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About the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is how the Australian Government is now delivering support for people with a permanent and significant disability. The scheme is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS will provide all Australians under the age of 65 who have a permanent and significant disability with access to supports they need to live the life they choose. Each person receives an individual amount of funding and is then able to choose where they wish to purchase their supports.


The process explained

This section gives you more detail around the process, there is an easy to follow step by step guide towards the end of the document.

Note: You can apply to enter the NDIS six months prior to the Scheme rolling out in your area. It can take 6-12 months for an eligible person to enter the NDIS once it starts in your area.

Step1 – Determining Eligibility

There are some eligibility criteria you need to meet, in order to access the NDIS:

Age – If you are under 65 years of age

Residency – If you live in Australia and are an Australian citizen, or you have paperwork that gives you permission to live her permanently

Disability – If your disability is likely to be permanent and significantly impacts on how you manage your everyday activities

Contact the NDIA to discuss your interest in participating in the NDIS. They can check to see if you are already in their system. If you are in their system they will inform you of what you need to do next. If you are not in their system they will ask you a few questions to determine if you are eligible for the NDIS. If you are eligible they will send out an Access Request Form.

Vision Australia can discuss/assist you with this. Contact your local Centre, as noted above, or our Helpline service on 1300 887 058

Step 2 – Completing an Access Request form

If you meet the above eligibility criteria, you need to request an ‘Access Request Form’ directly from the NDIA by calling 1800 800 110.

Complete your Access Request Form with as much detail and evidence as you can supply about your disability, i.e. eye reports, letters from your specialist etc.  Our Service Engagement Consultants are happy to assist you with this if required. Once the forms are complete return them to the NDIA.

Once you have returned your completed ‘Access Request Form’, the NDIA will contact you to schedule a time for a planning meeting. A planning meeting is your opportunity to tell the NDIA what supports or services you would like in order to assist you to live the life you choose.

It is important to note that for people who have previously accessed State Government Funding, they will not need to complete an Access Request Form as they have already been transitioned into the NDIS scheme. In this case the NDIA will contact you directly by phone or letter or both. If you are unsure you can check with the NDIA by calling 1800 800 110 and they can advise you, or you can speak with your local Vision Australia office or Service Engagement Consultant to discuss the option of pre-planning outlined below.

Step 3 – Pre Planning (optional)

At Vision Australia we have Service Engagement Consultants (SEC’s) available to assist you in preparing for your planning meeting with the NDIA.

Our staff will help you prepare by discussing your goals and aspirations, the supports and services you currently receive, and those you would like to receive. We call this a pre-planning meeting, after which staff can compile a summary outlining your discussion that you can take with you to your planning meeting with the NDIA. It is up to you whether you’d like a pre planning meeting with us.

Step 4 – NDIA planning

At your planning meeting, the NDIA will document all the supports you currently receive, as well as any gaps or unmet needs, and your goals or aspirations for the future.

You can take anyone you like along to your planning meeting, including someone from Vision Australia if you choose to support you. The NDIA might ask you to have this meeting over the phone; however you may also request a face to face meeting at the NDIA or in your home, where you can have a support person with you if you choose.

The NDIA Local Area Coordinator will contact you to advise of the outcome and a paper copy of the plan will be posted out to you.

Your first plan may include:

  • The Informal supports you receive from family and friends,
  • The Community and the Mainstream supports you receive from different support services and community organisations.
  • Reasonable and Necessary supports, these are the supports that the NDIA agree to fund based on the information you have provided them with. They are the things that you require to meet your immediate needs as well as to start achieving your goals and aspirations.

Once finalised, your first plan will provide you with details about the funding that has been allocated to you as an individual.  You then get to choose where to spend this funding for supports that you need.

Step 5 – NDIA Plan Implementation

Your approved plan will be provided to you during a Plan Implementation Meeting with your NDIA Local Area Coordinator. If you would like the support of a Vision Australia Service Engagement Consultant at this meeting, don’t hesitate to request this.

Your first plan will be in place for 12 months.  This will give you time to think about how these supports are working for you, to explore options getting involved with or accessing your local community and what you might need for your next plan, to help you continue achieving your goals in the future.

5 steps summarised:

  1. Call the NDIA on 1800 800 110 (8am – 11pm) to confirm your eligibility
  2. Complete your Access Request Form with as much detail and evidence as possible. Wait for further contact from NDIA to confirm you have been successful & are now a ‘participant’ in the scheme.
  3. (Optional) Contact your local Service Engagement Consultant at Vision Australia for a pre-planning session to prepare for your planning meeting with the NDIA.
  4. Attend a planning meeting with your NDIA Local Area Coordinator to discuss your needs, goals and aspirations. Following this meeting, you will need to wait for your plan to be approved.
  5. Attend a plan implementation meeting with your NDIA Local Area Coordinator to discuss your approved plan and start choosing where to purchase your supports.


Glossary of Terms

Service Engagement Consultant (SEC) Vision Australia employs Service Engagement Consultants who are specialised in supporting people to connect with and utilise the NDIS

Local Area Coordinator (LAC) – a Local Area Coordinator is a NDIA employee who will help you to understand and access the scheme, create your first plan and put it into action, and then review it

Supports – Supports refer to services that a person may need to assist them with achieving their goals

Plan – A Plan is a document developed between NDIA and a person with a disability; it details the funding and supports allocated to a person to assist them with achieving their goals

Informal Supports Informal supports are not funded by NDIS. They refer to people or groups that support a person in their daily life, e.g. parent or other family member, neighbour, friends, etc.

Community and Mainstream Supports – Community or mainstream supports are not funded by NDIS. They refer to professional people or groups that support a person in their daily life, e.g. GP or other medical specialist, sporting club, art class, gym membership, etc.

Reasonable & Necessary Supports – Reasonable and necessary supports are funded by the NDIS. They refer to professional people or groups that support a person with overcoming barriers specifically related to their disability that impact their goal achievement in daily life; for example orientation and mobility specialists, assistive technology training, support groups for building confidence or strategies for independence, amongst other professional services that enable a person to achieve their desired level of independence.

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