During the past few weeks, we’ve discussed National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) access and eligibility.
A question that frequently pops up from participants is ‘I’m in the NDIS – what’s next for me?’.
If a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) supported you to request access to the NDIS, the next step in the process is they will send you an invitation to a planning meeting with them.
During the planning meeting, the LAC will ask you questions, and they will consider your answers when building your funding request and writing your NDIS plan. The plan they draft will then be sent to an NDIS planner for consideration, and they will either approve it or recommend adjustments. Unlike a LAC, an NDIS planner is a person who works at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and is a delegated decision maker. LACs cannot approve an NDIS plan, but they can put forward recommendations in a draft.
After the planning meeting, the LAC and the NDIS planner will collaborate and discuss the information gathered, review progress reports, quotes, and recommendations, and the planner will determine plan funding.
You can contact your LAC before a planning meeting to ask them questions and ensure you have the right documentation.
If you requested access to the Scheme directly through the NDIA, and have not yet had a planning meeting, it may not be too late to contact a LAC.
To find your local LAC office, visit www.ndis.gov.au/contact/locations.
If you decide you don’t need a LAC to apply for access to the NDIS, that’s fine too! Once you’ve met access requirements, the NDIA will either allocate you to a LAC service (i.e. Baptcare), which will send you an invitation to your planning meeting, or you may be allocated directly to an NDIS planner.
If you are allocated to a LAC, you cannot opt out to work with an NDIS planner instead.
What to ask a LAC or planner in the lead up to a planning meeting
To help people to prepare and to get the best possible outcome from the NDIS, we asked Ruby – a coach in My Plan Manager’s Kinora community – for her tips on the best questions to ask a LAC or planner in the lead up to a planning meeting. Ruby was once a LAC herself.
Question: What do I need to bring to my planning meeting?
Why this question is important: The NDIA wants to see evidence of a participant’s progress towards their goals and evidence of their need for continued support. Detailed reports from an allied health professional, such as an occupational therapist, are important for this.
This information is needed for a first plan so that the planner or LAC is able to put the right supports in place, and it’s also important at the time of a plan review when the NDIS will need to see progress reports that show that a participant needs ongoing therapy to achieve their plan goals.
What to do next: Make sure you have your reports ready – if you have a LAC, you can even email these to them before the meeting.
Question: Can I bring a support person/people to the meeting?
Why this question is important: You may feel more comfortable with a support person or a couple of support people in your planning meeting. You can bring a family member, advocate, support coordinator or a provider with you. It is your choice!
What to do next: Once your planning meeting is booked, let your LAC or planner know who else will be attending.
Question: Will my meeting be face-to-face, virtual or over the phone?
Why this question is important: So you know how and where to join your planning meeting. There may be times – i.e. under COVID-19 restrictions – when face-to-face appointments may not be available.
What to do next: Be sure to lock in the details so you can show up on time and in the right place.
Question: What will happen in my planning meeting, and what kind of questions will I be asked?
Why this question is important: Accessing the NDIS can be daunting. Knowing what to expect from a planning meeting can help you to prepare and make it less stressful.
What to do next: Speak to your LAC or to the NDIS, and ask them to run through the planning meeting procedure with you.
Question: Are there any resources I can use to prepare for my meeting?
Why this question is important: Any preparation you can do (such as using the NDIS planning booklets that your LAC or the NDIS can provide) will make the process easier.
What to do next: Ask your LAC or the NDIS to direct you to available resources.
After your planning meeting, you will receive your NDIS plan. If you don’t agree with the funds that are in it, or if it doesn’t meet your needs, your LAC can support you with identifying your review rights and next steps. Or, here’s a breakdown of each review type, and how and when to request it: https://myplanmanager.com.au/not-happy-with-your-ndis-plan-heres-what-you-can-do-to-request-to-change-it/.
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