What is the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a scheme aimed to provide funding for supports and services to individuals who have a permanent and significant disability. By 2018 the NDIS will be rolled out across NSW.
You are eligible for the NDIS if you:
- Have a permanent disability that significantly affects your ability to take part in everyday activities or a developmental delay. To meet the NDIS disability rules you need to have an impairment or condition that is likely to be permanent (lifelong) and that stops you from doing everyday things by yourself. This includes conditions which can vary in intensity, such as mental illness.
- Be aged less than 65 when they first enter the NDIS;
- Be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa.
Local Area Coordinators
For most people aged seven and above, a Local Area Coordinator working for one of the NDIS partners will be your main contact point for the NDIS.
In NSW the partners delivering LAC services are:
- Uniting – covering Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Southern NSW, Illawarra Shoalhaven
- St Vincent de Paul Society NSW– covering South Western Sydney, Central Coast, Hunter New England, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney
- Social Futures – covering Far West, Murrumbidgee, Mid North Coast, Northern NSW and Western NSW
Contact the NDIS
- Phone: Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, 1800 800 110
- Email: email@example.com
- Translating & Interpreting: for free of charge translator or interpreter ph. 1800 800 110
- National Relay Service: ph. 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 800 110
- Postal Address: National Disability Insurance Agency
- GPO Box 700 Canberra ACT 2601
If you are not happy with the NDIS, you can make a complaint:
- I am not happy with the provider of my disability supports – contact the NSW Ombudsman. 1800 451 524, firstname.lastname@example.org, ombo.nsw.gov.au
- I am not happy with the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIS) actions – contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. 1300 362 072. email@example.com, http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/
- I am not happy with a product or service I bought – contact NSW Fair Trading. 13 32 20, https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/
- Complain to the NDIS:
- Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post your form to: National Disability Insurance Agency, GPO Box 700, Canberra ACT 2601
- Drop your form off at any NDIS office – find your nearest office here
- Ring the NDIS on 1800 800 110
- Speak directly to your Local Area Coordinator (LAC)
- Contact the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission: 1800 035 544
What about carers?
Carers can, with the participant’s consent:
- Contribute information and evidence to the assessment process
- Support the participant in developing their plan
- Participate in and contribute to the planning process
- Have what they do as an ‘informal support’ reflected in the plan
- Communicate their own needs and limitations
- Request support to sustain them in their caring role
- have an NDIS plan in their own right
- receive funded supports in the participant’s plan that do not relate directly to the participant
How does a carer/parents advocate for someone who has a diagnosed enduring mental illness, doesn’t live with them but seeks their continual support?
- The carer can be considered in the planning process whether or not they live with the participant.
Ways the carer could have input could include:
- Discussing with the participant the importance of including the support they provide in the plan
- Offering to attend the planning session with the participant
- Providing a carer statement
Mental health carers may like to consider:
- talking with the person they care for about why their involvement is important
- making an agreement about how they will be involved
- making a plan for when the person they care for is unwell
- letting the NDIA know about any formal or informal agreements or plans that have been made about their involvement
- getting support from a mental health or advocacy organisation
Most aspects of carer involvement in the NDIS are contingent on the participant’s consent.
- The NDIS assumes that participants can make decisions about their own lives and aims to support them to do this wherever possible.
- If participants need support making decisions, a nominee may be appointed to support them with decisions, to whatever degree is deemed to be appropriate.
- A carer can apply for the NDIS on a person’s behalf if they require assistance.
- However, if the person refuses to participate in the planning process, and does not consent to the carer participating, or refuses to receive supports set out in the plan, the carer’s influence may be limited.
- As carers cannot get support from the NDIS in their own right, refusal to participate will mean the carer will not benefit from the NDIS.
Types of carer support
The types of supports that the NDIS may fund that may have direct or indirect benefits for you as a carer include:
- personal care to support an individual in their home or the community
- supports to assist people with disability to enjoy social and community interaction without relying solely on you
- assistance with tasks of daily living, including help to improve a person’s ability to do things
- supported employment services and help for people to move to work programs that prepare people with disability for work
- Training related to the caring role that may enhance your ability to provide care.
- Supports that maintain a carer’s health and wellbeing will also be considered. This support may include participation in a support group or a special interest network. In deciding whether to fund or provide a support, the NDIA will take account of what it is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide.
- Family support and counselling
- Building the skills and capacity of the other family members to manage the impact of a participants disability on family life
- Requesting a support worker to be included on family outings to provide assistance and guidance for the person with the disability.
What about if I am caring for a young child?
Children under 7 follow a different pathway into the NDIS. The first point of contact is an Early Childhood Partner organisation in the local community who will link them to early intervention support for their needs. Young children will only receive an NDIS funding package if they need ongoing support.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers and the NDIS
Carers NSW have a range of resources designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and their families and carers understand the NDIS.
The Australian Government has a section dedicated to information for Aboriginal people with disability, their families, carers and communities about the NDIS.
The NDIS has also created a NDIS planning workbook for Indigenous Australians.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Carers and the NDIS
Carers NSW have a range of fact sheets about the NDIS in a number of languages other than English. You can view the fact sheets on the website here. The NSW Government have a range of resources about the NDIS available in languages such as Arabic, Greek, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese here.
The NDIS website is also available in languages other than English, such as Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan, Vietnamese, and French. You can choose from these languages on the NDIS website here.
Ethics Community Services Cooperative have information on helpful words to use when accessing the NDIS for individuals from multicultural communities in a range of languages here.
The Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association is the
peak body for all people in NSW with disability and their families and carers,
with particular focus on those from a culturally and linguistically diverse/non
English speaking background with disability.
P: 1800 629 072
Settlement Services International have created a Multilingual Disability Hub with information on the NDIS in a range of languages. You can access the Hub here.
My Choice Matters Planning tools in preparation for the NDIS produced by the New South Wales Council for Intellectual Disability. Available in Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
If you need help contacting the NDIS if English is not your first language, you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Carers Australia, Carers NSW and a range of other organisations have developed a range of resources designed to help families and carers communicate with the NDIS about psychosocial disability.
- Completing the access process for the NDIS – tips for communicating about psychosocial disability
- NDIS Carer Checklist to prepare for the NDIS assessment and planning meetings: The Carer Checklist can help you think about the type of care and support you currently provide for the person you care for and may help you consider all aspects of the person with disability’s needs. This document is useful in helping you prepare for the planning meeting and can be provided to the planner.
- Emotional and practical considerations of succession planning and the NDIS: this can provide additional support with NDIS pre-planning activities in helping carers to identify where they and the person they can for, may require support into the future.
- Carers NSW checklist for families and carers who provide regular support to a person with a disability living in NSW.
- Mental health and the NDIS – psychosocial disability
- Reimagine Website: This website is designed for people living with a mental health condition to better understand the NDIS and what supports and services it can offer. The information on this website is also for friends, family members and carers to assist them to support someone living with a mental health condition. This website was co-designed with the Mental Health Coordinating Council and people living with mental health conditions and their support networks.
As a carer, you have the option to submit a Carer Statement or request a separate interview to support the person you care for during the planning meeting. This could be particularly important for carers of people with psychosocial disability. It can provide additional insight into the impact a person’s mental health condition has on their ability to participate in everyday activities and on the wellbeing of the family.
A carer statement (in written or verbal form) may include:
- How the caring role affects you
- Whether you are able and willing to keep caring for the person with disability in the same way into the future, and what the impact of your caring role has on your own personal needs and goals, (for example – work; study; travel; social, cultural or religious engagement activities )
- Other informal supports the person with disability has, such as family or friends
- Any other information that would be important for the NDIA to know when assessing supports required.
Some carer statement examples have been developed for your reference:
What happens if my or my loved ones application for the NDIS is rejected, or I am not happy with my NDIS plan?
You can submit a request for an internal review of the decision to the NDIS.
The NDIS website has a section dedicated to reviewing any decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency called ‘How to review a planning decision’ here.
Disability Advocacy have created a guide called ‘NDIS Help – ‘I Can’t access the NDIS, what do I do?’ which is a short simple to read guide.
If you have been denied access to the NDIS and would like assistance from an advocacy service, you can find an advocacy service near you by using the Disability Advocacy Finder website here.
Alternatively, you can contract Disability Advocacy: http://da.org.au/
P: 1300 365 085
Disability Advocacy helps people of all ages with any type of disability or mental illness get fair treatment in the Hunter, New England, Mid North Coast, Central West, West, Far West, Central Coast and Hawkesbury-Nepean regions of NSW.
NDIS and Evidence
To access the NDIS you have to evidence that you have a psychosocial disability.
Psychosocial disability are impairments and participation restrictions related to mental health conditions e.g. cognitive and behavioural impairments/difficulties, social and economic participation restrictions/barriers.
This could be:
- Frequent hospitalisation for mental illness, or current/recent history of
- Being on the caseload of public mental health services
- Minimal employment in recent years
- Poor physical health
- Insecure housing
- Extreme social isolation
- Insecure/non-existent informal carer support
What forms of evidence can be used in an NDIS application?
- Treatment plans
- Discharge summaries
- Carer statements
- Consumer impact statements
- Support worker statement
- Occupational therapist reports
- Neurological tests
- Diagnosis and treatment is helpful but not a requirement of the NDIS Act 2013, rather, that it is a permanent and significant disability. A permanent disability means your disability is likely to be lifelong. A significant disability has a substantial impact on your ability to complete everyday activities.
Keep gathering evidence and keep applying for the NDIS, even if your application has been denied. You may need to gather more evidence around your application, such as a primary carer statement, or letters and information from your doctor or treating team.