Whether you are unhappy with your current NDIS provider or your goals have changed, this handy guide takes you through the steps to successfully make the switch.

It can be hard to part ways with a provider. And it can happen for a number of reasons, you can grow apart, perhaps your goals have changed, you might be unhappy with their services or the way they are delivering them to you. Or it could be a practical reason such as moving home, a life transition or a change in circumstances.

But change is part of life, and changing providers is an inevitable part of the NDIS. The better equipped we are to understand and cope with change, the better the outcome possible.

Changing providers also involves some more practical considerations that need to be considered including possibly cancelling any existing service bookings, thinking about where you are up to in your journey, your immediate circumstances and being clear about what your criteria are for choosing a new provider.

You have the same right as anyone to participate in, direct and implement decisions which affect your life. You have the right to access the type of services and supports you believe are most appropriate to meet your needs.

So let’s get to it.

STEP 1 – ending the current arrangements

First, you need to make arrangements to end your current services.

You want a smooth change that involves the least amount of disruption or potential conflict or confusion.

Hopefully you have an existing service agreement, and this will cover some important things you need to do to finalise your relationship.

  • Period of notice – Check the period of time required before supports are ended.
  • Method for notifying them you want to stop – Do you have to write to them to stop services? Also, you may want to request an acknowledgement from them of your request to stop services (this can help avoid confusion at a later date).
  • Any final reports or documentation – Do they need to provide you with any final documentation. Would a handover note or other information which outlines what you have done with the provider help with bringing on a new provider. It’s important to not have to keep going back the start or unnecessarily repeating your story!
  • Cancel the service bookings in the NDIS portal – If your NDIS plan is managed by the NDIA (agency managed), then the current provider must end their service booking in the MyPlace portal. The provider must comply with your wishes. The NDIA allows them a certain period of time (a fortnight) to make claims against your funds for services they have already provided. Some service providers are slow, you can call the NDIA and request them to end the service booking.
  • Your choice, your control – you are not required to disclose to the former service provider why you wish to change service providers. It is entirely up to you if you choose to disclose your reasons for changing NDIS service providers.

You have the same right as anyone to participate in, direct and implement decisions which affect your life. You have the right to access the type of services and supports you believe are most appropriate to meet your needs.

STEP 2 – Reassess your situation

If you are currently receiving services, you may want to combine Step 1 and 2 here.

Reassess where you are up to in your life and the reasons you are changing. You can use this time of change to potentially make a range of decisions that could benefit your life.

Maybe the old provider was great, but over time they had changed arrangements that you had grown used to, but they weren’t exactly fantastic.

Think about what else is going on in your life or that you may be thinking about doing differently in future.

Perhaps you would prefer services to be delivered on a different day of the week, or to a different location. Think about the time of day, the frequency, the length of time of each service.

Starting with a clear idea of what benefits you most is an important process to get right before you start talking with potential new providers.

  • Have a look at your NDIS plan.
  • Are your goals the same or have they changed?
  • How much funding do you have remaining in your NDIS plan for the type of supports you are now looking to secure?
  • For the funding you have available, how much support are you thinking about getting? You will need to know these things in order to make decisions about any new provider. You will need to compare their pricing against the old provider and understand whether you can swap new services in at the same cost.
  • And we don’t mean to throw you, but there is also the chance there may be services or activities which you have not even considered, that could become available during this time of change. So keep your mind open to the possibilities. A plan is useful, even when things don’t go to plan!

STEP 3 – Selecting a new provider

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which providers you engage, and you can think about factors such as:

  • Where the provider is located
  • How their supports fit into your NDIS plan budget
  • How much do their services cost
  • The types of services they offer. Do they provide the support you are looking for
  • How they communicate with you, and their customer service. Will they talk to you when it’s convenient to you, in your preferred location, or do they expect you to come to them
  • How much choice and control do they let you have on your supports. Can you change the way your supports are delivered without being penalised, and what options are there.
  • What say do you get in who works with you?
  • What happens if a complaint arises? They need to ensure you are 100% comfortable asking your providers questions and raising concerns with them.

What about a change in circumstances?

Some people change providers due to a significant change in their circumstances. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) does have some specific matters which it requires you to advise them about.

If you have a change in circumstances in your life, you may need to advise the NDIA.

According to the NDIA, a change of circumstances is an event or change in your life that may affect:

  • your access request
  • your status as a participant in the NDIS
  • your plan.

For example, you must tell the NDIA if:

  • your disability support needs change
  • your informal care arrangements change significantly
  • you apply for, receive, or are entitled to compensation for injury
  • you plan on moving (or have moved) house
  • you plan on moving (or have moved) overseas, or
  • you plan on moving (or have moved) permanently into aged care residential accommodation.

You can advise the NDIA of this by calling them on 1800 800 110.

We hope these tips can help in making your journey that little bit easier, and help to build your skills and capacity to be the true leader of your NDIS plan.