Carer and boy with disability


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a fantastic initiative of the Australian Federal Government. The NDIS sets out to overcome inequities and inefficiencies in the existing State based systems and it comes with an increase in total funding that is provided by everyday Australians through our tax system. It also comes with new systems, new processes and new terminology that can all be a bit overwhelming.

Let’s try to cut through some of that confusion. 

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is the source of funding for people with disability. Funds are made available through the tax system and allocated to people who qualify for access. The funds allocated to each individual vary according to that person’s need.

What is the NDIA?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is the independent statutory agency that was set up to implement and administer the NDIS. They are responsible, among other things, for approving all NDIS Plans.

What is an NDIS Access Request?

Before you can access the NDIS you may have to complete an Access Request form. You would need to attach evidence of your disability to the completed form so the NDIA can determine if you’re eligible to participate in the scheme. If you’re eligible you’ll be in line to receive an NDIS plan. Just when that happens will depend on where you live and your current circumstances as the NDIA are following a “rollout plan” across the country.

Note that if you’re already receiving supports under one of the State based systems the State Government may have already passed on your details to the NDIA. If you’re not sure we’d suggest you ring the NDIA to see if they have you in their system. If not, it’s important that you complete an Access Request to make sure you don’t miss out.

What is an NDIS Plan?

As a participant in the NDIS you will be provided with an NDIS plan. This is a plan specifically tailored to your circumstances and will outline the supports you need to meet your life needs and goals. The plan may include informal supports (such as family, friends and community groups) as well as NDIS funded supports.

Who Prepares My Plan?

Your plan will be developed by the NDIA in consultation with you. You will have a meeting where you discuss your goals and your support needs with a planner (either an NDIA employee or a “LAC” –see below). The planner will use the knowledge from this discussion to build a plan that helps you achieve your goals. You will review this plan together and you can ask for changes if you think you need them.

We strongly recommend that you do some “pre-planning” before you have your planning meeting. That is, collect information on your existing supports and evidence as to why you need those supports. Also think about your life goals. Will your existing supports allow you to reach your goals or do you need some different or additional supports?

What is a LAC?

LAC is an abbreviation for a Local Area Coordinator. Because making the NDIS available to every person in Australia with a disability is such a big job, the NDIA has had to appoint LAC’s to act as their representatives in completing some tasks. It is most likely that you will have your planning discussion with a LAC. The NDIS website has information on which organisations are providing this service in your area.

How do I Implement My Plan?

An important part of the planning discussion is when the NDIA Planner or LAC will ask you how confident you are about researching providers, making agreements with them and managing money. This is your chance to say you want to access a plan manager like Plan Management Partners. Any request you make for plan management funding should be honoured by the NDIA.

Saying you need “a little” or “a lot” of help with finding providers, making agreements and so on may lead to other funding being included in your plan for items like “Coordination of Supports” or “Service Intermediary Activities”.

Coordination of Supports is a special category of support. If you would like Plan Management Partners to provide this service you should make this known at your planning meeting. If you don’t nominate a particular service provider for this then the NDIA will recommend a provider using a random selection process.