What is the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is an Australian Government initiative designed to help people who are living with disability to get the support they need to live as normal a life as possible. It will make it easier for disabled people to access support and individual NDIS plans will encourage independence among participants.
What is an NDIS plan?
When a person first starts in the NDIS they will meet with a planner to work out what their needs and goals are, and how these can best be met. Once this is worked out any assistance and support required to meet these goals will be funded.
The plan will be developed through consultation with a planner, carers and the participant. Each individual plan will be designed to give people as much support as they need.
When does it start?
The scheme is being gradually rolled out across the country to make sure that people who need help in each area are properly looked after. Check https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites to see when your area will begin transitioning to the NDIS.
What does an NDIS plan cover?
The scheme provides support for services that disabled people require for living as normal a life as possible. This includes access to education, ways to increase independence, special transport needs and increased community engagement.
Costs that apply to everyday general living that are encountered by everyone are not covered. This means that groceries, rent and public transport (as well as anything else that is required by everyone) are not funded. Anyone who currently receives income support through Centrelink to help meet these costs will continue to do so, and anyone who needs income support will be able to apply for it.
Funding under an NDIS plan is based on what each individual needs – if their needs change or they meet their goals, a new plan will be developed.
How will funding be managed?
Participants will be able to choose how they want the funding for their supports to be managed when they meet their planner. After discussing which supports they need, they will also be able to choose who delivers those supports, as well as when and how they are delivered.
Participants will be able to choose to self-manage their budget if they wish to, managing and paying for the supports they need as they are needed. NDIS plans are meant to encourage as much independence as possible, so participants are given as much freedom in managing their funding as they wish.
Who is eligible?
Anyone who is an Australian citizen or resident, or holds a permanent visa, is eligible for NDIS support as long as they meet the criteria for disability or early intervention and are under the age of 65 at the time of their application, and will start once their NDIS plan is made.
Anyone who falls outside these eligibility guidelines who currently receives disability support will continue to receive it, and those over 65 will still be supported by the Commonwealth aged care system.
How are participants protected?
People receiving support under an NDIS plan will be protected to ensure privacy and safety. Support providers must prove that they have adequate systems and procedures in place to ensure quality and safe service.
Support providers are also subject to the same standards as any other business under Australian consumer law, meaning services must be provided with all necessary care and skill, and in a timely fashion.
All service providers must also screen anyone who is employed to work with an NDIS participant. This screening will include a criminal record and referee check. Any complaints about service providers or the NDIS generally can be made to the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) or your state Ombudsman.