NDIS Weekly

Q & A 5th January

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.

How do I get an Access Request Form?

You can apply to enter the NDIS six months prior to the Scheme rolling out in your area. If you already receive supports from a State or Territory government disability program, you will be contacted when it is time to transition to the NDIS. If you don’t currently receive supports you can visit an NDIA or Partner office to begin the access request process. If you are applying on behalf of a child under the age of six, you will be referred to an Early Childhood Partner. They will work with you to understand your child’s individual needs and circumstances.

They will also:

  • Connect you and your child with the most appropriate supports in your area, such as community health centre, playgroups, etc.
  • Provide some short-term early intervention where it has been identified as the most appropriate support and;
  • Help you to request NDIS access if your child requires longer-term early childhood intervention supports. If your child becomes an NDIS participant the Early Childhood Partner will work with you to develop an NDIS plan.

If you are aged between seven and 65 you will most likely work with a Local Area Coordination (LAC) Partner to help you understand and access the NDIS. LACs can also help you fill out the Access Request Form. The completing your access request form page on our website provides you with information about the paperwork and evidence you’ll need to provide when you apply for the NDIS.

Do you have to be under 65 to access the NDIS?

Yes. The NDIS Act (external) has an age requirement that a person must be aged under 65 when they submit an access request. If you access the Scheme for the first time before you’re 65, you have the option of staying in the Scheme beyond that point. You will discuss this situation as part of your regular plan review. People who are aged 65 years and over generally receive support through the aged care system.

My child is receiving Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) funding, is this forever?

ECEI funding is for children from birth up to 6 years old. When your child reaches 7 years-of-age they will be re-assessed to either move to the individualised funded plan (where a formal diagnosis is required), or transitioned to other government support services.

Your Early Childhood Partner will work with you to understand your child’s individual needs and circumstances. They will also help you to request NDIS access if your child requires longer-term supports. If your child becomes an NDIS participant the Early Childhood Partner will work with you to develop an NDIS plan. There is more information on Early Childhood Early Intervention on the ECEI page of the NDIS website.

What is a Local Area Coordinator?

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) are organisations who have partnered with the NDIA to deliver the NDIS. LACs have three key roles:

  • They will link you to the NDIS. For a majority of participants, LACs will work with you to develop your plan, help you implement and monitor how your plan is going, and review your progress regularly.
  • Link you to information and support in the community and mainstream services such as health and education, and
  • Work with their local community to make sure it is more welcoming and inclusive for people with disability.

Find out more about LACs in your area on the NDIS website. Don’t worry if you can’t find a LAC near you yet. As the NDIS continues to roll out, more LACs will become available in communities across Australia.

How do I know what supports the NDIS will fund and how much funding I will get in my plan?

NDIS plans are tailored to each person’s individual needs so funding will vary, depending on the person’s support needs.

When you meet with an NDIS representative, to develop your plan, you will be asked about your current situation and what supports you receive, and how you manage everyday activities, like taking a shower or cooking your meals. This information helps to form the basis of your plan, working out your supports; how they are reasonable and necessary; how they link to your immediate needs, and how the NDIS can help you to work towards achieving your goals and aspirations, both now and for the future.

Once you complete the planning process you will receive an individualised funding amount, which you have choice and control over the supports you receive. This ‘what help can I get?’ page of our website, and the other resources in the left hand menu on that page, will help you get an idea of the kinds of things the NDIS will fund.

You can visit this page that has a bunch of examples of the services and support people access through the NDIS.

If you’re looking for further detail, you can read the Operational Guidelines on including specific types of supports in plans, which includes information about things like assistive technology and home modifications.

I’m still waiting for my plan review – when is it going to happen?

There are a lot of variables with this one. It is probably best to contact your Local Area Coordinator, or drop into your local NDIS office in the first instance to discuss your situation.

Are iPads approved in a plan in special circumstances, and if so, can we buy it first and then get reimbursed?

Generally, the NDIS won’t fund the purchase of an iPad. If there are certain apps that relate directly to your goals and support needs, and are beneficial to reaching those goals, the cost of those apps can be funded by your NDIS plan. All approved supports need to meet the criteria of Section 34 of the NDIS Act (2013) (external), which is about Reasonable and Necessary Supports.

In order to be considered reasonable and necessary, a support must:

  • be related to the participant’s disability
  • not include day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s disability support needs
  • represent value for money
  • be likely to be effective and beneficial to the participant, and
  • take into account informal supports given to participants by families, carers, networks, and the community.

An iPad can be a great educational and communicative tool for a lot of people. Some people use certain iPad applications to help them overcome barriers they face in society because of their disability. The device is not what helps people reach their NDIS goals but rather the applications specific to the disability.

The device itself is something widely used in society. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014-15) (external) reports that 86% of all households have access to the internet at home, with 62% of households accessing the internet via tablets. This is why they are considered everyday items.

The iPad may be more appropriately funded by other systems such as education (many schools provide computers or tablets to students, or even set iPads as required purchases on students’ school material lists) and employment (many employees are provided with electronic devices such as computers, tablets and mobile phones).

Why is my comment being hidden from the NDIS Facebook page?

We want to keep the NDIS Facebook page a respectful and safe place for everyone, so certain words get flagged by Facebook’s filter, and comments including those words get automatically hidden.

Profanities, insults, derogatory language and in particular any discriminatory language gets automatically hidden. This is to protect users above all else. We also hide comments that commercially promote a support or service. We will also remove comments that are aggressive and do not add to a discussion in anyway. Repeated breaches of these rules will see a user banned from our page.

We want the page to be a place of respectful and public discussion of the NDIS and disability more broadly. Offensive content is filtered out to make sure that everyone feels welcome and safe to express their views.