One of the most important things you can equip yourself with throughout your NDIS journey is evidence. By providing good supporting evidence, you’ll have a better chance of getting the right supports for your situation and enough funding in your NDIS plan to achieve your goals and live the life you want. Not all evidence is created equally though, so let’s explore what we mean when we talk about “good evidence”.
Why is evidence so important?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an evidence-based program. This means that whenever the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) makes any decision about your funding or the supports you can access, it’s based on available evidence.
Evidence is important at all stages of your NDIS journey. Whether you’re applying to join the Scheme or have a plan review, if you can provide good evidence, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want.
What makes evidence 'good'?
When we talk about good evidence, we really mean evidence that will help the NDIA help you.
Your NDIS plan and funding is based on many factors, but one of the most important is the impact that your disability has on your day-to-day life. Because the NDIA can’t spend weeks observing you to understand the supports you require, they rely on written reports from healthcare professionals and others close to you.
But as you can imagine, capturing all the complexities of your disability and how it impacts your daily functioning in a single report is a tricky task. Good evidence does just that, making it easy for the NDIA to get a sense of your life to give you an NDIS plan with the appropriate funding.
Our tips for good evidence
How can you convey the full extent of your disability to someone who will only have a short amount of time to read your report and make an assessment? Here are some of our team’s top tips to help ensure the NDIA will be able to quickly get their head around your evidence and (hopefully) give you a plan you’re happy with.
1. Use a recent report
Because support needs can change over time, it’s important that your health assessment report is as current as possible. A recent report will allow the NDIA to understand what level of funding and supports you’ll need for the near future. If your report’s too out of date, the NDIA might not even consider it. That’s why we strongly suggest that you get a new assessment done every time you’re due for a plan review.
2. Lead with the most important information
All sections of your health assessment report should have the most important information at the start. Because your report will be read by a busy NDIA staff member, you don’t want them to accidentally overlook the things that best show the impact your disability has. An example of this would be putting the level of support you require right at the start of the section on your disability and its impact, not buried in the middle.
3. Use standardised tools to justify the levels of support
While it’s almost impossible to capture the full scope of your disability and its impact, standardised assessment tools make the job a bit easier. These tools quantify the impact of your disability by giving scores, which means the NDIA don’t have to interpret – and potentially misunderstand – things as much. Your healthcare professional can take this further by writing a short but clear breakdown of each tool’s results.
4. Recommend NDIS funded supports
Having a professional who really understands the NDIS can make a huge difference, as they’re able to explicitly recommend funded supports based on your assessment. Again, this comes down to minimising the opportunities for the NDIA misunderstanding the full extent of your disability and the many complex ways it can affect your daily life. Stating the supports you require and then justifying each with the relevant results from the report makes life easier for the NDIA – which is always a good thing and can help you get the plan you need.
5. Make the important stuff stand out
It’s easy to overlook simple things like formatting, but it can make a huge difference in making sure the NDIA notices the important bits. Bolding or underlining the key recommendations, statistics, or results, helps them stand out amongst the rest of the long report. Remember, it’s a real person reading the report, so you want to make it easy for them to understand and come to the same conclusion as your healthcare professional.