Our advocates want to help you get the most out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), so they've come up with a list of five things to know when you're moving to the NDIS.
1. You should not be worse off under the NDIS
Your NDIS plan should provide the same or similar disability supports as you had before you were on the NDIS. For example, if you had funding for a support worker to assist you to go sailing in your Individualised Support Package (ISP), and you have included a goal about it in your NDIS plan, you should get the same assistance under the NDIS. There might be some things that you had before that the NDIS won’t fund, but you can ask for help from your Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator to find an alternative that offers a similar outcome for you.
2. The NDIS might pay for things that you have been paying for yourself
Some people have been paying for disability equipment or for a support worker with their own income because they didn’t have enough funding to cover it before. It is important to have a list of all disability-related expenses ready for your NDIS planning meeting and to tell the NDIS absolutely everything you need because of your disability.
3. You should have more choice about the supports you get with the NDIS
The NDIS is an opportunity to make new choices about who supports you and disability services are changing to make that easier. For example, if you have a friend that you like to go to AFL matches with, some services will match you up with a support worker who shares your interest in AFL. You can also choose your own Support Coordinator, maybe because they know a lot about your disability, or because they have specialist knowledge about something you need, like housing or getting a job. And, if you’re not happy with how your supports are working for you, you can choose different ones!
4. Services should help you achieve your goals, and be able to prove it
The NDIS expects that your service providers can demonstrate how they are helping you to achieve your goals, and so should you. For example, if your NDIS goal is ‘To build my skills to be as independent as possible at home and in my local neighbourhood’, the services you use should be able to show the NDIS how exactly they are doing that. If they don’t, it will be hard for the NDIS to see how the funding is helping you and might make it hard to get the funding you need the next year. Tracking progress against your goals is an essential part of having an NDIS plan.
5. It's a good time to try new things
The NDIS is about making life better and more interesting, not just about getting the same services or funding as you had before! You can get help from the NDIS to try new things, explore your interests and meet new people. VALID advocates have supported people in their NDIS planning meetings to include new things to try like volunteering at a sports club or signing up to an art class or a walking group, or even just to see family more often. The NDIS wants you to have more social and economic participation, so go for it!
For more information, or to get advocacy support you can email Sarah Forbes, or call our hotline on 1800 655 570 between 9am-5pm from Monday-Friday.
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