Once you have been approved as an eligible NDIS Participant, you will be notified by the NDIA. You will then need to have a planning meeting within 3 to 6 weeks of being notified of your acceptance. The planning meeting will determine the services and assistance you receive for at least the next 12 months, so it is important that you prepare for the meeting properly.

What to expect

The aim of the NDIS is to help people with a disability achieve their human rights, reach their life goals and increase their independence and community participation. It enables participants to make decisions about the type of services and supports that will help them best achieve their goals. The plan that you come up with may include a mix of informal supports (support you receive from friends and families), community and other government services (mainstream and community supports) and funded supports (My supports).

The planning meeting will determine the services and assistance you receive for at least the next 12 months, so it is important that you prepare for the meeting properly.

The planning meeting usually takes between 1 and 2 hours. You can elect to bring someone with you. During your planning meeting, you and the LAC will answer a series of questions dealing with the following:

  • Your personal details, including your name, age, where you live and about your primary disability. In preparation, make sure you have reports and assessments related to your disability handy.
  • Who do you want to manage your plan? You can elect to self-manage (gives you more choice and control), get a plan manager (a registered plan manager), or let the NDIA manage your plan.
  • Your informal, community and mainstream supports, such as the type of support you currently receive from family members, friends, and the local community.
  • How you manage your everyday activities, which provides an understanding of your abilities and indicates the type of supports, services, equipment, accommodation or help you may need to take care of yourself or your home.
  • Areas in your life where you feel unsafe or where you might need extra help, to ensure you live safely and be as independent as possible.
  • What you do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, and the supports and services you may need to undertake these activities and achieve your goals.
  • Your goals for the next 12 months and what you are hoping to achieve through your first plan. Your goals could include:
    • Increasing choice and control in your life
    • learning and education
    • work, social and community activities
    • housing options
    • improving your health and wellbeing.
  • Remember – keep your goals broad so you maximise your options for a wide range of services and supports to help you meet them.
Think about all of these issues before your planning meeting. You may well come up with your own questions to ask the LAC about the services you can access.

What your plan will not include

There are some supports that cannot be included, such as supports that:

  • are not related to your disability
  • are the same as other supports delivered through other government services
  • are for day-to-day living costs that are not related to your support needs
  • are likely to cause you harm or pose a risk to others.

What are Local Area Coordinators (LAC’s)?

Your main contact with the NDIS will be through a local area coordinator (LAC). LACs:

  • work for the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • help participants understand the NDIS
  • navigate participants through the NDIS system
  • work with participants to develop their NDIS plan
  • link participants to information and support in the community
  • work with their local community to make sure it is more welcoming and inclusive for people with disability.

The LACs are not directly employed by the NDIS but work for a range of partners. The NDIS has a list of such partners in each state and territory.

Who will manage your plan?

After you have answered all the questions relating to your needs, supports, and services, the LAC will ask you how you want to manage your plan. You have three options:

  • you or a nominee (parent, guardian or family member or close friend)
  • a registered plan management provider
  • the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Under all three options, you choose your providers and control when and how your supports are delivered. You have more flexibility if you go with the self or nominee managed option. The options are mainly about the ways providers are paid.

What is the NDIA?
The NDIA is the National Disability Insurance Agency. It is a government agency that manages and is responsible for rolling out the NDIS.

What happens if I or a nominee manages my plan?

After you have received a service from a service provider, you ask them for an invoice and send it to the NDIA. The NDIA transfers the money into your account and you pay the provider. Under this option, you can choose any provider you like, even if they are not registered with the NDIA. And you can negotiate your own price directly with the provider. In short, you have more flexibility and choice but you do need to be organised and able to handle the paperwork.

What happens if a registered plan management provider manages my plan?

Under this option, an independent organisation does the paperwork and organises payments.  The organisation charges you for this service but their fee is added to the total amount you receive, so there is no additional cost to you.

What happens if the NDIA manages my plan?

The service provider submits an invoice directly to the NDIA and the NDIA pays them. However, under this option, you can only use providers that are registered with the NDIA. And they must be paid the NDIA rates.

Can I select more than one option?

Yes, you can have a mixture if there are some areas where you want more control over affairs than others.

Finding support providers

Once your plan has been approved, it is important to start getting the services and supports you are seeking put in place. The longer you delay, the higher the chances you won’t fully use your plan, and this can impact you later. Do your research and speak to people who may have had experience with providers.

Top 5 tips!

  1. Make sure you prepare for your planning meeting
  2. Carefully consider the goals you would like to achieve, and keep them broad
  3. Think hard about which supports will help you be as independent and safe as possible
  4. While the informal support around you is important, you now have the option to have more professional support – take advantage of this
  5. Think carefully about whether you want to be self-managed, agency managed of NDIA managed