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.

Question: Are self-managed participants required to adhere to working condition requirements of a particular award?

There is no single award that applies to providers or their staff under the NDIS. As a reference point, the NDIA generally refers to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (external link).

When you self-manage your NDIS plan and directly engage your own staff, you have the same legal and regulatory obligations as an employer, such as:

To help you manage these responsibilities, you should refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman website and seek help from an accountant or financial advisor so that you know you are paying wages, super and tax correctly.

You will also need to consider insurance and work health and safety requirements, which are outlined at Safe Work Australia.

Question: How will the NDIS help to deliver Specialist Disability Accommodation?

This is a great question – Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is housing that helps people with very complex needs to live as independently as possible. So this means that not everyone will qualify, and it all comes down to your individual needs. This will all be discussed in your planning meeting, and may include assessments to determine or verify the level of SDA support you need.

For eligible participants, SDA is considered a reasonable and necessary support to assist you in living in the right kind of housing, in a place where your support needs can be met effectively and efficiently, then funding can be included in your plan to help you find SDA.

SDA homes are like any other home, but are specially built or fully modified to suit the needs of the people who live there. This can be an apartment, a villa, a townhouse or a free standing house. It is important to note that the NDIS will not fund the building of a home but the funding in your plan covers the most of the costs of one being provided to you including ongoing costs such as maintenance. You will also be expected to make a reasonable rent contribution for living there, as does everyone else who rents their home.

If you are assessed as requiring SDA as a NDIS support and need assistance to find a home, the NDIS will help you. If there is no suitable SDA in your area, the NDIS can also work with you to find a solution to meet your accommodation needs.

For more information on accommodation, accessing support services and other options if SDA is not covered under your funding, read more on the NDIS website.

Question: If my situation changes, can I apply to access new supports straight away?

We understand that situations change, whether it be a change in your level of support, your informal care arrangements or if you apply for, receive, or are entitled to compensation for injury.

We need to know if a change happens that affects your status as an NDIS participant or your plan.

There are two things you can do.

  • You could contact your planner, or
  • Fill out a change of circumstance form from the website and submitted:
  • in person at a NDIA, Local Area Coordinator or Early Childhood Partner office
  • emailed to enquiries@ndis.gov.au
  • uploading to the NDIS myplace Participant Portal
  • or by mailing a filled-out Change of Circumstances form to:National Disability Insurance Agency
    GPO Box 700
    Canberra ACT 2601

Once submitted, we will get in contact to discuss how we can adjust your plan to make sure you are receiving the reasonable and necessary support you need.

NDIA CEO David Bowen spoke to ABC’s Norman Herman for 30 minutes live on Facebook on Monday, answering your questions about the NDIS.

Watch the full interview with ABC’s Norman Herman and NDIA CEO David Bowen in the 30 minutes live Q&A that aired on Facebook this week. Transcripts of this interview are available. Here are some examples of the types of questions that were answered live by David Bowen.

Question: If my area is one of the last to roll out, will there be money left for participant funding?

Yes.

Funding for the NDIS comes from the Commonwealth and State governments. They’ve committed to fund it in accordance with agreements between each government. This has been a topic discussed in length by Parliament recently, and we received absolute commitment from the Government that it will be funded. There’s no need at all for concern that the funding won’t be there.

Question: Will those living with a permanent psychiatric condition find assistance through the NDIS?

Yes.

The Productivity Commission, who did the original estimates for the Scheme back in 2011, highlighted that around about 13-14% of people would enter the Scheme with what’s called a ‘psychosocial disability’. We have found that this representative of the number we have already in the Scheme. People with psychosocial disability have been recognised by the Scheme and are already receiving support.

Question: How can the NDIS help mature age workers who have a disability because of a workplace injury? Is that something that would be covered under the NDIS?

Workplace injury will generally be covered by state and territories workers compensation schemes. If a person had a workplace injury quite a long time ago, and have exhausted their compensation, they may be eligible. But, generally, the state and territory workplace injury systems provide the type of supports to the person that the NDIS would provide.