6. Timeframes for preparing a participant’s plan
The NDIA must commence facilitating the preparation of a participant’s plan in accordance with the NDIS phasing rules, or if these rules do not specify a time or circumstance, as soon as is reasonably practicable (sections 32(2) and (3)).
In some circumstances, the preparation of the plans for some participants can be priortised.
6.1 What are the phasing rules?
The NDIS phasing rules outline the order in which the NDIA will commence preparing plans for different classes or groups of participants during the progressive rollout of the NDIS across Australia.
These rules have regard to the progressive implementation of the NDIS and the need to ensure the financial sustainability of the NDIS.
Presently, there are separate phasing rules for South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory which explain how participants will be phased into the NDIS.
For example, in the Australian Capital Territory the NDIA will commence preparing participant plans in an order that depends on age and participation in school or group home accommodation. In other jurisdictions, participant plans will be prepared in an order that depends on other considerations as agreed between the Commonwealth of Australia and the host jurisdiction.
If a participant does not fall within one of the classes in the rules, the NDIA will commence preparing the participant’s plan as soon as is reasonably practicable having regard to the NDIA’s obligations to commence preparing other participant plans.
6.2 Prioritising participants with urgent circumstances
In urgent circumstances, the NDIA may:
- commence preparing a participant’s plan sooner than the timeframe set out in the phasing rules (section 32A(3)(a)) (on this page); and
- where necessary, delay commencing the preparation of plans for one or more other participants, so far as is reasonably necessary (section 32A(3)(b)).
As an indication, the NDIA will prioritise the preparation of plans as follows:
- immediate priority for participants who are at risk of harm, or whose stability of accommodation or care arrangements have broken down;
- within 2 weeks of deciding that a person meets the access criteria for participants whose stability of accommodation or care arrangements are unsustainable, fragile or at risk of breakdown;
- within 6 weeks of deciding that a person meets the access criteria for:
(i) participants in, or returning to, a community setting who:
- have no, or very few, supports in place where delay is likely to result in higher scheme costs, poorer longer term outcomes or a further reduction in functioning; or
- need to have appropriate support arrangements in place to be able to return to the community, for example participants returning home after an admission for acute mental health treatment or participants being released from prison or custody; and
(ii) participants who are children under 6 years of age with developmental delay where:
- there is evidence that delay in early intervention supports would reduce the effectiveness of those supports or lead to a worsening in the impairment of the child; or
- the child is approaching a key milestone and early intervention supports would make the achievement of that milestone more achievable, for example support with toilet training where a child is transitioning from home care to kindergarten; and
- within 2 to 3 months of deciding a person meets the access criteria for participants who have a sibling living in the same household who is already accessing supports under the NDIS where the children’s needs are most efficiently and effectively considered together.
The NDIA will advise participants of their priority and the effect of any decision on when their plan will be prepared. Participants waiting for the NDIA to prepare their plan may be referred to a Local Area Coordinator for connection with mainstream supports.
A participant’s priority may change when their disability support needs change, or when persons with higher priority meet the access criteria and enter the NDIS.
A decision in relation to when a plan will be prepared by the NDIA is not a reviewable decision.
6.2.1 Stability of accommodation or care arrangements
When considering the stability of the accommodation or care arrangements of the participant, the NDIA will have regard to:
- any family or domestic violence issues which pose a risk of harm to the participant or their family;
- the availability of active or alternative supports;
- the level and nature of care required;
- whether the participant has a parent with a disability which limits the appropriateness of care;
- the degree to which the participant’s family is able to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the participant’s disability support needs; and
- social, geographical or cultural isolation.