Questions about accessing the NDIS
If I already receive disability supports, what are the NDIS access request phone calls about?
The NDIS sends out a letter to advise that an individual is due to roll in to the Scheme. This is then followed up by a phone call, with the NDIS seeking information to confirm the person’s age, Australian residency status and disability type/impact of disability on the person’s functioning (eg on mobility, communication, self-care etc). Telephone contact is being used to speed up the process of transitioning people into the NDIS. When someone applies to participate in the NDIS, this is called their “access request”.
If I don’t receive an access call from the NDIS, will I miss entering the scheme?
No. If you are receiving Disability Services’ funded supports now and have signed consent to share your information, your details would have been given to the NDIS – so your “access request” has been automatically made for you, but you will still need to verify your age, residency and functional impact by phone. The Identitywa team is also tracking the individuals we support to ensure they have the information they need ahead of their scheduled transition to the NDIS and will provide any assistance required.
In the unlikely event that someone is overlooked, there is still no risk of missing out – there is no “closing date” for access requests.
Note: the NDIS eligibility criteria does require people to be aged under 65 years when they make their access request.
Questions about managing the plan funding
Will I be responsible for managing my family member’s shared living funding from now on?
No, if your family member has Supported Independent Living (SIL) as a part of their NDIS package, your nominated accommodation provider will be paid directly by the NDIA.
Can I self-manage my Supported Independent Living (SIL) funding package?
No, currently participants cannot self-manage their SIL funding for shared living. Other aspects of the participant’s plan such as therapy, transport or consumables may be self-managed.
Can I still self-manage parts of my NDIS plan?
Self-managing means that the NDIS will pay you for the plan supports, then you engage and pay the provider directly. You can self-manage some or all of your plan supports (other than SIL). For example, you may want your supported employment provider to be paid directly by the NDIA but want more flexibility with your therapy funds and choose to self-manage those. Self-managing allows you to choose any provider, whether they are registered with the NDIS or not.
Does an organisation which is nominated for plan management complete all of the responsibilities in regards to taxation requirements?
Yes, if you have a plan manager they will pay for your supports including taxes and other indirect costs associated with the support. This is only in relation to the supports you have agreed with them to manage.
What happens if there is a change in circumstances in regards to self-management?
If you have appointed more than one plan nominee, if one nominee can no longer self-manage the funds, the other nominee could continue.
If you need to change the way your plan is managed, you will need to request an early Plan Review. If your request for review is accepted, you can ask to change your plan management selections.
Questions about the annual planning process
If I am not due to transition into the NDIS yet, when can I start planning?
Everyone who currently receives specialist disability services should transition to the NDIS by 30 June 2020. You should start thinking now about what you would like your future to be like. Identitywa has a range of planning supports – you can link in with the Identitywa Planning Officer for your region, access our website for information as well as use our NDIS planning templates. You can meet with our Planning Officers now if you would like to kick start your planning.
Can I nominate the provider to manage the planning process for us?
No. The individual with disability is the centre of the planning process. The person can have whomever they wish or need to support them with the planning process, and this may include a service provider.
Who organises my various service providers to attend my NDIS planning meeting?
The individual with disability is the centre of the planning process. The participant (or their advocate) will invite whomever they wish to the meeting.
Is there a limit on the number of people I can bring to the NDIS Planning Meeting?
No, there is no limit. But as with any meeting, the number of people attending may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the meeting. In our experience, solid preparation before your NDIS meeting is the key to effective plan development.
What happens if I make no progress towards my goal and want to change it?
Generally, a participant would not change their statement of goals and aspirations until the review date specified in their plan. However, there may be circumstances where a participant wishes to change their statement of goals and aspirations. This might be as a result of changes to where a person lives or their informal support arrangements.
When a person changes their statement of goals and aspirations, their existing plan will need to be reviewed and replaced with a new plan.
If my plan is working well, must I have a review and new plan every year?
Yes. A scheduled plan review occurs as part of the normal planning cycle and must occur at least annually. The NDIS Planner or LAC and the participant will have a planning session (also called a plan review meeting) to discuss their current plan goals and the outcomes achieved, future goals and what supports will be needed to work towards those. Although you will receive a new plan, sometimes the supports may not change much if things are working well and the support you need to achieve your new goals is similar.
The government is currently considering whether to change the Scheme so that plans can be longer than one year if a person is satisfied with their existing plan.
Can the annual review and planning be done by telephone?
Yes, participants have the option to have a plan review conducted over the telephone. Identitywa recommends having a face to face meeting as, in our experience, it is the most effective way for the NDIS Planner or LAC to gain insight into what matters to the individual and what supports are required to achieve the person’s plan goals.
My family member lives in an Identitywa shared living house. What is the planning process for this?
Usually, a Planner will visit the shared living house on one day and conduct separate planning sessions for each of the people living there – though sometimes this is not possible. The Planner usually contacts Identitywa to assist with coordinating the visit to the house. Ideally, the individual’s family member/advocate will also be present. The planning meeting can be held at the NDIS office, on a different day or by phone if that is the individual’s/family’s preference.
The planning meeting will include discussion about shared living support (known as Supported Independent Living [SIL]) and any other supports the person needs to meet their plan goals, such as therapy, community access, employment support, aids and equipment. Identitywa will be asked to submit a quote for SIL for each person who shares the support in the house.
The supports approved for funding, such as therapy and supported employment, will be included in the plan along with the SIL funding.
How will my completed plan come to me and what do I need to do when I receive it?
Each participant should receive a copy of their NDIS plan in the mail after it has been approved.
Participants can view and print their NDIS plan through the myplace [online] portal. There is a step by step guide available on the NDIS website for participants that can help them navigate the portal.
Can the meeting with NDIS Planner or LAC occur at the family home – or does it have to be held at the NDIS office?
Other than for people in shared living, planning meetings are conducted at the NDIS office or if the participant requests, by phone.
In person planning meetings offer the best opportunity for you to discuss your current situation and needs with the Planner or LAC.
Questions about managing things before the NDIS
Will there be a gap in service between my current funding stream and the NDIS funding?
The Department of Communities (Disability Services) and the NDIA have been working together to co-ordinate the cease date of Disability Services’ funded supports with the commencement date of the NDIS funded supports. Identitywa’s experience is that individuals have not been experiencing a break in service.
It is important for you to respond in a timely way to requests made of you from the NDIA, Disability Services or service providers, such as signing consent forms, so that the service transition process is facilitated.
I am not transitioning into the NDIS for some time and do not have adequate supports. What can I do?
Some program funded services are still available in regions yet to move into the NDIS. Identitywa still offers short breaks in our two children’s houses and one adult house for people who have not yet transitioned into the NDIS. You can contact Disability Services’ Local Coordinators for information, linkages and referral services. From 1 May 2019, you can contact NDIS Local Area Coordinators in your area.
Will my current Department of Communities Local Coordinator assist me in advocating with the NDIS in regards to planning?
If you have a plan and are linked to a Local Coordinator, your LC will facilitate the transfer of your current plan to the NDIS as the region you live in rolls into the Scheme. The LC will support your transition but not take on an advocacy role.
Some people don’t know the funding source of their current supports – is this important or is it more important to capture the funded hours support now?
It is most important to capture all the types of supports you currently receive/need. Identitywa will inform people we support of the current services they are receiving from us. You can also use the participant Booklet 2 to record your current situation and supports.
Questions about supports in the plan
Will my child receive funding for the therapy that I think she needs?
Participants will receive all reasonable and necessary supports that are associated with their plan goals. The NDIA will make a decision about what is reasonable and necessary – ideally this will match what you think your child needs. You may wish to take with you to the planning meeting, your therapist, therapy assessments or therapy plans to demonstrate your child’s need.
Right now, NDIA undertakes the eligibility, connection and planning functions with children under the age of seven and their families. From 1 May 2019, Wanslea will undertake this Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) role on behalf of the NDIA.
Can I stay in my shared living arrangement once I move into the NDIS?
Yes, if that is your choice. In Identitywa’s experience, the continuity of shared living arrangements has not been affected as a result of the change from WA State to NDIS funding.
Will NDIS fund SIL for an individual to live on their own?
In most circumstances, it is unlikely that the NDIS will fund 24/7 supports to an individual living on their own. People who experience a change in needs and require an increase in support to 24/7 care may need to consider moving to a shared support, host family or co-resident arrangement. For most people, 24/7 rostered support for a single person would not meet the value for money criterion for reasonable and necessary support.
What will happen with employment services?
Assistance to enter or re-enter the workforce is an important support. Disability Employment Service (DES) or Job Services Australia (JSA) providers remain the primary source of assistance to prepare for, find and maintain employment for many people with disability.
For individuals not eligible for DES or JSA support, Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) would have provided people with supported employment opportunities or help to gain training and experience to work in open employment. As the NDIS rolls out, individuals who have an approved NDIS plan will no longer receive support through ADE funding – the funding required for this kind of support will come through their NDIS plan. People receiving support through organisations such as Workpower, Activ, and Intelife can continue to do so if they choose. (The full list of “Specialist support employment” registered providers can be found on page 47: https://www.ndis.gov.au/medias/documents/wa-provider-list-groups/Provider-WA-by-Group.pdf )
Can I get NDIS funding to access the Special Needs Dental Health Service?
No. This is a health related support so it won’t be in your NDIS plan. This support remains the responsibility of the Health system so the service you receive should remain unchanged.
Will I still receive health related supports when I transition to the NDIS?
The health system remains responsible for the provision of clinical services and treatment of health conditions such as visits to the GP, medical specialists, medical care in hospital, surgery. Being a NDIS participant does not affect your access to health services. NDIS fact sheet – healthcare supports
The Scheme will fund supports required as a result of the person’s disability. These could include aids and equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, adjustable beds and orthotics.
Can I ask for more community access support in my NDIS plan than I am currently getting now?
Individuals can request a higher level of support. When considering your request, the Planner will need to ensure it meets the reasonable and necessary criteria including that it assists the person to pursue their goals, objectives and aspirations; represents value for money; is likely to be effective and beneficial for the participant, and takes into account what it is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide.
In support of your request, you will need to demonstrate against the criteria above how the higher level of community access support is reasonable and necessary within the context of your goals and circumstances.
If you are receiving funding for shared living (Supported Independent Living [SIL]), any funding for community access supports should be reflected as an item in your plan separate to SIL. This means that you can select a different community access provider from your SIL provider if you’d like to.
Will the NDIS take into account both my primary and secondary diagnosis?
The impact of your disability on your functioning (eg mobility, communication, self-care etc) is of utmost importance, so your primary and secondary diagnoses are relevant. Both will be taken into account when understanding the level and types of supports you may require to achieve your goals.
Questions about how the Scheme works
What is myGov and why do I need to create an account?
myGov is a secure website for individuals to access their government services such as the Australian Taxation Office and Medicare. It is also where NDIS participants or their nominee access the Myplace portal to view their NDIS plan and manage their disability supports. Participants (or their nominee) will require a myGov account to sign in to the Myplace portal. Visit myGov to find out how to create your myGov account .
What do the funding bodies mean by the ‘no disadvantage’ principle?
Governments made a commitment that individuals receiving disability supports before becoming a participant in the NDIS, will achieve at least the same outcomes through the Scheme. There are rules built into the NDIS that ensure people will not be disadvantaged by accessing the scheme.
Where the NDIS does not fund the kind of support you previously received, the NDIA will identify alternative supports that enable you to achieve the same outcomes or refer you to other service systems.
The best way to make sure nothing is missed in your plan is to start preparing early. Taking time now to understand what you are receiving from your service providers will assist in ensuring that you have what you need in your first NDIS plan.
What interface with the community services and mainstream systems mean?
Community & mainstream service systems are the services that are available to all Australians, such as schools and universities, hospitals and medical services, public transport, public housing for people on low incomes. These services need to make reasonable adjustments to ensure accessibility by people with disability. The NDIS complements not replaces these supports.
Sometimes there are grey areas which are difficult to decide whether a support is the responsibility of the NDIS or another service system. You can find fact sheets under section 10.8 here: NDIA Fact Sheets and read the full document outlining the division of responsibilities: Principles to Determine Responsibilities of the NDIS and Other Service Systems
When will LACs be available in WA?
APM and Mission Australia have been engaged to provide the NDIS Local Area Coordination functions. Wanslea has been engaged to provide the Early Childhood Early Intervention coordination. These service providers commenced LAC operations from 1 May 2019. The NDIA will continue with the LAC role in some locations. Read more here.
What is the role of the Local Area Coordinator in the NDIS compared with the role of Local Coordination in the Department of Communities (Disability Services)?
LACs will help people with a disability and families by:
- Providing information and options about support in your local community
- Linking you with the NDIS – accessing the Scheme, drafting your plan, implementing your approved plan, self-managing your funds and plan review
- Helping you understand what you can expect from mainstream supports, eg education, health, housing, transport, training and employment
- Helping sustain informal supports around you – this is family, friends and local community members.
NDIS Local Area Coordinators do not provide case management or act as an advocate for the person with disability. LACs cannot approve NDIS plans.
Disability Services’ Local Coordination will continue to wind back as the NDIS rolls out across WA.
My child is 5 and I’m seeking Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports. Does this change when they turn 7?
The ECEI approach is for children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability. ECEI supports families to help children develop the skills they need to take part in daily activities and achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life.
In the Perth metropolitan area, Wanslea will deliver the ECEI approach. Wanslea staff will work with you to understand your child’s support needs, monitor your child’s progress, provide helpful information and connect you and your child with the most appropriate supports in your area.
Wanslea will also help you to request NDIS access if your child requires longer-term early childhood intervention supports. If your child becomes an NDIS participant, Wanslea will work with you to develop an NDIS plan.
For children turning 7 years of age who are not already an NDIS participant but whose permanence of disability and impact on functional impairment has been confirmed, will be assisted by Wanslea to make their NDIS access request.
Will my carer allowance impact on my family member’s NDIS funding?
No, the NDIS is separate to Centrelink. An NDIS plan is based on a person’s individual needs and goals.
Will the subsidy currently received for utilities continue when we access NDIS?
Financial support for day-to-day living, such as utility fees, is income related and therefore not the responsibility of the NDIS. As such, income related subsidies available are not affected by the NDIS participation or plan funding. For example, if you receive a Disability Support Pension you may receive an Energy Supplement payment and this is unaffected by the NDIS.
Will NDIS funded support continue after the person turns 65 years?
Individuals receiving specialist disability supports who are aged 65 or older at the time the NDIS started in their residential area, will not be eligible to join the Scheme. Funding to continue their pre-NDIS level of disability support for those people is guaranteed (Continuity of Support).
People who are NDIS participants and then subsequently turn 65 years of age, can choose to either:
- remain as a full NDIS participant; or
- access the support they need through the Aged Care System.
For all people aged 65 and older, it is not possible to access support through both the disability and aged care systems at the same time.
If you are considering a move to the Aged Care System, it is important to fully understand what support you will be able to access through Aged Care before you formalise that decision. Once you commence receiving supports through the Aged Care System, you cannot return to the NDIS or Continuity of Support arrangements.
Will there be any out of pocket costs when we roll into NDIS?
If you need to get an assessment or diagnosis now as part of your transition, this may be an out of pocket cost. The NDIS changes announced in November 2019 suggest that from 1 July 2020, the NDIA will pay for these costs in full. Read more about the changes in our FAQs.
If your plan is managed by the NDIA or you are receiving plan-management from a registered provider, they will pay your providers directly and there should not be any out of pocket costs. If you are self-managing your funds and pay the provider, you will receive reimbursement via myplace within 48 hours of uploading the receipt.
If you choose to access services or equipment to a value that exceeds your allocated funds for a particular support, the additional costs will be out of pocket.
Does the funding for my child’s education assistant supports come from the NDIS?
Funding for education assistants is the responsibility of the education provider.
Questions about recent NDIS changes
What changes to the NDIS were announced in November 2019?
A review of NDIS legislation and rules, which in turn informs the development of the Morrison Government’s promised NDIS Participant Service Guarantee, has recently concluded. You can read the Minister’s announcement here. Some of the main changes for participants are:
- Assuming the satisfactory completion of a pilot, the use of independent functional assessments paid for in full by the NDIA will be available for Scheme access and planning purposes from 1 July 2020.
- Plan duration will be extended so that plan reviews are only initiated in line with significant life milestones, eg starting and finishing school, getting a job, moving house or other changes in support needs.
- The distinction between core and capacity building funding will be removed so that participants can use funding more flexibly, from 1 July 2020.
- A simple, agile plan adjustment process for participants who only require a small adjustment to their plan due to a change in circumstances, can be done without a full plan review.
- Governments to work on an approach to improve the provision of transport support
- Simplifying quoting and approval of assistive technology and home modifications