The NDIS provides support for people with disabilities in Australia. The scheme was established to help those with disabilities to achieve goals in many aspects of their lives, including gaining more independence, getting involved in the local community, furthering education, gaining employment and improving health and wellbeing.
Around 4.3 million Australians live with a disability. The NDIS aims to enable those with disabilities to have greater choice and control over how and when they receive support along with ensuring they get the support they need over their lifetime.
What is the NDIS?
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing support to Australians with disabilities, their families and carers. The scheme provides support for people under the age of 65 who have permanent and significant disabilities with the resources they need to lead an ordinary life.
As an insurance scheme, the NDIS takes a lifetime approach and offers early intervention to help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in the long term. The NDIS also provides information and referrals to support services already available in the community.
The NDIS will fund all reasonable and necessary support for people with disabilities including aids and equipment, personal care, domestic assistance, respite, home and vehicle modifications, mobility support and support for community access.
As of 2019, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is supporting 460,000 Australians living with disabilities.
What is first plan and what does it mean for me?
Each NDIS participant has their own individual plan that lists the goals they want to achieve and the supports the NDIS can fund to help accomplish them. The participant has the right to choose which providers they wish to receive support from.
To get a first plan, a member of the NDIS team will schedule a phone call with the participant or their nominee to have a planning conversation. If the applicant is unable to complete their planning conversation over the phone, the NDIS can make alternative planning arrangements.
Each participant will be assigned a local area coordinator (LAC) who will assist in the various steps of developing, understanding and implementing their first plan.
During the planning conversation, future participants will have an informal discussion with their LAC about the goals, activities and tasks that they want to achieve.
If the applicant already receives support from a government disability program, they might qualify to directly enter the National Disability Insurance Scheme. If this is the case, they will be contacted by an NDIS representative when it is time to make the transition.
What should I expect to talk about during my first plan conversation?
In a first plan conversation, the future participant will be asked for their personal information and about the support they receive from friends, family and the community.
Other topics addressed may include how they manage everyday activities, how they would like to set goals, the necessary steps involved with starting their plan and how they want to manage their plan going forward.
The first plan conversation is designed to gather information on what support the participant currently receives and what support is needed to better improve their quality of life.
The Uniting LAC program runs a series of Getting Plan Ready workshops which families can book into. The program helps participants who have a conversation with an LAC coming up so they can prepare for their first plan conversation.
Once I have my first plan how do I implement it?
Once your plan is finalised the participant will be contacted by an NDIS representative to discuss how to put the plan into action.
There are two sections in the plan; ‘How will I achieve this goal’ and ‘How will I be supported’. The sections are laid out in a clear and user-friendly format and offer information on attaining goals and details on who will support participants in achieving them.
The goals outlined in the first plan will be matched up with the different funded supports which include Core, Capacity-building and Capital. The funded supports awarded depend on the individual needs of each participant.
Core support helps NDIS participants with activities related to their life such as assistance with daily living, purchasing everyday items, social and community participation and transport.
Capital funding supports participants in funding assistive technologies, equipment and home or vehicle modifications.
Capacity-building enables participants to build their independence and skills through the improvement of living arrangements, coordination in building relationships, increased social participation, transition to employment, social skills development, improved learning, improved life decision making and improved daily living.
Is the plan flexible to meet my changing needs and can I have my plan reviewed if it isn’t right for me?
NDIS participants have choice and control over their plan, there is flexibility to ensure they can choose how to spend allocated funds to effectively achieve their outlined goals.
The participant’s LAC will offer support to ensure the participant is fully benefitting from their plan. Support workers can meet with participants anywhere from a couple of times per week or as needed, depending on the allocation of hours needed to fully assist them in their first plan.
If participants are not satisfied with their plan or the funding they received, they have the right to ask for an internal review of the plan by the NDIA. An internal review can be made by written letter to the NDIA, sending an email, talking to someone at an NDIA office or calling 1800 800 110.