An NDIS Guide for parents in six steps
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) opens a new world of possibilities for families of children with a disability, by giving you more control and choice over your child’s supports.
Because navigating this new system can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming - especially for parents of children with a disability – we’ve created this simple, step-by-step guide to help.
NOTE: this guide applies to children over 7 years old. If your child is younger than this, they might be eligible for the NDIS’s ECEI program, click here to find out more.
Step 1: Get prepared
It’s important to prepare well for the NDIS. Here’s how:
- Check your child’s eligibility at www.ndis.gov.au and apply.
- Learn the basics about how the NDIS works and what it funds.
- Fill in our handy preparing checklist to determine what you want to get out of the NDIS.
- Organise a planning meeting with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC).
- Ask questions - either online or to an expert such as Plan Partners - to ensure you’re ready.
Step 2: Your NDIS planning meeting
Your planning meeting will examine your child’s needs and what’s included in their NDIS plan, so it’s important to get it right . Here’s how:
- Bring any supporting documents that will help you, such your preparing checklist.
- Bring a friend or someone you trust for moral support.
- Take plenty of notes throughout the meeting so you can refer to them later.
- Express your child’s needs and goals clearly. For example, 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 specifically ask for it.
- Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand anything or need some clarity.
- Click here if you'd like to know more about the structure of a planning meeting.
Step 3: Get to know your NDIS plan
After your planning meeting, you’ll receive your NDIS plan. If anything’s incorrect, now’s the time to get it fixed, so as soon as you get it:
- Check all the details to make sure everything’s correct and you’re happy with how the funds have been allocated.
- Contact your Local Area Coordinator and ask for a review if there are any issues. Click here to find out more about plan reviews.
Step 4: Organise your supports
Now you have your NDIS plan, it’s time to put it into action by finding the right service providers for your child’s situation and needs. It’s important to get this part right, so here’s some handy tips:
- Support Coordination can make finding the perfect provider a lot easier. If this is included in your child’s plan, contact a support coordinator, such as Plan Partners, to talk about how they can help. Click here to find out more about Support Coordination.
- Select your service providers, but be sure to do some research online or contact them first to see if they’re a good fit.
- Set up service agreements with your Service Providers. These are basically a simple contract confirming when the supports will be delivered and at what cost, ensuring you’re protected.
- Click here to find out more about organising your supports.
Step 5: Managing your finances
Once you’ve selected your service providers, your child can start receiving their supports. You’ll need to ensure their service providers are paid and manage your budget, so here’s some things to keep in mind:
- Plan Management can help you bring your child’s plan to life by taking care of the administrative burden and much more. If you have Plan Management included in your plan, contact Plan Partners to find out how we can help. Click here to find out more about Plan Management.
- Keep a record of all the supports your child receives
- Track your budget to ensure you don’t overspend. TIP: Plan Partners’ online Dashboard makes monitoring your budget simple!
Step 6: Your annual plan review
Each year, your NDIS plan will be reviewed to ensure it’s still suited to your child’s needs. As with your initial planning meeting, make sure to:
- Prepare in advance by making a list of the services your child has received, along with anything you want to change, and why.
- Be clear and explain the reasons behind your requests for the upcoming year.
- Click here to read more about your annual review.
For more information, check out our NDIS webpage. If you'd like some independent advice about your personal situation contact our friendly team on 1300 333 700 or leave your details here and we'll contact you.
This article was previously published in Source Kids Magazine Summer 2018.