The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) opens up a whole new world of possibilities for people with a disability. But navigating it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. To help you prepare and get the most out of the NDIS, we’ve created this simple step-by-step NDIS guide. Want to learn more about each step? Just download our very handy eBook 'Bringing your NDIS plan to life'.
Click on the figures to read our tips & tricks for each step.
Step 1: Get Prepared
Before you begin, it’s important to get clued up on how the process works and what’s expected of you. Here’s how.
- Check if you’re eligible at www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-i-eligible and apply by following the instructions.
- Learn the basics about what the NDIS can fund and how it works. The NDIS website is a great place to start.
- Start your planning. Don’t wait until your first meeting to think about what you want. Start now by using our simple checklist.
- Set a date. Organise a meeting with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) for the NDIS. A face-to-face meeting is always best, if possible.
- Ask for help from the friendly Plan Partners team at any time.
Step 2: Go to your NDIS planning meeting
Your NDIS planning meeting with your Local Area Coortdinator is your one opportunity to make clear what you need and want in the upcoming year. What you discuss in this meeting will be what goes to the NDIS planner to consider to include in your plan. So it’s very important to make sure your needs are heard. Here’s how:
- Read this blog about what happens during a planning meeting.
- Bring your checklist and any supporting documents to the meeting so you can refer them if you need to.
- Ask a friend or someone you trust to come along for support.
- Take notes so you can check things later.
- Express your needs and your goals in life clearly so that your Local Area Coordinator knows exactly what you want in your plan. If you’d like to include Plan Management (support with managing your NDIS funds) or Support Coordination (support with finding and connecting you with the right service providers) make sure you ask for it. Everyone can have Plan Management, but not everyone is eligible for Support Coordination.
- Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions if anything is unclear.
Step 3: Get to know your NDIS plan
Once you get your draft NDIS plan, it’s up to you to look through it carefully and check that it’s right.
- Check all the details. Make sure all details are correct and you’re happy with how your funds have been allocated.
- Contact your Local Area Coordinator and ask for a review if there are any issues with your plan. Here’s how to request a review with the NDIS.
- Let your existing service providers know that you’ve received your plan.
Step 4: Organise your NDIS finances
Over the course of your NDIS journey you’ll need to ensure your service providers are being paid in time and keep track of the progress of your funding. If you’ve chosen to include Plan Management in your NDIS plan, it’s now time to get your Plan Manager on board to help you manage your NDIS finances.
- Select and contact a Plan Manager. Plan Partners is an experienced and independent Plan Manager, so contact us if you’d like to know more about how it all works.
- Set up a service agreement with your Plan Manager. This is a legal agreement which describes how and when the support will be provided.
Step 5: Organise your supports
Finding the right providers is another very important part of the NDIS. Think about your options carefully and make sure your chosen providers are the right fit for your situation and needs.
- Select and contact a Support Coordinator if Support Coordination is part of your plan. Plan Partners is an experienced and independent Support Coordinator.
- Choose your service provider(s). If you are already receiving supports, you can stay with the providers you have, or choose new ones. If you want to change providers, or you need a new service, spend some time researching to find the right provider in your area before you make a final decision.
- Set up service agreements with your Service Providers. These confirm when the support will be provided, the costs and the fees you need to pay. Make sure you’re happy with them before signing!
Step 6: Track the progress of your plan
Now you’ve completed all the planning and organising, it’s time to receive your supports and start enjoying the improvements they bring. You’ll need to keep a record of all the supports you receive and when they’re delivered, and - most importantly - keep track of your budget.
Now your planning is done, it’s time to receive your supports and start enjoying the improvements they bring. But don’t forget to:
- Keep a record of all the supports you receive and when you receive them.
- Most importantly, keep track of how your budget is being spent. If you’ve selected Plan Management with Plan Partners, you will get your own online dashboard to keep an eye on your budget with ease.
- Let us know if you have any questions about the way your plan is being managed.
Step 7: Your annual plan review
Each year, you’ll have the chance to meet with your Local Area Coordinator, review your plan, give feedback and make any changes you want. Here’s how to make the most of that meeting:
- Prepare in advance. Think about what you would like to talk about in your review meeting and make a list of anything you want to change, and why. It is a good idea to use our preparing checklist again.
- Be clear about your needs. It’s important to ask clearly for what you want. If you want Plan Management, remember to ask for it as it won’t be included unless you do. The same is true for Support Coordination – if you need it, you have to ask for it and explain why you still need it.
- Contact our team if you have any questions about your review or what to expect. Learn more about making the most of your annual review.