What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s main objective is for people with disability to achieve their life goals.

It is an insurance scheme which recognises that investing in people with disability early improves individual and societal outcomes later in life. The main component of the NDIS is providing individualised packages of support to eligible people with disability.

For way too long, people with disability did not have a say in the support that they received. The NDIS radically changes this by giving choice and control to participants to make decisions about the services and supports that will help them to achieve their goals.

Participants have:

  • the flexibility to choose how their plan is managed
  • a greater say in what service they want
  • a greater say in what providers they use
  • the option of having the services delivered to their preferred location, or at a time that better suits them.

How do I apply for the NDIS?

If you are already receiving disability support services, you do not need to apply for the NDIS.

If you do not currently receive disability supports but wish to join the scheme, you will need to contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and request an Access Request Form.

As part of the access request process, you will:

  • be asked to confirm your identity and/or a person’s authority to act on your behalf
  • be asked questions to see if you meet the NDIS access requirements
  • need to provide evidence of your disability.

How do I qualify for NDIS funding?

There are many different disabilities, and no two people with the same disability will have the same experience. The NDIS provides services and support to individuals with disabilities however you must meet the requirements first. At CareAbout, we like to think of people as being differently abled. What is right for one person may not be right for another person.

Not everyone who has a disability is eligible for assistance through the NDIS. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is responsible for determining who is eligible to access the NDIS. The NDIA requires you to meet disability or early intervention requirements.

To apply for the NDIS you must be eligible:

  • You must have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities;
  • You must be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or hold a Special Protected Category visa.
  • You must be under 65 years old at the time of applying;
  • *Note: A person who qualifies for NDIS, can continue to have a NDIS package after they turn 65 years old, until they take up a residential aged care funded support.

Because the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a government system, there are a range of factors that determine whether a person is eligible for direct support. And there are a range of different disabilities that

You need to be able to provide information about your disability, including what your disability is, whether it is permanent (how long is it expected to last), and how it impacts the way you function in your life. Also, depending on your age, for example, children under 7 years old, may need to provide evidence to meet the early intervention access requirements.

If the evidence of disability you provide is unclear, the NDIA can ask for more information, delay your request, or refuse your request.

What is supporting evidence?

When applying for the NDIS, we recommend you provide as clear information as possible about your disability and how it impacts on your daily functioning. Ideally, the evidence you provide should:

  1. confirm your primary disability type and the date it was diagnosed (if available)
  2. confirm the impacts of your disability on all aspects of your life (for example, mobility/motor skills, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management).
  3. describe how long the disability will last, and what treatment options (including previous treatments and outcomes and if possible future treatment options and expected outcomes of those treatments)
  4. be relatively recent (ie in the past 6-12 months)
  5. be completed by a professional relevant to your primary disability.

Examples of common treating health professionals include:

  • General Practitioner (GP)
  • Paediatrician
  • Orthopaedic surgeon
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech Pathologist (Therapist)
  • Neurologist
  • Psychologist or Psychiatrist

Ideally, the professional providing evidence should be the most appropriate person to provide evidence of your primary disability and have been seeing you for some time (for example, 6 months or more).

These professionals should know which assessments or reports they need to provide. The NDIA provides a list of relevant assessments that professionals can use (and which you may need to get).

What disabilities are eligible for NDIS funding?

The NDIS provides funding for people who have an intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive or psychosocial disability. As no two disabilities are identical, each person is assessed individually to determine their eligibility for NDIS funding.

The NDIS provides several lists of disability types and their likelihood of NDIS eligibility.

  • List A includes disabilities that are very likely to be eligible for NDIS funding
  • List B disabilities are likely to be eligible, but require additional supporting evidence
  • List D disabilities are those likely to be eligible for early intervention funding (for those under the age of 7)

Your NDIS Plan

Once assessed and found eligible for NDIS funding, you will receive an individual Plan based on your needs. Your NDIS Plan has various sections: Core Supports, Capital Support and Capacity Building Supports. You may receive funding in one, two or all three of these categories.

Your Plan is developed around the goals you have decided on. The supports available to you in your Plan are aligned with your goals and are intended to help you to reach them.

NDIS Plans are reviewed on a regular basis, generally at 12, 24 or 36 month intervals. At the time of your Plan review, you can set new goals if you’ve reached your current ones, or you can continue with the same goals if you haven’t.

We recommend that you use all of the funding that has been allocated to you before your Plan Review. If you have a lot of unused funds remaining, it may suggest to the NDIA that you don’t need all of the funding they’ve allocated to you – and your next Plan may be less value.

What is a Support Coordinator?

CareAbout staff get asked all the time to explain the various parts of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). In this article, we look at Support Coordination in the NDIS, the role of Support Coordinators, what they do and who they are.

Support coordination assists NDIS Participants to implement the supports in your NDIS plan, including informal, mainstream, community and funded supports.

Support Coordination may be one of the supports specifically included in your NDIS plan, within the Capacity Building category of supports, to assist choice and control.

There are three types of Support Coordination:

  • Support Connection
  • Coordination of Supports
  • Specialist Support Coordination

The amount of hours of Support Coordination per year does vary depending on the needs and situation of the Participant. Some people may receive 50 to 100 hours of support coordination (up to 2 hours a week) while others may have larger numbers of hours. Overall spending by the NDIA on support coordination is around 3 to 4% of the total NDIS spending.

What is a Plan Manager?

A Plan Manager looks after the budget and finances of your NDIS Plan. Good Plan Managers will offer you tailored advice on how best to use the funding in your Plan.

The main roles of a Plan Manager are:

  • Receives and pays invoices
  • Makes claims for reimbursement or for payment using the NDIS myplace portal
  • Produces monthly statements which include summaries of expenditure and estimating remaining funds within each of the funded support categories

What is a Local Area Coordinator?

Local Area Coordinators, often known simply as ‘LACs’, work with participants to develop their Plan, implement it and provide support to achieve their goals. This includes helping them connect with community, mainstream and funded supports. LACs support participants throughout their plan and monitor how the plan is going.

LACs also engage with local organisations and communities, including other government services, to build awareness and improve opportunities for people with disability to access and actively participate in community activities.

More frequently asked questions

  • Who should get Support Coordination in their Plan?

  • How should I manage my NDIS Plan?

  • What evidence do I need for my application?

  • What is a functional capacity assessment?

  • What is the average amount of an NDIS Plan?