1. I think the NDIS may be for me. Useful things to know before I apply

What can I apply for through the NDIS? (Supports)

The NDIS is a new way of funding support services for people with disability, and as with anything new you may have a lot of unknowns and uncertainties about what it means to you and how it will affect you. This section aims to provide answers to some of these unknowns for you and reduce any uncertainties you might have about the NDIS.

If you are still not sure if you want to apply for the NDIS after reading this section, call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and they will be able to answer any other questions you have.

Because the underpinning principles of the NDIS are to increase a person’s independence, connect them to their community and make progress towards economic participation, the NDIS funds supports that are ‘reasonable and necessary’ for a person to do this.

This includes enabling people to manage their everyday tasks and support them to achieve their goals and aspirations. What tasks, goals and aspirations are and what they mean to everyone is different, hence the types of supports you can request will be specific to you.

‘Reasonable and necessary’ means supports have to:

  • be specific to the individuals needs
  • give value for money
  • be related to the person’s disability, and
  • be effective and beneficial to you.

Also consider the informal supports given to you by families, carers, networks and the community.

The NDIS does not provide support for areas of a person’s life that are provided by other government departments, such as health and education.

When you think about the support you will need, keep the NDIS principles in mind. Ask yourself what you need so that your everyday tasks are managed, what will increase your independence, connect you to your community, and what support you will need to reach your goals and aspirations.

You may find it useful to break down the support you apply for into the supports you need to meet your short term, medium term and long term goals. You might need short-term goals to enable you to reach your longer-term goals. Remember the supports you receive through the NDIS will continue while you need them, they are not static and they can change as you do.

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

  • Are you under 65 years of age?
  • Are you an Australian?
  • Do you have a disability?

Check your eligibility via the NDIS website: www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist

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Will my current support be affected? What is changing?

I don’t want to apply for the NDIS, will my current funding and support continue?

Your current funding and supports will continue but how they are funded may change. This is because many programs for people with disability that are currently funded by the state will be rolled over to the NDIS.

The NDIS provides support for six areas that are key to supporting a person to be as independent as possible in managing their everyday life.

Mobility, Self-management, Communication, Social interaction, Self-care, Learning.

So, while you will continue to receive your supports and the funding for them, the funding will now come from the NDIS. If your current funding and support is not being rolled over to the NDIS then they will remain the same.

For most people participating in a state funded program, you won’t have to do anything, you will automatically be transferred over to the NDIS. NDIA may contact you if they need to clarify anything.

If you are in a program that is being rolled over to the NDIS and you don’t want your support funded this way, then you may not be able to receive funding for your supports.

If you are concerned about the changes and how they might affect you, talk through your concerns with the NDIA, your Local Area Coordinator or people you trust.

My supports are funded by government organisations – will I still receive funding from them?

Many government programs that currently provide supports to people with disability will be rolled over to the NDIS.

If you’re receiving support through one of the state government programs that will be rolled over to the NDIS, you will most likely be transferred automatically to the NDIS. If, for some reason you’re not automatically transferred, then your current provider may ask for your consent for the NDIA to conduct an eligibility assessment (your application) over the phone. This will take about 30 minutes and in most cases the NDIA will be able to let you know during this conversation if you are NDIS eligible or not.

Because the information an organisation has about you is also transferred to the NDIS, when the NDIS contacts you, you will not need to have this with you.

If you do not want to talk to them at the time they contact you, or you would like to have a support person with you when they do the assessment, let them know and arrange a time for this.

Because many people are being transferred over to the NDIS you may not hear from them for a few weeks or months. If you have any concerns about this or whether or not your current program is being transferred call the NDIA on 1800 800 110; they may be able to help you with your concerns or direct you to who can.

I’m happy with the supports I receive now, will this change under NDIS?

For most people, if they don’t want to change the supports they receive, are eligible for those supports under the NDIS and are happy with their service providers, then the only thing that will change is that the funding will now come from the NDIS.

Changes in service providers can happen for the same reasons they do now, for example, if you are assessed as no longer needing a particular type of support or, your current service provider no longer offers the services you need.

If your current supports are not through a program that is being transferred to the NDIS, they will stay the same and you won’t have to do anything.

The NDIS has developed resources that can assist you in identifying your current supports: ‘Getting Plan Ready’ and the ‘NDIS Planning Guide and Workbook’.

These can be downloaded from the NDIS website at:
www.ndis.gov.au/sites/default/files/Getting-Plan-Ready_0.pdf
www.ndis.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/planning_guide.pdf

Or, you can ask the NDIS to send you copies.

If you would like some assistance in working through these resources ask someone you trust to help you.

Will I receive the same level of support as I do now under the NDIS?

The NDIS has a principle of ‘no disadvantage’. This means that if you are currently receiving services and supports when you become an NDIS participant, transitioning to the NDIS should not disadvantage you.

The ‘no disadvantage’ principle doesn’t mean the services and supports you currently receive will be the same. What it means is that if you become an NDIS participant, your services and supports have to be able to achieve at least the same outcomes for you before you received funding via the NDIS.

The types of services and support you will receive, as well as the budget to do this, will be based on the information submitted with your application and the NDIS Plan you develop.

I receive the Disability Support Pension, why do I have to apply for the NDIS?

The NDIS and the Disability Support Pension (DSP) are managed by separate organisations. Not everyone who is eligible for the NDIS is eligible for the DSP and not everyone who is eligible for the DSP is eligible for the NDIS.

A way to think about the difference is that the DSP provides income support for your everyday expenses such as food, travel costs and housing, whereas the NDIS will provide supports to help you manage your everyday tasks and to reach your goals and aspirations. What these supports are will depend on your needs.

I don’t receive the Disability Support Pension, does that mean I can’t apply for the NDIS?

You don’t have to receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP) to apply for or be eligible for the NDIS. Eligibility for the NDIS is based on the supports you need so you can participate in everyday activities, not your eligibility for the DSP.

How do I identify my current supports?

Supports are not just about the groups you might attend, the domestic or the personal assistance you receive in your home, or the professionals you work with. Supports can be some of the things your family and friends do with you or for you; they might also include any voluntary work you do or education you undertake.

The planning stages of the NDIS will help you identify the supports you currently have in your life. A way to start thinking about the supports you have might be to think about things you do and who you do these with over a period of time. An example of support might be if you share a meal or go to a movie with someone on a regular basis, or if a friend or family member accompanies you to appointments.

Choice and control

Once the support is in place and you find that it isn’t the right choice for what you need, or the support provider doesn’t provide you with what you need for whatever reasons, remember you will not be locked into continuing with a support or support provider that isn’t right for you. You can change your NDIS Plan or you can change your provider.

Compensation

The NDIS does not replace existing compensation arrangements for personal injury.

If you have compensation or are in the process of receiving or applying for compensation, it may or may not affect the supports that the NDIS can provide.

To determine this, the NDIA will need further information from you, including:

  • the type of compensation you received, or are seeking
  • when you received the compensation
  • the amount received
  • what the compensation has been spent on
  • how much compensation is left.

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If the compensation you receive is for supports that the NDIS covers such as personal care, the NDIA will need to calculate the effect the compensation has on those supports. This amount is known as the Compensation Reduction Amount (CRA). It is documented to ensure there is no duplication of supports funding.

There are some types of compensation that will not affect any supports you may be entitled to under the NDIS. This normally includes compensation received for pain and suffering, or loss of income.

If you receive compensation and are applying to join the NDIS, contact NDIS on 1800 800 110 to confirm how you can provide your compensation information.

I’m entitled to claim compensation/insurance for my disability but I don’t want to, can I apply for the NDIS instead?

Being entitled to compensation or insurance relating to your disability, but not claiming the insurance/ compensation, does not mean you can’t apply for the NDIS but the NDIA may decide not to fund those supports.

If you’re entitled to compensation/insurance for your disability, the NDIA may require you to take action to obtain this. If the NDIA does require you to take action, they will inform you in writing and specify the time frame that you are required to take action within; this must be at least 28 days’ notice.

When making a decision about this, the NDIA is required to consider your circumstances and any barriers that may prevent you from taking action. For example, this could be your disability or your financial circumstances; they also have to consider any reasons you provide as to why you haven’t made a claim.

If you don’t take action within the time frame, the NDIA will continue to process your application but may decide not to provide the supports, or if your application is already approved they can suspend payments until you have taken action to claim compensation.

In some circumstances when you can’t claim compensation for whatever reason, but are entitled to make a claim, the NDIA will do this on your behalf. If they do this you will not be responsible for any costs incurred by them.

If you do receive written notice requiring you to take action but would like this decision reconsidered, you can request that the NDIA review their decision. You will need to provide reasons why you don’t want to or can’t take action to claim compensation, and where possible provide evidence to support your reasons.

Your personal information

Can someone make the application on my behalf?

Another person can make an application on your behalf only if they have been appointed as your legal guardian under NSW law and they have the delegated power over that area of your life or you have appointed a nominee.

If you appoint a nominee, they have to agree to act on your behalf and they will have to provide written evidence that they have your consent to act on their behalf. Consent to act on your behalf can be for all decisions made regarding the NDIS or it can be limited to certain decisions. If you change your mind about having that person as your nominee you can withdraw consent at any time, just let the NDIA know this in writing or call them and let them know you have withdrawn your consent. If you write to them keep a copy of the letter you send and if you call them it’s best to keep a record of the date you contacted them.

Otherwise, while it is only you who can apply for the NDIS, you can have support from anyone you trust to support you such as family, friends, carers and professionals at any stage in the NDIS.

You can give the NDIA consent to collect the information about you held by Centrelink and other government organisations to help them assess your NDIS eligibility. This will save you from having to collect this information and provide it to the NDIA.

NDIA will not collect or disclose any information about you without your consent, unless they are authorised to do so. You can ask to see the information NDIA holds about you at any time. If any of the information is incorrect you can ask to have this corrected.

What happens to the personal information provided to the NDIA?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the organisation that will manage your personal information. This is the information you provide or the information transferred to NDIA from other organisations and programs. Any personal information the NDIA holds about you is protected under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and the Privacy Act 1988.