NDIS Quick Guide

NDIS: Your Quick Guide

What Does NDIS Mean?

NDIS stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

What Is the NDIS?

The NDIS is how Australia supports people with a significant and permanent disability. NDIS funding helps you get the services and supports needed to gain skills, participate in your community and live as independently as you can.

Which Disabilities Does the NDIS Cover?

The NDIS covers significant and permanent disabilities. That means your disability is likely to be lifelong and that it has a significant impact on your daily life.

The NDIS supports you if you’re living with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disability (assuming you meet the eligibility criteria). There’s also funding for early intervention supports eligible people with disability or children with developmental delay.

Who is Eligible for the NDIS?

You may be eligible for the NDIS if you:

  • Are an Australian citizen or hold a Permanent or Protected Special Category Visa
  • Live in Australia
  • Are under 65
  • Need help from someone because you have a permanent and significant disability or
  • Have to use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability.

How Is the NDIS Funded?

The NDIS is funded by the Australian government and by the states and territories. In effect, we all pay for the NDIS through our taxes, just like we pay for schools and hospitals. It’s an insurance scheme that any one of us might need at some point.

You don’t pay to use NDIS services. If you’re eligible for them, you’re given a certain amount of funding to spend to get the help you need.

What Can NDIS Money Be Used For?

There are rules about how you use NDIS money  – you can’t spend it on anything you like.

If you’re given NDIS funding, an NDIS representative will help you decide which supports and services you’d benefit from. You can use NDIS money for things that help you gain skills or employment, increase your independence, join in community activities or achieve other goals.

Your NDIS supports and services must:

  • Be related to your disability
  • Represent value for money
  • Be likely to help you
  • Take into account other support you’re receiving, such as through your family or other government services.

You could use your NDIS money for:

  • Transport costs so you can get to work, education or social activities
  • Services that help you gain or keep a job
  • Therapy, like behavioural support
  • Help with home maintenance and household tasks
  • Help choosing the right aids and equipment
  • Training in using aids and equipment
  • Modifications to your home
  • Mobility equipment
  • Modifications to your car.

Basically, the NDIS money is there to help you pay for the extra help you need because of your disability. It’s not meant to help with the ordinary costs of living that everyone faces, such as grocery shopping. You can’t use NDIS funding for services that aren’t related to your disability.

You can read more about what the NDIS does and doesn’t fund here.

How Do I Apply for the NDIS?

If you’d like to apply for NDIS funding, you need to make an Access Request. You do that by calling the National Disabilities Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110 (a support person can do this for you if you can’t do it yourself). You’ll need to give them certain information so that they can decide if you’re eligible for NDIS support.

If you’re seeking NDIS funding for a child under 7, you apply under the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Scheme by contacting an ECEI partner in your area.

What Is the NDIA?

The National Disabilities Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the government agency that runs the NDIS.

What Information Will the NDIA Need? 

If you want to apply for NDIS funding, the NDIA will need certain information to decide if you’re eligible. You’ll need to tell them:

  • Your name and age
  • Your address (you need to live in Australia to use the NDIS)
  • Whether you are an Australian citizen or hold a Permanent or Protected Special Category Visa
  • The nature of your disability and its impact on your daily life
  • Medical information, such as reports from your doctors or allied health professionals.

You’ll also need to give them permission to talk to other professionals and agencies involved in your care.

How Will I Find Out if I’ve Got NDIS Funding?

You’ll receive a letter from the NDIA that tells you whether or not you’ve been given NDIS funding. If you have not been given NDIS funding, the letter will explain why you weren’t successful and how to appeal the decision if you wish.

If you have been given NDIS funding, you’ll be contacted by a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to arrange a planning meeting to develop your first NDIS plan.

What Is A Local Area Coordinator and How Can They Help Me?

Your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) is an NDIS partner who helps you:

  • Understand and use the NDIS
  • Create an NDIS support plan for the NDIA’s approval
  • Put your approved plan into action by helping you find and use the services you need
  • Review your plan, usually about a year after your first plan starts.

How Do I Get an NDIS Plan?

Your NDIS plan is a document that sets out your goals, identifies the supports and services you’ll need to realise them, and the funding you’ll receive. You’ll review the plan every year. When your needs change, your plan will change too.

You develop your NDIS plan at a planning meeting with your Local Area Coordinator or NDIS planner. It’s an important meeting and you should follow these steps to prepare for it.

After the meeting, your plan is submitted to the NDIA for their approval. Once you receive your approved plan, you can begin using the NDIS.

What is an NDIS Participant?

An NDIS participant is someone who is receiving NDIS supports and services. Hopefully, it’s you!

What is an NDIS Service Provider?

An NDIS service provider is someone who delivers the services in your NDIS plan.

There are many different sorts of providers. Some are large companies, others are not-for-profit groups or individuals. It’s important to choose a provider you like.

What is an NDIS Registered Provider?

An NDIS registered provider is an NDIS-approved service provider. That means that they have registered with the NDIS and that they meet government quality and safety standards.

Can I Use Any Type of Provider?

That depends on how you’ve chosen to manage your NDIS funding. If you’ve chosen to have the NDIA manage your money for you, you can only use NDIS registered providers.

If you’re managing your own NDIS money, or have a Plan Manager, then you can use both registered and non-registered NDIS providers.

How Do I Choose a Provider?

Your NDIS plan will list the services and supports that have been approved for you. Then you look for a provider that delivers those services in your area.

The NDIS tries to give you as much choice and control as possible, meaning you’re able to choose a provider who suits you. Your LAC can help you find a provider and there’s more information about the process here.

Once you’ve chosen a provider, you should make a service agreement with them. That outlines the services you’ll receive, the price you’ll be charged, and how you can end or change the arrangement.

Is Focused Health Care a Registered NDIS Provider?

Yes, Focused Health Care is a registered NDIS provider. We provide plan management and support coordination as well as a broad range of disability services to clients across Queensland.

Can I Change My NDIS Provider?

Yes, you can. The NDIS aims to give you choice and control over the services you receive. If you’re not happy with your current provider, or if you need a different sort of service, you can choose to end your current service agreement and enter into a new one with another service provider.

If you want to change a service provider then:

  • Check the termination times in your service agreement
  • Make a written request to your current provider to end the agreement (you don’t have to explain why you want to change unless you wish to)
  • Ask them for a written reply
  • If the NDIA manages your funds, check to see that your booking has been cancelled so that your new provider is able to make bookings for you.

I Have a Disability But I’m Over 65. Can I Use the NDIS? 

No, the NDIS is for people under 65. You can use a different type of support if you’re over 65.

If you’re over 65 and receiving disability support when the NDIS arrives in your area, then you may continue to receive care under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Programme.

Otherwise, if you have a disability and are over 65, you may use Aged Care Services such as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or the Home Care Package.

Does the NDIS Support Children with a Disability? 

Yes, it does. The NDIS supports children aged 0-6 under the Early Childhood Early Intervention Scheme.

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