Frequently asked questions
What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national funding scheme designed to help improve disability services and provide greater control and decision making to people with disabilities in Australia.
The NDIS supports people with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.
George Gray Centre is a registered NDIS Provider and can assist in all aspects of the NDIS.
What is the NDIA?
The NDIA is an independent Commonwealth government agency responsible for overseeing the implementation of the NDIS.
What supports can I receive under the NDIS?
Support must be ‘reasonable and necessary’ and also:
Help you reach your goals and aspirations
Develop your capacity to actively take part in the community
Foster greater independence
Increase your social and economic participation
Represent value for money.
This can include things you’d like to access for learning, work, daily living, accommodation, equipment/assistive technology, health, transport and hobbies.
What is 'reasonable and necessary' and why is it important?
Put simply, anything you request that doesn’t meet reasonable and necessary criteria set by the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act (2013) will not be funded.
Supports must meet all of the following criteria:
Will assist you to pursue your goals, objectives and aspirations as stated in your plan
Will facilitate your social and economic participation
Be value for money
Be effective and beneficial for you, and in line with current good practice
Takes account of what is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide
Is most appropriately funded through the NDIS (rather than other systems like Health or Education).
This is in the legislation (NDIS Act) and is a guiding tool for planners. So, remember to use this is a checklist for all your requests and use this language when you are pre-planning!
When thinking about supports you need for your plan you can apply the ordinary life principle e.g. ‘I’m 37, do other 37 year olds have to be showered daily or driven to work or their medical appointments by their Mother?’ If the answer is no, then it is often reasonable to ask for supports to cover these areas as long as they meet the ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria.
Do I have to change to NDIS from the disability supports I currenty receive?
No, the NDIS is not means tested and has no impact on your DSP.
Does the NDIS affect the Disability Support Pension?
Will the NDIS cost me anything?
Not directly. The NDIS is a universal insurance scheme paid through tax contributions, like Medicare. The NDIS is designed to work side-by-side with health, education and other universal services.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for the NDIS you must:
have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities or a developmental delay
be less than 65 years old when you first access the NDIS
be an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa.
Or to meet the early intervention requirements for children:
your child is aged under 6 and has a developmental delay, and
you or your child have a disability that is likely to be permanent or early supports would reduce how much help you or your child need to do things in the future.
To further assess your eligibility the NDIS will ask you:
Do you usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?
What is a goal?
Goals describe what you want to achieve, develop or learn. A key part of your plan is identifying short-term and long-term goals. Usually there are two goals in a plan. A short term goal is something you can achieve in 12 months, a long term goals might take a few years.
Goals are one of the most important parts of your plan. This is because all the supports funded in your NDIS plan should directly link back to helping you achieve your goals. For this reason, it is recommended that your goals should be fairly broad so that as many supports as required can be included under the umbrella of that goal.
For example, most 25 year olds would want to move out of home and live as independently as possible – it’s no different for people with a disability and the NDIS can support you to ‘live an ordinary life’ in a goal such as this. This is a goal that might take a number of years to achieve with many supports needed along the way such as day to day support, life skills training, transport training, positive behaviour support.
How do I manage my NDIS budget and supports?
You will be asked how you want to manage your funds and supports in your NDIS planning meeting.
Management of your funds is called ‘Plan Management’. Your options for Plan Management are:
Manage your funding yourself – the NDIS will provide you with the funding to pay directly to the people and organisations that support you. This is called self-managed.
You can nominate a trusted person to manage your funding, called a ‘plan nominee’
Use a registered Plan Management provider
Ask the NDIA to manage your funding for you, which is called agency managed.
Plan Management is funded as part of your plan and does not take away from the funding allocated to the person with a disability.
Managing your supports and services is called ‘Support Coordination’.
There are three levels of Support Coordination depending on how complex the support required is. Support Coordination can alleviate some of the day-to-day work of coordinating multiple services and providers and can be funded as part of your plan.
What if the services don't exist in my area?
Unfortunately, in rural and remote areas this is a real problem.
This is something that has been raised before and becomes especially prevalent outside the major city centres. Your support coordinator or LAC will help you find supports, regardless of the area you live in.
What happens if I use up all of my funds before my plan expires?
When your NDIS plan is developed, your funding is designed for the duration of your plan, usually 12 months.
If you are plan or agency managed, they will look after making sure your funds last for you and send you reports regularly.
If you are self managed, you are ultimately in control of how and when your funds are spent during this time.
But if there is a situation where you notice that your plan funding is not going to last, the best thing to do is get in contact with the NDIS.
If your circumstances have changed in that your needs have increased since your plan was issued causing you to require more funds, you can you can submit a change in circumstance form asking the NDIA to reassess your situation.
Do my unspent NDIS funds roll over?
No, they don’t. After every plan review you will receive a new plan outlining supports and funds for the next period of time. While you have the choice and control to spend your funds strategically throughout the year, you cannot roll over unspent money.
We recommend you document the reasons why you haven’t spent the funds (e.g. you were in hospital, you didn’t understand your plan, you needed a support coordinator to help you and it wasn’t funded etc), if there are valid reasons so that the planner/LAC takes this into account at your plan review.
Your NDIS Planner can then factor in additional supports to help you maximise your plan if needed (e.g. if you needed a plan manager or support coordinator to help you implement your plan you may be able to get this in your reviewed plan). Plans are not based on what you spent last year, it’s about what’s reasonable and necessary.
What do I need to do to prepare for my regular plan review?
Much like pre-planning you’ll need to think about your life: what worked well in your plan, what didn’t work well, have you made progress towards your goals or achieved them, what are your future goals and what supports you will need in the future.
You do not need to pick new goals at each plan review but the NDIS wants to see how your supports and services are helping you progress, achieve new things and eventually, achieve your long-term goals.
How do I make a complaint about the NDIS?
The NDIA welcomes feedback, including complaints.
If you have feedback, give it to your planner, contact your local NDIA office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more visit the feedback and complaints page on the NDIS website.
What are the steps to putting my plan into action?
Your LAC or Support Coordinator will help you to: understand your plan and what supports and services you can pay for with your NDIS funding, implement your plan, connect you to new supports.
You’ll need to let your service provider/s know you have received your NDIS plan, even if you are already a customer of theirs. They may ask to have a meeting with you to discuss your NDIS plan to make sure that they are giving you the right supports for your goals and funding.
To receive services under the NDIS, you will need to fill out what is called a ‘Service Agreement’. This document will simply spell out how and when your supports will be delivered. Service Agreements are different to your NDIS Plan. An NDIS Plan lists your supports and funding, and your Service Agreement outlines how your supports will be delivered and how much they cost.