Your questions answered - getting NDIS ready and accessing the NDIS

You can submit questions through our weekly Q & A posts on the Facebook page (external) or through twitter #ndisqanda.

Do I Need a Disability Worker in order to sign up to NDIS or can I self-refer to the NDIS?

You can use the Access Checklist to test if think you might be eligible for the NDIS. If you think you meet the access requirements and the NDIS is available in your area you can call the NDIS or visit an NDIA or Partner office and discuss your situation. We will ask you some questions to help identify the next step for you. Your disability worker can help refer you to the NDIS but you can also self-refer to the NDIS.

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.

For more information on NDIS access requirements go to our website.

Who approves a plan?

All plans are approved by the NDIS.

In some cases the person you have developed your plan with or had you your plan review conversation with will be able to approve the plan, while in other cases they will send the draft plan to a colleague who will review and approve the plan.

If your circumstances or needs change you can talk to us about having your plan reviewed at any stage.

What is the NDIS process for a child diagnosed as ASD? Who makes such a diagnosis, and how exactly does the NDIS award funds for therapy for children with ASD?

The NDIS has engaged Early Childhood Partners around Australia to deliver the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach. Early Childhood Partners are experienced in working with children (birth to six years) with developmental delay or disability, and their families, to determine each child’s current developmental presentation and impact on daily life functioning. This then assists the determination as to what supports the child requires to bring about meaningful and positive outcomes for them and their family.

Consideration is given to what is, or should be, available through informal supports, community and mainstream supports. Then funded supports are explored within the framework of the reasonable and necessary criteria in the NDIS Act. An Early Childhood Partner will also determine whether there are substantial functional limitations requiring a coordinated long-term multidisciplinary service response.

As such, for a child, aged 0 to 6, a diagnosis is not required to meet the NDIS Act access requirements.

You can contact an Early Childhood Partner if concerns about your child’s development have been identified. You can find Early Childhood Partners on our website.

As every child is different, your Early Childhood Partner will tailor supports to your child’s individual needs and circumstances.

Early Childhood Partners may also:

  • Connect you and your child with the most appropriate supports in your area, such as the community health centre, educational setting and/or a playgroup.
  • Provide some short-term early intervention where it has been identified as the most appropriate support.
  • 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 tailored to the child’s individual needs.

If you have ASD and you are over the age of six, you will need to meet the NDIS’s residency and access requirements. For more information, visit the People with disability page on our website.

It is important to remember, everyone is different so NDIS support budgets will be built around individual needs.

Do you need to have an intellectual disability to qualify for NDIS, or can it be solely physical or mental health, or all of the above?

It doesn’t matter whether you have an intellectual, physical or mental health (psychosocial) condition, the NDIS provides all Australians who meet the access requirements with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to enjoy an ordinary life.

The NDIS is based on a person’s functional capacity, so if they are unable to participate in their community on a day-to-day basis, they may be eligible for funding. To find out about NDIS eligibility, visit the access requirements page on the NDIS website.

Does the NDIS cover mental health conditions as well? I’ve seen posts about people being covered for depression.

Yes. The NDIS does cover mental health but we use the term psychosocial disability (PDF) to describe any functional impairment, arising from mental health issues.

While not everyone with a mental health condition will experience psychosocial disability, those who do can experience severe effects and social disadvantage. People with a significant disability – one likely to be permanent – may qualify for NDIS support. If they don’t qualify, the NDIS will link them to appropriate supports in their local community. For more information about mental health and mainstream services, check out the factsheet on our website.

I keep hearing the NDIS is meant to be needs based, not diagnosis based, however it appears for adults this is not the case?

Anyone aged 6 years and older will need to provide a formal diagnosis of their disability as part of the access requirements to become an NDIS participant. However, once you are accepted into the Scheme your NDIS package will be based on your individual needs.

Children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability can access Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) to develop the skills they need early on. Access to ECEI does not require a diagnosis to receive support. However, when your child reaches 7 years old they will be re-assessed to either move to the NDIS (where a formal diagnosis is required), or transitioned to other government support services (find out more about mainstream services in this factsheet).

The NDIS is designed to support 460,000 Australians with permanent and significant disability, and every single person has different needs and goals. Each package will always look different and may even include a mix of NDIS and support from other government services. Click here to read more in the About the NDIS factsheet.

How does the NDIS get in contact with people when the Scheme starts in a new area?

This depends on whether you are already receiving disability supports.

If you currently get disability supports, we will contact you when the NDIS is available in your area.

If you are not currently receiving supports, you will need to contact us when the NDIS is available in your area. To find out when the NDIS is available in your area, visit our website.

This video (external) answers some of the most common questions about how to access the NDIS. There is also a factsheet on our website on how to access the NDIS (PDF).

Once you are accepted into the NDIS, is it 100 per cent for life or can you exit the Scheme? I am an adult.

Once you are accepted as an NDIS participant, you will receive reasonable and necessary support for as long as you need it. For most participants this means a lifelong relationship.

We will work with you to develop a plan that is unique to your needs and is based on your goals, and it will change over time as your situation changes. Some people enter the Scheme under early intervention. Early intervention support is available to both children and adults who meet the early intervention requirements.

The aim of early intervention is to alleviate the impact of a person’s impairment by providing support at the earliest possible stage. This means that support will be given to increase your independence and capacity, so at some stage you can transition from the NDIS to mainstream services (services available to all Australians).

Achieving good outcomes early on and transitioning from the Scheme doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship with the NDIS. You might need support at some point in the future, and that’s okay.

How long will the wait between being accepted as a participant and getting my planning meeting be?

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.

If you haven’t been contacted about your first planning conversation and you have been provided access to the NDIS there are a few things you can do:

  • Visit your state or territory’s page on www.ndis.gov.au to find out when the NDIS is available in your area or age group;
  • Call 1800 800 110 to talk someone about your situation
  • Talk to your current providers about the transition to the NDIS.

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.

I’ve been told my block funding ends on 1 July and I won’t be able to access services after this as my NDIS plan won’t have been approved yet. Is this true?

No. It is the responsibility of your state or territory government to continue your supports until you have an approved NDIS plan in place.

Transitioning from your current arrangements to the NDIS can feel like a big change, but there are rules written into the agreement between your state or territory government and federal government (this is called a bilateral agreement) to ensure that the transition goes smoothly.

You can read more about transitioning from state-based support to the NDIS on the FAQs for existing clients page of our website.

What kind of supports can my child access through the NDIS’ Early Childhood Early Intervention and are they only short term?

Every child is unique and therefore each Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) journey will be different.

The ECEI approach helps families to support their children develop the skills they need to take part of daily activities and be better prepared for the future. 

We’ve just released four different journeys that describe the path families can take and examples of the supports provided through from ECEI approach. Read and download the fact sheets on our website.

How can the NDIS help mature age workers who have a disability because of a workplace injury? Is that something that would be covered under the NDIS?

Workplace injury will generally be covered by state and territories workers compensation schemes. If a person had a workplace injury quite a long time ago, and have exhausted their compensation, they may be eligible. But, generally, the state and territory workplace injury systems provide the type of supports to the person that the NDIS would provide.

When will the NDIS be advertising for jobs in Brisbane?

We currently have a wide range of positions advertised in Chermside! Take a look and apply on our website.

The NDIS will be rolling out in metropolitan Brisbane from July 2018. Opportunities in new regions will be advertised in the lead up to the NDIS being made available in the area. You can sign up for job alerts in the jobs section of our website.

Can you please explain all the categories in my child’s plan? Can I get continence aids (nappies) for my child who is unable to go the toilet by themselves? What therapies can we claim under Core Budget (CB) daily budget?

Your child’s NDIS plan is likely to have three types of support budgets:

  • Core budget – includes supports to help your child complete activities related to day-to-day living and to increase their social and economic participation;
  • Capital budget – includes supports, such as assistive technologies, equipment and home or vehicle modifications, to help your child live an ordinary life; and,
  • Capacity Building budget – includes supports including therapies to help your child to build the skills they need to live the life they want, such as opportunities tofurther their education, participate socially, learn something new and eventually work

Check out the Understanding your plan and supports page for more information.

Your child may receive reasonable and necessary supports under these budgets to help them achieve the goals and outcomes identified in your child’s plan.The specific therapies they may receive under the Capacity Building (CB) budget will depend on your child’s goals and outcomes.

When the NDIA makes decisions about which supports would be reasonable and necessary for a particular participant, we refer to section 34 of the NDIS Act (external), and the NDIS Support for Participant Rules to make a decision on funding.

For example, continence aids (nappies) may be included as a personal care support under the Core budget if it would help your child achieve at least one goal and/or outcome identified in your child’s plan. Personal care supports for children are also not intended to replace the usual care and supervision provided, or paid for, by a parent.

You can refer to the Operational Guideline on including specific types of supports - Personal care supports for more information about personal care supports and the rules around them.

Do I need to give the NDIS a quote for assistive technology such as (AFOs) before my planning meeting?

No, you will not need to provide the NDIS with a quote for supports such as assistive technology prior to your planning conversation. To develop your first plan, you (and/or your nominee) will have a planning conversation with an NDIA representative about your existing supports, your immediate needs and your main goals. Assistive technology (AT) will be included in your plan if it is identified as a reasonable and necessary support to meet your needs and achieve your goals.

You can find out more about how to prepare for your first plan on this page of our website.

Once your plan is finalised, the NDIS will work with you to implement your plan. Some assistive technology supports, such as ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), may require quotes to implement your plan.

You can find out more about how to manage your assistive technology supports on the Assistive Technology FAQs page.

Does a person need to be on Disability Support and Carer’s Pension to qualify for NDIS?

You do not need to be receiving a Disability Support Pension (DSP) to be eligible for the NDIS.

The DSP and carer’s pension are separate from the NDIS. The NDIS is designed to work alongside the DSP and other measures, which provide income replacement for people with disability who cannot work.

Assistance from the NDIS is not means tested and has no impact on income support such as the Disability Support Pension and Carers Allowance.

While both the DSP and the NDIS provide support for people with disability, they perform very different functions and have different assessment criteria.

Can I request an in-person planning meeting?

Yes, you can request an in-person planning meeting if a phone call is not suitable.

The NDIA is committed to Dignified Access for NDIS participants. That means being able to access NDIS services and offices in a manner accessible to people with a range of disabilities.

Some people prefer a phone call, as it means they don’t have to come into an office or take time out of their routine.

If that isn’t the case for you, you can request an in-person planning meeting by telling your planner when they call that you would like to request an in-person planning meeting.