There is so much information out there surrounding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, it can be confusing not knowing what information is relevant and whether or not that information is relevant to you. So let’s start at the beginning.

About the NDIS

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS is a new way of supporting people with a permanent and significant disability; to build skills and capacity so they are able to live an ordinary life and participate in the community.

What is the NDIA?

The National Disability Insurance Agency or NDIA is an independent agency responsible for implementing the NDIS.

It is responsible for providing information and referrals, links to services and activities, individualised plans and where necessary, funded supports.

How is the NDIS different?

The NDIS is about a new way of communicating with participants who have a disability and working out what supports they need.

The NDIS is designed to help participants achieve goals in various aspects of their life. It’s about giving participants control and choice.  

Why did we need a new system?

The old system was inefficient, fragmented, unfair, underfunded and most people with a disability didn’t get the support they needed.

It was run on a state-by-state basis and there was no national consistency. Most importantly, participants didn’t get enough say in the sort of assistance they needed.

When will the NDIS be rolled out?

The NDIS is being rolled out across the country now, however it will be done progressively. To find out when the NDIS will be accessible in your area, please click here.

How can I access NDIS support?

The first step is to contact the NDIA either on 1800 800 110 or visit  www.ndis.gov.au to make sure you are eligible. To be eligible you will need to be meet the below requirements.

  1. You must live in Australia and are an Australian Citizen, or have paperwork that gives you permission to live in Australia permanently.  
  2. You are under the age of 65.
  3. If your disability is likely to be with you for life and substantially impacts how you manage everyday activities.

Is it really here to stay?

Yes! The NDIS was created to give you certainty that you or your family member you will receive the support you need not just now, and not just until the government changes, but over the course of your whole lifetime.

Where can I go to find out more?

For more information about the NDIS visit www.ndis.gov.au or if you just want to talk. Call our team on 0477 333 727 or email us at admin@butterfish.com.au.

Getting Started

Looks like I qualify. Whats next?

You’re required attain evidence concerning your disability from a General Practitioner or a suitably qualified professional, you will then submit this to NDIS along with your application. For more information visit https://ndis.gov.au/people-disability/access-requirements.html

I have just found out that I am an NDIS participant – when will I get my plan?

Once NDIA confirms you are eligible, the NDIA will arrange a sit down with an planner, they will help determine and develop a plan specifically to suit your support needs.

The planner will review the information in your access request form and any existing assessments will also be taken into account.

How specific can I be when I sit down with a NDIS planner?

Very important! Before meeting your planner have a think about what it is you want to achieve. Think about what works well with the supports you currently receive and what supports do not.

Your planner will talk with you about everything from your strengths, abilities and opportunities for development to your support needs for daily living and participation in the community. The key here is to make sure you get those ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports you need to ensure you are able to work towards your goals.

How do I find a provider? Can I use more than one provider? And can I change providers?

The great thing about NDIS is that you can shop around and choose different providers for the different types of supports allocated in a plan.

There is no obligation to stick with one service provider, you can have multiple.

For a list of registered NDIS providers visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/document/finding-and-engaging-providers/find-registered-service-providers

How long does a planning session usually go for?

When meeting with a either an NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator or both, this process does vary depending on the subject matter needing to be covered.

What types of questions are asked during planning meetings?

General questions can include:

  • Who does your family consist of?
  • What is your disability and how does this impact you?
  • What activities do you enjoy?
  • What activities do you go to on each day of the week? How do you get to them?
  • What goals do you have?
  • Rate your support needs on a scale. Low being 1 and 5 being high support.
  • Rate your health on a scale eg. good, very good, excellent, poor.
  • How would you like to manage your funding?

Who usually attends the planning meeting?

You, immediate family members, carers or advocates. Anyone can be present if the participants would like them there.

Will I be able to choose the type of support I receive?

Absolutely! The NDIS was established to give you more choice and control over how, when and where your supports are provided.

The NDIS has been set up to fund all sorts of supports. No two participants are entirely the same so the supports in your plan are tailored to your individual needs.

These can include therapies, equipment, home modifications, mobility equipment, taking part in community activities, assistance with employment and a range of other activities. This is about you living a full life, not just getting by.

What can be funded?

One of the great things about the NDIS is that it is designed to suit the needs of every participant. For most participants funding will cover things like:

  • Daily personal activities
  • Transport to participate in community, social, economic and daily life activities
  • Workplace support to gain or maintain employment
  • Therapeutic supports, including behaviour support
  • Help with household tasks
  • Assessment of aids or equipment, including set up and training
  • Home modification design and installation
  • Mobility equipment
  • Vehicle modifications

What will not be funded?

A support will not be funded if it does not relate to your disability, if it duplicates support that is already funded by Medicare or Departments of Education for example. If it relates to day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s support needs, or if it is likely to cause harm to participants or others.

How are plans managed?

While the NDIS gives you choice and the control over the support you receive and the service providers you use, it also gives you a say in how your funding is managed. Your funding can be:

  • Agency Managed – this is where your provider(s) claim directly from the NDIA.
  • Plan Manager – funding in your plan is allocated to a third party to manage the financial transactions in your plan.
  • Self-Managed – you (or your nominee) directly manage the funds.
  • Automated Payments (transport only) – funds are deposited into an NDIS bank account weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
  • Combination – a combination of the above options can be used to meet your individual needs.

What do I do once I get my plan?

It is important that once you get your plan, all you current service providers are notified and either provided with a copy of the plan, or given details from the plan so a service agreement can be written.

The next step is to start working towards achieving your goals. Your Local Area Coordinator or LAC or Support Coordinator, if you have one funded in your plan, can help you to start your NDIS plan. This is called implementing your plan. They can help you:

  • Register for MyGov and activate your myplace account visit the Starting my plan page.
  • Connect with community and other government services.
  • Help you find providers who meet your needs and will help you achieve your goals.
  • Make sure service agreements and bookings are in place with your providers.

Your LAC or Support Coordinator will work with you to get your plan started so you are on your way to achieving your goals. This can include learning how to choose the right providers for you and what to do if things aren’t working out. For more information visit starting your plan section.

Your NDIS Plan

Can you explain when a Local Area Coordinator would provide support to help me implement my plan and when the NDIA might fund either support connection or support coordination to help me implement my plan?

A Local Area Coordinator will provide support connection to most participants, except where there are complex situations, In these situations support coordination may be funded in the plan.

Where there are no Local Area Coordinators in place, the NDIA may fund Support Coordination until a Local Area Coordinator comes on board in each region. For more information download working with a Support Coordinator (PDF).

What happens if I want to change my plan?

The NDIS is a new way of approaching disability and you may not capture everything you require in your first plan.

If you think your plan doesn’t accurately reflect your needs, you can:

1. Request a review of your current plan, or
2. Lodge a change of circumstances, if your circumstances have changed.

What funding and support can I get?

The level and type of funding and support you can access depends on the level and types of disability you have, and where you live. If you live in an NDIS area, you should check if you meet NDIS eligibility requirements.

Is there any limits to the funding available for my plan?

The level of funding depends on what it takes to meet your ‘reasonable and necessary’ needs. It’s about getting the plan right for you because one size DOES NOT fit all. Under the NDIS people are funded and reviewed on an annual basis.

Will the funding be flexible?

As your situation or condition changes, you can apply to have your funded plan adjusted according to your needs.

What if you are unhappy with the planning process or final plan?

If you are unhappy with your NDIS plan or it doesn’t meet your needs, Butter Fish Services can work with you and the NDIA to resolve the issue.

However, the better prepared you are before your planning meeting, the more likely you are going to get the plan you want.

Are copies of plans automatically supplied to my GP?

No. The NDIA will not provide copies of your plan to your GP. It’s up to you if you want to share a copy of your plan with your GP.

It may be useful for your GP to be aware of what outcomes you would like to achieve and what services are funded in your NDIS plan, as these may complement other services available through Medicare.

If I feel a Support Coordinator is not acting in my best interests, or is excluding me from some decisions, can I change coordinators?

Yes! You have the choice to change your Support Coordinator at any time. More information on Support Coordination is available in this Fact Sheet (PDF).  

Your NDIS Review

When will my plan be reviewed?

As an NDIS participant, you will have a scheduled plan review date specified in your plan by the NDIA. This is can be 6 or 12 months and in some cases, 2 years. The NDIA will conduct a review of your plan before the plan’s expiration date.

How do I request a review of my plan?

If you are unhappy with a National Disability Insurance Agency decision about your NDIS Plan, you can submit an application for a plan review.

However, requesting a review cannot be done in the first 3 months of the NDIS plan.

A request for review can be made by:

  • Submitting a written request to:

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

  • Calling 1800 800 110 and talking to customer support at an NDIA office.
  • Sending an email to: enquiries@ndis.gov.au

Your Local Area Coordinatior can assist with this process.
What if you are still dissatisfied after a review of the decision?

If you are still not happy after the review of the decision, you can apply for an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) independent review.

You cannot ask the AAT to review a decision until the NDIA has reviewed it. For information about applying for an AAT review, visit the AAT website or call 1800 228 333.