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: Is there a statement from the NDIA about its position on the inclusion of mental illness in NDIS funding?

A: You can read about how the NDIS provides support for people with psychosocial disability – disabilities that might come about as a result of mental illness – in this factsheet.

We know that psychosocial disability can fluctuate in intensity, and while not everyone who has a mental health issue will experience psychosocial disability, those that do can experience severe effects and social disadvantage. People with a significant disability that is likely to be permanent may qualify for NDIS support. Individualised NDIS plans are designed to be flexible according to each person’s experience and the reasonable and necessary supports that will support them in achieving their goals.

The NDIS is designed to work alongside existing government service systems, including health, education, housing and treatment services specific to mental health. People with mental health issues often require support from a range of sources such as community, family, friends, local or private mental health services and other mainstream systems. The NDIS works closely and in partnership with these other support systems and does not replace them.

Q: My plan includes funding for things I don’t think I need. Can I use that money in another way, or for different services?

A: The funding for reasonable and necessary supports in your plan is divided into separate support budgets that relate to areas of your life where you might have certain goals. For example, one part of your plan might be for “increasing my community engagement”, one might be for “improving my communication skills” and another might be “getting a job”. Each of these areas of your life has its own support budget, which is an allocated amount to be spent in that area of your life.

You have choice and control as to how you spend each support budget on its associated goal. For example, you can change between services that help you get involved in your community if you don’t think one is helping you achieve your goal, or if you decide you don’t need that particular service anymore.

You can’t use funding from one support budget for another goal. For example, you can’t use funding that’s set aside to help you get a job for purchasing equipment. This means you can’t transfer funding between support budgets before your plan review. At your plan review, you can talk about adjusting your goals and how you prioritise them.

You can find more detailed information about this in the ‘Understanding your NDIS Plan’ section of our website.

Q: After being accepted as a participant in the NDIS, how long until I will be contacted to set up a plan?

A: As the NDIS rolls out in different areas around Australia, the time between receiving your letter confirming your eligibility for the Scheme and having your planning conversation will vary. For some people it can be a few weeks, in other cases a few months.

The timing of your planning conversation depends on the agreements reached between the Commonwealth of Australia and the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

These agreements outline how the NDIS will operate and funding for the NDIS in each location, including the planned schedule of participant intake and planning.

General information is available on your State or Territory page and detailed information about intake is outlined in the ‘Heads of Agreement’.

You can view the Heads of Agreements, and the schedule for full scheme rollout, on this ‘Intergovernmental agreements’ page of our website.

While you are waiting for your planning conversation, there are a number of things you can do to prepare. Take a look at the getting ready for the NDIS and information on your first plan sections of the website for more details.

Q: What is the process for accessing the NDIS in NSW if I don’t currently receive government supports?

A: The NDIS is being introduced in stages because it’s a big change and it’s important to get it right and make sure it’s sustainable in the long-term, for a lot of Australians. The way the NDIS rolls out in each state and territory was decided by the state/territory and Commonwealth governments.

In New South Wales, people currently receiving supports through NSW Government specialist disability services are moving across to the NDIS first. If a child or adult is accessing services from the NSW Government, they will move to the NDIS in line with the phasing arrangements agreed on by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. You can find links to those arrangements on this page of our website and here on the COAG website. Existing Commonwealth and state-based services and supports will continue until those who are eligible start their plans with the NDIS.

People with disability who aren’t currently accessing NSW Government services will be required to complete an access request when the NDIS becomes available in their area, and they will have a planning conversation over the transition period. You can read more about access requirements and getting ready for rollout in your area on this Access Requirements page of our website.

If you live in another state or territory, you can find the same information for your location by visiting your state or territory’s page on our website. On each state and territory page, you’ll find specific information about when and how the Scheme is being rolled out in your area, applying for access, transitioning into the scheme, and events in your area.

Q: What is the process for children trying to access Early Childhood Early Intervention?

A: Children aged 0-6 do not need to have a disagnosed disability to access Early Childhood Early Intervention under the NDIS. The ECEI approach is being implemented in line with the schedule of rollout that the Commonwealth and state and territory governments agreed to. You can read those agreements here.

You can access ECEI support though an NDIS ECEI partner. You can find the details for your local ECEI partner on the Early Childhood Early Intervention page.

ECEI for a child with a developmental delay or disability in their early years is critical to achieving the best outcomes. Providing quality intervention early in a child’s life reduces the possible need for longer term intervention, and will support them over time to lead an ordinary life.