The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an exciting time of change but it can also be overwhelming.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) monitors frequently asked questions that are coming through on social media, posting responses up on their website. We are reposting this information to help keep you up to date.

For more information, please visit the NDIS Website.

Q. Can we claim respite care for our child?

A. The NDIS does not have a specific funding item called “respite care”, however a break from caring responsibilities can be delivered to the family with funded supports such as personal care or funded supports that will assist your child to engage in their local community and to build their skills. This can include a worker assisting in the home with personal care or connections in the local community, and this can give the family and carers a break – also known as respite from caring responsibilities.

It’s a good idea to talk with your NDIS representative about what sort of supports would suit your child’s and your family’s goals and needs so the right supports can be identified.

There might be other funding or services available from other government services to assist your family. Your NDIS representative (such as an LAC or an ECEI worker) can assist you to explore services such as Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres which provide a link to carer support services and assist carers with options to take a break through short-term and emergency respite. Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres also provide information about carer support services in their local area, and can be contacted by calling 1800 052 222 during business hours or 1800 059 059 for emergency respite support outside standard business hours.

Q. My son is in year 12. Can he get any support in his NDIS plan with finding a job?

A. Participants getting ready to leave school can have School Leaver Employment Supports in their NDIS plan if they need extra help to think about what sort of work will be right for them. The aim is to provide a highly supported pathway from school into employment.

School Leaver Employment Supports – or, SLES – is an individualised approach to help build the skills and confidence for Year 12 school leavers living with disability.

For those students, SLES is designed to provide a range of supports for up to two years to assist them to become work-ready. When ready, the SLES provider will guide access to a Disability Employment Service to begin looking for the right job.

If you’re an NDIS participant in 12, and are interested in finding out how you would benefit from accessing School Leaver Employment Supports then chat with your NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator, or visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/people-disability/sles.html

Q. I’m getting close to running out of funds. How long do unscheduled plan reviews take?

A. The best thing to do is get in contact with your Local Area Coordinator or planner. When your NDIS plan is developed, your funding is designed for the life of the plan. But if you are concerned that your plan funding is not going to last, you can request a plan review and submit a change in circumstance form, which will also help us to reassess your situation. You can request a plan review at any stage, and it is assessed on a case-by-case basis so how long this may take will vary. It is best to reach out to your Local Area Coordinator or planner as soon as you feel your circumstance may change.

As a part of NDIS’s commitment to choice and control (PDF 256KB), you are ultimately in control of how and when your funds are spent in line with what is reasonable and necessary for your goals.

Q. I’m signing a service agreement with a provider, how do I know what’s in the agreement will help meet the goals in my plan? Can I negotiate the service agreement?

A. Most of your NDIS supports will be delivered by Providers. Providers are people or businesses of your choice.
You will normally need to make a written agreement with your provider(s). This is called a Service Agreement.

Service Agreements should be simple and set out how and when your supports will be delivered. Service Agreements are different from your NDIS plan. Your plan lists your NDIS supports, but a Service Agreement is about delivering those supports.

When making a Service Agreement, you should take a copy of your NDIS plan. If you like, you can attach the copy of your NDIS plan to your Service Agreement(s). This will help your provider deliver you the right supports in the right way.

You can negotiate what goes in your Service Agreement such as what supports will be provided, the cost of these supports, how long you need the supports to be provided and how you or your provider may change or end the agreement.

Remember, you have choice and control in the delivery of your supports. This means having choice over who provides your supports and how they are provided. It also means being responsible and reasonable in your expectations and dealings with providers.

For more information see the Service Agreements page on the website.

Q. Why do you post stories on social media that aren’t about the NDIS?

A. Talking about disability and the disability sector is part of the National Disability Insurance Agency’s job. This is a really important question and we understand the reasons for asking it, so we want to take some time answering it.

When the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Act was passed in 2013, the Federal Parliament gave the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) the job of delivering the NDIS, as well as (among other things):

That means a big part of the NDIA’s job is to contribute to and lead conversations about disability in Australia. This was written into the NDIS Act because by having these conversations, all Australians can help raise the level of awareness of disability in our communities.

If you want more information about the Scheme itself, we recommend signing up to the NDIS fortnightly eNewsletter. You can do that here. It’s full of news and information updates, lists of events, fact sheets, tips and guides.