The Commonwealth Parliament passed the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 in March 2013. To learn more about the Act click here.
Before the announcement of the NDIS, funding was given directly to service providers who in turn provided support to people with disability. The control of how support was provided lay with the service providers. The NDIS is about giving the funding directly to the person with disability. They will be able to choose what services they need and how, when and where they are provided.
It is anticipated that 460,000 people will benefit from the NDIS by 2019 at a cost of $22 billion. This is double what is currently being spent on disability services. Like Medicare, it will funded by the Australian community.
The NDIS insurance approach is one that shares the cost of disability services and supports across the whole community. It is based on the principle that anyone is at risk of disability at any stage of their life. Therefore everyone should share the risk and responsibility of caring and supporting those who are born with, or acquire disability during their lifetime.
The NDIS is funded in part by increasing the Medicare levy by 0.5%. The money collected is being placed in a separate savings account for 10 years and can only be used for additional costs associated with funding for NDIS participants.
State and Territory governments are also gradually transferring their disability funding across to the Commonwealth. Disability funding will almost solely be the responsibility of the federal government by the time the NDIS is fully operational by 2019.
The job of changing from one system to another on such a large scale is enormous. It was decided that there would be a three-year trial period to test the new system and learn from early experiences and improve and strengthen its functions.
The NDIA manages the NDIS. It does this by:
The trials commenced in July 2013 in a number of different trial sites across Australia. The South Australian trial was state-wide and concentrated on children with disability from birth to 14 years of age.
From January 2017, the NDIS starts to become available to more people with disability in South Australia for 15 to 17 year old young people, followed by people aged 18 – 65 years (July 2017).
More information about when the NDIS will become available in your area can be found on the NDIS website or by clicking here.
People who are already receiving a service or funded activity will be the first ones to enter the NDIS.
Once the NDIS is fully operational it is anticipated that 32,300 South Australians with disability will be eligible for the NDIS.
To be eligible for the NDIS the person with disability must:
To find out more information on becoming an eligible participant you can:
The person has a disability that is likely to be permanent and significantly reduces their ability to function in one or more of the following activities:
The person’s disability can be intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical or a combination of more than one of these.
Examples of disability can include intellectual disability, genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), cerebral palsy, hearing and/or sight impairment and acquired brain injury.
A disability that is likely to vary in intensity or occurs episodically but is expected to continue over a person's lifetime, is considered to be permanent and significant. Examples include, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, muscular dystrophy and psychosocial disability (mental health issues).
Children up to six years of age diagnosed with developmental delay in more than one area may be able to access NDIS funding. The focus will generally be on specific therapies such as physiotherapy, speech pathology and occupational therapy which is aimed at improving a child’s functioning capacity.
Early intervention is also a term used under the NDIS for any person with disability when there is good evidence that an intervention would improve an area of functioning, or delay, or reduce a decline in functioning.
In conjunction with therapies, equipment, aids, specialised and behavioural interventions and home modifications may also be funded.
The NDIS Access check list will ask questions relating to the previous points identified as 1, 2, and 3. If a person with disability or their family carer answers yes to these, they can call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and ask for an Access Request form and linked information to prepare for registration with the NDIS.
More information about eligibility and access to the NDIS can be found here.
If a person is already receiving support or services from a disability service provider, they can request the provider's support in finding out more about how to access the NDIS.
The NDIS will fund things that are related to the person's disability that will increase their independence, enhance their quality of life and promote social and economic participation.
Things that the NDIS will pay for include:
The NDIA planner may also support people with disability to connect with mainstream services. The NDIS does not replace services and supports already accessible via mainstream services.
Things that the NDIS will not pay for include:
More information about reasonable and necessary support can be found here.
The NDIS is NOT means tested and does not affect a person's Disability Pension. If a carer is receiving a carer's payment this is also not affected unless their caring role is substantially reduced due to NDIS funding for the person they are caring for.
The NDIA has developed a number of resources to assist people with disability and their families to prepare for the NDIS. These can be found at: www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-ready or by contacting them on 1 800 800 110.
If a person is eligible for the NDIS, a planner will contact them or their carer or nominated person (depending on individual circumstances) to set up a time to meet and develop the first plan.
One of the most important parts of the NDIS process is the pre-planning activity. Being well prepared for the meeting with a NDIA planner will enable the person with disability and their family carers to be clear about what they want and need today and into the future.
Things that are essential before meeting with a planner:
The NDIA can also send out a worksheet to assist in the pre-planning process.
The NDIA has also created a number of template forms which may also be beneficial to people with disability and their family carers. These are available at: www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-ready or by contacting the NDIA on 1 800 800 110.
The NDIS plan is for 12 months. While it can be reviewed at any time if there is a significant change to a person's circumstances. For any planning meeting or review, it is important to be fully prepared.
People who may be present at the planning meeting will include the planner, the person with disability and family carers (if appropriate). If the planning meeting is for a child, the child many not always attend and this will be at the discretion of the family carers.
Planning meetings can be stressful for some people, particularly if they have not been part of such a process before. Therefore it is often a good idea to have a support person/advocate attend the meeting with them. The support person may also take notes of the meeting on behalf of the person with disability and/or family carer.
The NDIS plan may take some time to get right and this will depend on the person's disability and their support requirements. The planner will take into account the person's informal supports (family and friends) and access to mainstream services.
Each NDIS participant will have their own plan which reflects their needs and may look quite different from another person's plan, even though they may have similar disabilities.
The plan will set out agreed goals, what supports will be funded and how much money will be provided. The completed plan may include:
It will also state when the plan will be reviewed.
Once the person with disability and/or their family/carer is satisfied with the content of the draft plan it can be signed and returned to the NDIA. The next step is putting the plan into action.
A number of options are available to the NDIS participant and/or their family carer about how to manage the plan.
Financial management options are:
The Managing Your Plan section on the NDIS website outlines the various options available to people with disability and their family carers.
This can be found here.
The NDIS is primarily for people with significant and permanent disability. Family carers receive no funding in their own right unless it is to improve their ability to support a family member with disability.
When preparing for the NDIS planning meeting, it is worth putting together a Carer's Statement which outlines:
The Carer's Statement allows the carer to state what support they may need.
For carers supporting a family with psychosocial disability (mental illness) a useful resource is the Guide for Mental Health Carers on the National Disability Insurance Scheme which can be found at the Mental Health Australia www.mhaustralia.org and Carers Australia www.carersaustralia.com.au websites.
Things that may be funded for carers include:
It is also worthwhile to keep a note book close by while you are waiting to meet or speak with the planner and jot down your daily routines and caring responsibilities. It is often difficult to remember all the things you do each and every day because it is something that you just do!
Depending on the circumstances, a carer can request a separate meeting with the planner. This can be either a face-to-face meeting or via a phone call.
Family carers of children and young people up to 18 years of age are considered their legal guardians. After a person’s 18th birthday, they are considered by law to be able to make decisions on their own behalf. A nominee will only be appointed if it is not possible for a person with disability to make decisions for themselves.
There are two types of nominees:
Nominees may be appointed at the request of the person with disability, or by the Chief Executive Officer of the NDIA.
There may be times when a person with disability and/or their family member(s) do not agree with what is in a plan. There are a number of things that can be done to appeal a decision.
The person with disability and/or their family carer(s) can receive support with this process from the External Review Service provided by to the Brain Injury Network of SA.
This service is a free service that helps people who have grievances with the decisions made by the NDIA. This service also provides impartial and confidential help and can also assist once an appeal has been lodged with the AAT.
Brain Network Network can also provide advocacy and support at the internal review stage.
More information can be found on the Brain Injury Network of SA website at: www.binsa.org.au or follow the link: www.braininjurysa.org.au/support-and-services/external-merits-review-support-service
Contact can be made by calling on 08 82177600 and country callers on 1300 733049.
The NDIS website has a number of publications and fact sheets for people with disability, family carers and guardians. These can be found at: