistance with and supervision of daily life tasks, with a focus on developing your skills, so you can live as independently as possible
  • The provision of transport, so you can participate in community, social, economic and daily life activities
  • Support to help you get or keep a job
  • Mobility equipment, vehicle and home modification, assistive technology, specialist assessments and aids and equipment, so you can participate in recreation and leisure activities and complete household tasks
  • Behaviour and therapeutic support to help you gain skills and improve independence.

Supports must be related to your disability and may not include day-to-day living costs unrelated to your disability support needs; they must also represent value for money and be likely to be effective and beneficial. Supports in your plan will also take into account the informal supports provided to you by family, carers and the community.

If you’re not sure what is ‘reasonable and necessary’, when you think about your goals ask yourself if it’s something that somebody who does NOT have a disability would need. For example, you may wish to access fitness classes at your local gym twice a week, but your disability may prevent you from attending without a support person. The NDIS may fund a support person so you can access the class, but it will not fund the class itself (as this is considered an everyday expense).

The NDIA will contact you to schedule a Planning and Assessment appointment. This may be over the phone, or you can request a face-to-face meeting. After your planning appointment, the NDIA will send you your plan. You can then begin accessing supports using the funding in your plan. To ensure you get the most out of your NDIA planning meeting, we recommend you spend some time pre-planning.

Many people find it helpful to think about the support they need and their goals before they have their NDIA planning appointment or telephone call. Minda’s pre-planning and review guide will give you a clear picture of who you are, what supports you need and the goals you have for the future, so you are ready to discuss with the NDIA.

Thinking about your goals is an important step in pre-planning. The NDIS currently recommend setting two short-term and two long-term goals. A goal might be to continue something you’re doing, for example, ‘I want to continue living independently’ or ‘I want to continue attending social club once a week’ or it might be something new, such as, ‘I would like to make new friends’ or ‘I want to increase my independence’.

There are four options:

  • The NDIA can manage your funds and pay all invoices – this is known as Agency Management and you do not need to pay extra for this
  • You can choose to manage your plan yourself (known as Self-Management) – you are responsible for requesting and paying invoices.
  • You can choose a registered organisation to manage funds on your behalf, known as a registered plan management provider or financial intermediary – this will not affect the amount allocated in your plan for supports, but you DO need to request this in your NDIA planning appointment if you are interested in this option.
  • Finally, you may choose a combination of the above three methods.

If you think a decision made by NDIA about you is wrong, you can submit an application for internal review of a decision. Any person directly affected by a decision of the NDIA can request such a review. Contact the NDIA or visit the NDIA website for more details.

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