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Getting Started with the NDIS

What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australian government initiative aimed at providing support to Australians with disabilities, their families, and carers. Launched in 2013, the NDIS is designed to help people with disabilities achieve their goals, such as greater independence, community involvement, and improved well-being.

Key points about the NDIS


It is available to Australian citizens, permanent residents, or those on certain visas, who have a significant and permanent disability between the ages of 7 up to 65.


Participants receive individualized funding packages to purchase supports and services that help them achieve their goals.

Choice and Control

Participants have the flexibility to choose providers and control how their funds are spent.

Support Categories

The NDIS covers a range of supports including personal care, transport, therapy, and assistive technologies.

How to get started with the NDIS

Check Your Eligibility

First, you need to determine if you or the person you’re supporting is eligible. You can check this on the NDIS website or by contacting them directly.

Apply For The NDIS

If eligible, you can apply to become a participant. This involves filling out an Access Request Form. You can do this online, over the phone, or by visiting an NDIS office. You’ll need to provide evidence of your disability, such as medical reports.

Have A Planning Meeting With The NDIS

Once your application is approved, you’ll be invited to a planning meeting with an NDIS planner or a Local Area Coordinator (LAC). To prepare, think about your goals and the types of support you need. It can be helpful to bring along any relevant documents or assessments.

Develop Your Plan With A NDIS Planner

During the meeting, you’ll work with the planner to develop your NDIS plan. This plan outlines your goals and the supports and services funded by the NDIS.

Implement Your Plan

Once your plan is approved, you can start using your funding to access supports and services. You can choose your providers and manage your budget, either independently, with help from a plan manager, or through the NDIA.

Review and Adjust

Your plan will be reviewed periodically to ensure it meets your needs. You can request a review if your circumstances change.

How to have a Support Coordinator help you?

Include Support Coordination in Your Plan

During your planning meeting, discuss your need for a support coordinator with your NDIS planner or LAC. Explain how having a support coordinator will help you achieve your goals and manage your NDIS plan effectively. If approved, funding for support coordination will be included in your plan.

Choose a Support Coordinator

Once you have funding for support coordination, you can choose a support coordinator. You can find support coordinators through the NDIS Provider Finder tool on the NDIS website, or get recommendations from your LAC, friends, or community networks. It’s important to choose someone who understands your needs and can work well with you.

Engage with the Support Coordinator

Contact the support coordinators you’re interested in and discuss their services. Once you’ve chosen one, you’ll need to formally engage them. This usually involves signing a service agreement that outlines the services they will provide and how they will be delivered.

Work with Your Support Coordinator

Your support coordinator will help you understand and implement your NDIS plan, connect with service providers, and build your capacity to manage your plan independently over time. They can assist with coordinating services, navigating the NDIS system, and ensuring that your supports are effective and meet your needs.

What is the criteria for providing support coordination funding?

Complex Needs

Participants with complex needs or who require assistance navigating multiple services may be more likely to receive support coordination.

Capacity Building

If a participant needs help building their ability to manage their own supports and services, support coordination may be included to help develop these skills.

Change in Circumstances

Participants experiencing significant changes in their life, such as a new diagnosis or a change in living arrangements, may require support coordination to help manage the transition.

Vulnerable Situations

Participants who are in vulnerable situations, such as those with limited informal supports or who are at risk of harm, may also be considered for support coordination.

What language to use in your planning meeting to request support coordination?

Highlight Complexity

Emphasize the complexity of your needs and how support coordination will help manage them.

“Due to the complexity of my needs, I require support coordination to effectively manage my various services and supports.”

Explain Capacity Building

Explain how support coordination will help you build your capacity to manage your NDIS plan in the future.

“I need assistance with building my skills to independently manage my supports. Support coordination will provide me with the guidance and education necessary to achieve this.”

Detail Changes or Transitions

If you’re experiencing significant changes, describe how support coordination will help you navigate these transitions.

“I am currently going through a major transition in my life, and support coordination is essential to help me adjust and ensure my supports are effectively coordinated.”

Describe Vulnerability

If you’re in a vulnerable situation, explain how support coordination will provide the necessary support and stability.

“Given my limited informal support network, having a support coordinator is crucial to ensure I receive the appropriate services and reduce my risk of harm.”

Provide Specific Examples

Use specific examples to illustrate your needs.

“For instance, I have difficulty coordinating appointments with multiple service providers, which often leads to missed appointments and gaps in my care. A support coordinator will help streamline this process.”

Link to Goals

Connect support coordination to your personal goals and outcomes.

“One of my goals is to become more independent in managing my daily activities. Support coordination will help me achieve this by providing tailored assistance and linking me to the right resources.”