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How to make the NDIS work for you - Rachel Capps

Updated 19 September, 2019
Rachel Capps, an NDIS participant, writing alongside her service provider.

Rachel Capps is a brain stem stroke survivor and Plan Partners customer who’s on the journey to walk and talk again. Following up on her book ‘Spades of Determination: A Locked-In Journey’, Rachel is now sharing her experiences with the NDIS  in a series of guest blog posts for Plan Partners.


Whether you’re new to the NDIS or have been a participant for some years, you might wonder: How can I make it work for me? How do I stop feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or even fed up?


Let me share with you some important lessons that I’ve learned along my journey, that can help you glean the most from your NDIS experience.


First things first, for those who are new to the scheme, burn into your mind this take on an old saying, ‘use funding or lose it’. And secondly, for every NDIS participant (if you haven’t already realised it), the most important thing about the NDIS is you.


Given the above, it therefore makes sense to know yourself inside and out … so, in turn, the NDIS can know you.


Question yourself. What do you want to do? Walk, talk, or simply hang out the washing? Know what items, small or big, could improve your independence. At home. Around the kitchen. In the laundry. In the car.


Know if, and for how long, you need a carer. Do you need personal care? Meals prepared? Justify it. If you have older children capable of helping you, understand the NDIS expects them to pull their weight. Therefore, the likelihood of showing justification decreases. Unfortunately, the family of NDIS participants don’t have the luxury of doing what they choose, they must help members of their family with a disability first, if they live locally.


Do you qualify for cleaning? What about garden maintenance? If you’re a wheelchair user and weight is a concern, perhaps you need a dietician? Is the cost of transport necessary to you?


Look into all avenues, enquire, speak/see an NDIS approved Occupational Therapist. Decide what could make your life easier. Then your approved Occupational Therapist can obtain and submit quotes to the NDIS.


Do the numbers. If you need a therapist every week, know how much that is going to cost over the course of a year? Better yet, obtain quotes. There’s no guarantee a quote will be read when first submitted to the NDIS, but if not, then apply for a review and draw their attention to it. Try again. 


All this extra work ultimately helps you.


The better you can state your goals in writing, goals that earn you greater independence, the better the NDIS knows how to respond to your needs. If you choose self-management, you’re on your own. But if you choose Plan Management, a Plan Manager can lend you their insight and expertise. They can help you articulate goals that the NDIS are more likely to approve. With Support Coordination, they can even help you organise that approved Occupational Therapist, and then help you obtain those supporting quotes.


Why is this important? Because without acceptable, recognised goals, the NDIS won’t acknowledge you have an approved goal. You have to remember, they’re managing thousands of people. They have to maintain a system they can work within, and that means stringent guidelines. Hence, if you word a goal incorrectly, even though it may be a valid goal, the weight of claims they manage means they must reject you. If this happens, request a review and try again. It’s a headache, but it’s always an option.


And so, the first thing we must understand, to better utilise NDIS, is ourselves.


Rachel has recently published her first book ‘Spades of Determination: A Locked-in Journey’ which tells her story of the long journey of rehabilitation and disability support after a brain stem stroke turned her life upside down.


Please note that the views expressed in this blog post are Rachel’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Plan Partners.



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