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NDIS Frequently Asked Questions

Background

Click on the questions below to find the answer to frequently asked questions about the  NDIS.

NDIS FAQs

What do the terms NDIS and NDIA mean?

National Disability Insurance Scheme (or NDIS): Will provide insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant and/or lifelong disability. This national system of disability support will focus on the individual needs and choices of people with a disability.

National Disability Insurance Agency (or NDIA): Is an independent statutory authority charged with implementing the NDIS. It ensures registered providers meet required standards, assists people with disability to access the streamlined system through an online gateway or phone number, and works to build community awareness of the NDIS.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (or NDIS): Will provide insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant and/or lifelong disability. This national system of disability support will focus on the individual needs and choices of people with a disability.

National Disability Insurance Agency (or NDIA): Is an independent statutory authority charged with implementing the NDIS. It ensures registered providers meet required standards, assists people with disability to access the streamlined system through an online gateway or phone number, and works to build community awareness of the NDIS.

What is the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS)?

The National Injury Insurance Scheme is a smaller scheme that will provide lifetime care and support to people who acquire a catastrophic injury, such as a spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, severe burns or multiple amputations, after 1 July 2016.

People who already have a permanent and significant disability, such as a spinal cord injury, and are under 65 years will be supported through the NDIS. You can read more about the NIIS on our website.

Is the NDIS really here to stay and when will it start?

Yes, it is really going to be implemented. The NDIS received bipartisan support and is required by the law that created it, the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, to provide sustainable support over the lifetime of scheme participants. It will give you certainty that you will receive the support you need over the course of your whole lifetime, regardless of when the government changes.

The Queensland launch site is in North Queensland for:

  • individuals under 18 years in Townsville and Charters Towers
  • all eligible people on Palm Island.

The transition for 600 people in the launch site commenced from 1 April 2016 and for a further 1000 people from 1 July 2016. The NDIS will then be phased in for the rest of Queensland for everyone under 65 years of age. The phased implementation will take until 1 July 2019. Not everyone will transition at the same time.

What will the NDIS mean for me?

Under the NDIS we will work with you to identify supports you need to live your life. Supports may help you to become more independent and involved in your community, education, employment and general health and wellbeing.

The NDIS will give you more choice and control over how, when and where your supports are provided, and the certainty you will receive the support you need over your lifetime.

Qualifying

How can I qualify for the NDIS?

You need to meet the following requirements:

  • have a permanent and significant disability that affects your ability to take part in everyday activities
  • be aged less than 65 when you first access the scheme. You will be able to continue accessing the scheme after age 65
  • be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen who holds a Protected Special Category Visa
  • live in a trial site location (during the trial).

If you are over 65 when the NDIS starts and need support, the aged care system will be available for you.

I am not currently receiving support. What does the NDIS mean for me?

If you are not currently receiving support but feel you should under the NDIS, you may be able to apply. To find out if you can access services, go to the NDIS website for the eligibility criteria. You do have to be under age 65 when you first become a participant.

Will I be worse off after the NDIS starts? I have heard about ‘no disadvantage’ but I’m unsure what it means.

Nobody will be worse off. The government has committed to provide continuity of support to people with disability currently receiving services to ensure they are not disadvantaged in the transition to the NDIS.

‘No disadvantage’ is essentially the commitment that people who become participants in the NDIS should be able to achieve at least the same outcomes. However, this does not mean you will always have the same level of funding or supports provided in the same way.

Where the NDIS does not fund a support you previously received under another program, the NDIA will help you to find other supports so you can achieve similar outcomes.

How will I know when I can start accessing the NDIS?

Individuals who are already accessing specialist disability services (i.e. the individual has a funding package from Disability Services) are known to the Queensland government and will subsequently be contacted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to start working together to transition to the NDIS. Individuals who are already accessing Commonwealth funded supports (e.g. Home Support Program previously known as HACC/CACP) are not known by the Queensland government hence will need to initiate contact with the NDIA to transition to the NDIS.

Choices and the NDIS

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the NDIS?

Anyone with a disability, their families and carers can learn more about the NDIS and what it means by becoming involved in Participant Readiness activities like workshops, meetings, forums, online resources and home visits, coaching and mentoring.

The Queensland Government has funded 10 organisations to deliver Participant Readiness activities. Contact the organisations directly to find out how they can help you, or someone you know, learn more about the NDIS. Visit the Queensland Government website for a full list of resources.

Spinal Life Australia is also preparing a NDIS planning toolkit that will contain information and resources to assist you prepare for your first planning meeting. The toolkit will be ready in early 2016.

What options will I have to manage my plan?

You will have three options for plan management:

  1. Self-management. Under this option you will be responsible for:
    • sourcing, negotiating and coordinating supports
    • making timely payments to chosen providers
    • managing all plan expenditures and keeping records of all plan purchases – submitting “My Plan Purchases” forms to the NDIA
    • complying with legal industrial requirements if choosing to employ support workers
  2. Registered plan provider.
    • The plan provider works as a financial and/or supports coordination intermediary or you can share responsibilities.
  3. NDIA
    • The NDIA works as a financial and/or supports coordination intermediary or you can share responsibilities.

For more information, you can read our plan management fact sheet.

What are the choices I can make through the NDIS?

Through the NDIS, in addition to managing your budget, you can then choose:

  • who supports you, including carers from organisations such as Spinal Life Australia, through to family and friends as paid or unpaid carers
  • the types of support and services you would like to engage in
  • how and when you engage in these services, communities and networks, and
  • which organisations will help you fulfil your life goals.

What services and equipment will the NDIS provide?

The NDIS will provide funding for ‘reasonable and necessary’ support, services and equipment. There are guidelines around what can be funded through the scheme but the supports and services should help you to:

  • achieve your goals
  • do things on your own and become independent
  • develop skills for day to day living
  • take part in the community
  • work and earn money.

Specifically, the supports may include:

Daily living

  • Assistance with daily personal activities
  • Caring for dependents
  • Transport so you can participate in community, social, economic and daily life
  • Assistive seating and adapted chairs, and mobility equipment
  • Work based personal assistance
  • Assessments for aids and equipment, as well as set up and training
  • Home modification design and construction
  • Vehicle modifications

Around the house

  • House cleaning and similar domestic tasks
  • Meal planning, preparation and cooking
  • Delivered meals
  • Banking and shopping
  • Minor home and yard maintenance
  • Specialised equipment for household tasks

Recreation

  • Specialised sporting equipment or equipment modification
  • Personal assistance to participate in recreation activities
  • Assistance to travel to a recreation event

Health

  • Aids and equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and adjustable beds
  • Items such as prosthetics and artificial limbs
  • Allied health and other therapy, including physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy, where this is required as a result of an impairment
  • Continence products.

What does the NDIS consider to be ‘reasonable and necessary supports’ that will be funded?

 What does the NDIS consider to be ‘reasonable and necessary supports’ that will be funded?

‘Reasonable and necessary supports’ take into account any informal supports already available to you as well as formal supports that are able to be accessed from mainstream services, such as health, education, public transport and housing etc. Under the NDIS, mainstream services will become more inclusive to all people. ‘Reasonable and necessary supports’ enable you to:

  • pursue your goals, objectives and aspirations
  • increase your independence
  • increase your social and economic participation
  • develop your capacity to actively take part in the community (this may include offering supports to enable you to access mainstream services e.g. providing personal care to get ready to go to TAFE.

To be considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ a support must:

  • be related to your disability
  • not include day to day living costs that are not related to your disability support needs (e.g. groceries; paying electricity bills; doing a home renovation that is not related to your support needs etc)
  • represent value for money
  • be likely to be effective and beneficial to you
  • take into account informal supports given to you by families, carers, networks and community.

Examples include:

  • daily personal activities
  • household tasks
  • home modifications
  • allied health support
  • transport after taxi subsidies exhausted
  • vehicle modifications
  • mobility equipment
  • workplace support
  • garden maintenance
  • respite
  • continence products
  • assistive technology.

What supports are not funded under the NDIS?

A support will not be funded if it:

  • is not related to your disability
  • is the same as other supports delivered under different funding through the NDIS
  • relates to day to day living costs that are not related to your support needs or
  • is likely to cause harm to you or poses a risk to others.

Examples include:

  • day to day living costs, such as electricity
  • home renovations not related to your disability
  • white goods
  • vehicle modifications not related to your disability (e.g. mag wheels)
  • illegal substances, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

Our services and the NDIS

What are you doing to prepare for the NDIS?

Since the early 1990s we have advocated for appropriate supports and funding for people with a disability. We have appeared before key government inquiries including the 2006 Senate Inquiry into Disability Funding, and presented evidence at the 2010 Productivity Commission Inquiry which gave unanimous agreement that disability funding was inadequate.

In the lead up to the NDIS commencing in Queensland on 1 July 2016 we are fine tuning our systems and processes so that when the NDIS commences we can continue to provide the highest level of support and services to our clients.

We are appointing new staff who know about the NDIS. They will be available to:

  • support you with information on the NDIS and your eligibility
  • assist you with your planning and assessment.

We are also looking at ways in which we can utilise our more than 50 years’ experience supporting people with complex spinal injuries to provide our services to people with other physical disabilities.

I am an existing client of Spinal Life Australia. What will the NDIS mean for me?

You will be able to choose who you want to deliver the services and supports you decide you need. Our staff will be able to work with you and those closest to you to make the transition to the NDIS as seamless as possible. We will be able to assist you to:

  • understand the NDIS and find out if you meet the eligibility criteria
  • identify goals and aspirations that the NDIS will consider funding
  • prepare for your regular NDIS planner meeting.

Our services can be tailored to meet your individual needs and can change as your needs evolve. [return to top]

I am currently receiving support from another service provider. What will the NDIS mean?

The scheme will give you the control to choose what type of service support you would like, through developing an approved plan with NDIA. From there you may choose the types of services as well as the service providers who best suit your choices.

Popular questions

How will the aged care reforms and NDIS impact younger people receiving HACC services?

Some younger people with disability currently access Home and Community Care (HACC) services that are being transitioned to the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). Once the NDIS launch site kicks off in Queensland, the government will take a planned, phased approach to transitioning people across to the NDIS.

Part of the transition process will include having an assessment and planning conversation where the individual will receive ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports to participate socially and economically in their communities of choice. Accordingly, the individual will be transitioned to the NDIS and CHSP services will become obsolete.

More information on the aged care reforms is available here.

Am I eligible for the NDIS if I currently receive specialist disability services funding (a funding package) and turn age 65 by the time the NDIS commences in my geographical area?

No, you are not eligible for the NDIS as you are over 65 years of age. However, the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments through the ‘no disadvantage principle’ have agreed that people aged 65 and over who are currently receiving Queensland or National specialist disability supports and services, will continue to be provided with continuity of support that is consistent with their funding arrangements to achieve similar outcomes.

Am I eligible for the NDIS if I am 65 years of age when diagnosed with a disability?

No, you are not eligible for the NDIS as you are over 65 years of age. You will receive support from the Commonwealth Aged Care system.

I am currently on the Registration of Need (RON) register, however, I will turn age 65 by the time the NDIS rolls out in my geographical area. Will I still be eligible for the NDIS?

No, you are not eligible for the NDIS as you are over 65 years of age when the NDIS launches in your geographical area. You will receive support from the  Commonwealth Aged Care system.

Will I lose my Carers Allowance when my partner receives the NDIS funded plan?

Centrelink’s Carers Allowance (income supplement) is paid to a person who provides daily care and attention to someone in their own home. There is no income or assets test for the Carers Allowance, which is currently paid at a rate of $118.20/fortnight.

To receive the carers payment a recipient must demonstrate that they are providing ‘constant care’ which is, generally, provided on a daily basis for a ‘significant period’ during the day. This will not change under the NDIS.

Will NDIS funding impact the Disability Support Pension?

There are no changes to arrangements in relation to the Disability Support Pension as a result of the NDIS.

Will NDIS funding impact other income support payments?

No changes have been announced to other income supports and payments such as Carer Payment, Carer Supplement, Carers Allowance and the Child Disability Assistance Payment. Centrelink payments are outside and entirely separate to the NDIS