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NDIS frequently asked questions

The staged roll out approach of the NDIS has provided valuable learnings about the scheme as it is implemented across Queensland and other states.  With these learnings, also comes changes to information and practices in an effort to streamline and improve people’s experiences of the NDIS.  
To assist you, we have consolidated and summarised a vast amount of information and have produced this FAQ’s guide as a resource whilst you learn how to navigate this new environment, and identify what this will mean for you and your family.  
Epilepsy Queensland is here to support you in every step of your journey.  Please contact us at any time on 07 3435 5000 or, if you have any questions or would like us to help you prepare for your NDIS Planning meeting.  
About the NDIS
What is the NDIS?
The NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme and is a new way of providing support to people with disability, their families and carers.    
The NDIS gives you choice and control in who provides supports and how and when supports and services are provided to meet your needs and goals.  With the NDIS, funding will go directly to you to choose the supports you need. 
The NDIS gives all Australians peace of mind that if they themselves, their child or loved one is born with or acquires a permanent and significant disability they will get the support they need.
The NDIS assists you to: 
access mainstream services and supports - The services available to all Australians that you receive from doctors or teachers through the health and education systems.
access community services and supports - The activities and services available to everyone in your community, such as libraries, community groups and sports clubs 
maintain your informal support arrangements - the help you get from your family and friends
receive reasonable and necessary funded supports - the NDIS may fund individual supports that are reasonable and necessary for a person with a disability or impairment, that enables you to be safe, develop your independence and access mainstream, community and specialised services. 
What is the NDIA? 
The NDIA, National Disability Insurance Agency, is the agency set up by the Australian Government to implement the NDIS.  
Why do we need a new system?
The NDIS was established in response to a 2011 Productivity Commission report that found disability services were “underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient”. 
The previous system was run on a state-by-state basis and there was no national consistency. At times this was informally referred to as a “post code lottery” because depending on where you lived, it could have consequences to the types and amounts of supports received.  
The previous system gave you little choice in the type of support you need, and many people were not receiving the supports they needed to have a good quality of life.   The NDIS provides a nationally consistent, lifetime commitment to supports for people with disability.  
How does the NDIS work? 
The NDIS funds supports that are ‘reasonable and necessary’ for you to achieve your goals. The NDIS is expected to provide ongoing financial support for the estimated 460,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability.  This figure is almost double the number of people accessing disability services under the existing state based systems. 
People that are assessed as eligible for the NDIS will receive funding on an annual basis to purchase the services, aids and equipment that they have been assessed as needing from the service provider/providers of their choice.
As everyone’s needs and goals are different, the NDIS provides you with the flexibility to manage your individual supports needs. It also means your experience with the NDIS might be different to another persons. 
You will be able to decide whether you self-manage your own funds, use a registered Plan Provider- who can assist you by undertaking various bookkeeping type functions, and supporting you to develop your skills to be able to manage your funding in the future, or ask the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to manage your funds on your behalf.
The NDIS will support you throughout your life for as long as you need it, so as your individual circumstances, condition or needs change, you will be able to apply to have your funding plan adjusted.
Eligibility for the NDIS 
I have Epilepsy, not a Disability – so am I eligible for the NDIS?
Many people with epilepsy do not identify as having a disability, and therefore, believe they are not eligible for supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 
You may be eligible for the NDIS if you meet the eligibility requirements available on the NDIA website.  You need to evidence the impact that epilepsy has on your/your loved ones life. 
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) exists to provide supports and services, considered to be “reasonable and necessary” to people who have a functional impairment and require support across various areas of their life to enhance their independence and be active, and contributing members of their community.    
Examples of support may include: 
assistance to enhance independence, including help around the home; 
to visit and maintain contact with family and friends; 
participate in social and recreational activities;  
support to find and keep a job; 
access to therapy support or aids and equipment to keep you safe and maintain your independence 
or support across important life transition stages  – e.g. going to school, finishing school and entering the workforce, moving out of home etc. 
How can Epilepsy Queensland assist me to prepare for the NDIS? 
We believe that the decisions about your life and your NDIS plan are yours to make. We are here to support you to navigate the new system, and make sure you are heard and have the information you need to make informed decisions about what will work best for you and your family. 
There are a number of ways Epilepsy Queensland Inc. can assist you through the NDIS process:
pre-planning support – we have developed a comprehensive workbook to help you work through this process 
Provide a statement of current supports 
NDIS Information Sessions 
NDIS newsletters to get all the latest NDIS news and updates 
Epilepsy Queensland website for regular updates.
For further information about NDIS
Call Epilepsy Queensland NDIS team on 07 3435 5000, email or visit   
When does it start?
The NDIS has been running in trial sites around Australia since 2013. The full roll out started on 1 July 2016 and will be fully completed across the country by July 2019. 
In Queensland, the NDIS will be rolled out geographically, so you will move to the NDIS at different times depending on where you live. The areas and roll-out dates are below: 
1 July 2016 Townsville, Hinchinbrook, Burdekin, west to Mount Isa and up to the Gulf 
1 November 2016 Isaac Regional,  Mackay Regional, Whitsunday Regional Local Government Areas (LGAs)   
1 January 2017 Toowoomba area and west to the borders   
1 July 2017 Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset LGAs   
1 October 2017 Bundaberg LGA   
1 January 2018 Rockhampton, Gladstone and west to the borders   
1 July 2018 Logan City, Redland City, Gold Coast City, Brisbane City, Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett and Cherbourg LGAs Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait 
Am I eligible?
The NDIS operates within a range of eligibility criteria, so you may be eligible for an individual support package depending on your:
Age: you have to be under 65 years of age 
At this stage, if you are currently receiving an NDIS package and you turn 65, you can either choose to remain in the NDIS under ‘continuity of support’ rules, or you can transition to the aged care system.
If you are over 65 at the time your area rolls out the NDIS, you will transition into the aged care system.
Residency: you must live in Australia and be an Australia citizen, a permanent resident, or have paperwork that gives you permission to live here permanently. 
Disability requirements: you have a permanent or significant disability that requires support from another person or equipment to do everyday things for yourself such as communicate, interact socially, learn, move safely around your home and manage your personal care.
Early intervention requirements: Early intervention helps people with a disability that is likely to be with them for life but could be improved by getting some additional support now.
The focus of early intervention is on people getting services and supports now so they require fewer services and supports in the future and can live a more independent life.
Early intervention can also help children under six years old with developmental delay.
More information about early intervention is available on the NDIS website
So what do I need to do? 
To access the NDIS, you will need to provide some information about yourself, and everyone will provide this information in different ways. You might be asked to fill in a form or tell someone over the phone.
If you currently receive disability services, you will be contacted by the National Disability Insurance Agency before your area transitions to the NDIS. 
If you’re not currently receiving disability services, but would like to find out if you’re eligible, you need to contact the NDIS directly to complete an Access Request Form. Call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 or visit  
Once they have this information, they will contact you to let you know if you are able to access the NDIS. 
I am receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP)/ or the Carers Pension – so does this effect my eligibility for the NDIS? 
No.  The DSP and Carer’s pension are separate from the NDIS.  The NDIS is in place to provide reasonable and necessary supports in relation to meeting your needs and goals, whereas, the pension is an income source – to be used for everyday living such as rent, food, bills etc. 
Assistance from the NDIS is not means tested and has no impact on income supports.  
Similarly, if you are receiving the DSP, this does not mean that you are automatically eligible for the NDIS, you will still need to check your eligibility and apply for the NDIS. 
Supports under the NDIS
Yes, absolutely. This is what the NDIS is all about – choice and control over how, when and where your supports are provided, and who delivers them.   If your NDIS is managed by the NDIA, you will be required to access service providers who are registered with the NDIS.  However, if you are self-managing your funding, or have a Plan Manager in place, you can use any service provider, they do not need to be registered with the NDIA.    
The NDIS provides ongoing funding for support that is ‘reasonable and necessary’ for disability equipment, care and support services. If you’re eligible for the NDIS, the supports and services provided should assist you to: 
enhance independence, including help around the home; 
visit and maintain contact with family and friends; 
participate in social and recreational activities;  
support to find and keep a job; 
access therapy support or aids and equipment to keep you safe and maintain your independence 
support across important life transition stages  – e.g. going to school, finishing school and entering the workforce, moving out of home etc. 
This means you should have a think about all your daily activities and the aids, equipment/assistive technology, training and/or supports you’d like to access, in areas such as: 
Health and wellbeing, 
Your identity and values, 
Doing things and going places that you enjoy, including how you get around, 
Trying new things,  
Meeting new people and making new friends, 
Having a valued status in the community – e.g. work, volunteering, friendships, connections with others 
Developing and maintaining your independence and safety 
Use of assistive technology that will enhance your independence and lifestyle 
Your NDIS plan will contain information including: 
Personal details – such as your name, NDIS number, the date the plan starts and when the plan will be reviewed by
Contact details for the NDIS, so you can contact them if you have any questions, or your circumstances change 
A section that is a description “About You”- including ‘Where do I live and the people who support me’ and ‘My daily life’  
A section that describes the goals that you want to  work towards during this plan, as well as longer term goals and aspirations you may have 
A section that describes the supports that will help you to work towards your goals, including – who your informal supports are, what community and mainstream supports you access, and then a list of NDIS reasonable and necessary support budgets. 
What are the three categories that my NDIS plan will be broken up into?
Your NDIS plan will identify three distinct categories that the funding will be broken up into.  These are: 
Core Supports – supports to help you complete activities related to daily living and increase your social and economic participation, for example – assistance with self-care activities, transport, consumables, such as continence aids, HEN and other aids, and assistance to access the community.  
Supports in this category are flexible and can be used across the various line items within the category. 
Capital Supports – supports to enable you to live an ordinary life, such as assistive technology, vehicle modifications, and home modifications 
Supports within this category are generally stated, and therefore, must be used to purchase the identified item from the plan. 
Capacity Building – supports to build your skills and independence toward living the life you want.  These supports may be – various therapies, developing a range of life skills, trying something new, developing social and communication skills, getting and maintaining a job, moving out of home, developing your skills and confidence to be able to manage your NDIS plan and funding etc.
There is some flexibility within this category, in that you are able to flexibly use funding within each of the sub-categories within the Capacity Building allocation, but not across the different sub-categories.  
Who decides what is ‘reasonable and necessary’?
The NDIS have identified guidelines to assist with deciding what supports and services a person will be eligible for under the NDIS.  These guidelines refer to what is ‘reasonable and necessary’  to achieve your life goals and aspirations and participate in the community to the fullest extent possible. What is reasonable and necessary for one person, will not be the same as another, as every persons circumstances are unique.  
When the NDIA makes decisions about which supports would be reasonable and necessary for a particular participant, reference is made to the particular operational guideline that relates to each specific support.  Various operational guidelines can be found on the NDIS website.  
In order to be considered reasonable and necessary, a support must:
be related to the participant's disability
not include day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant's disability support needs
represent value for money
be likely to be effective and beneficial to the participant, and
take into account informal supports given to participants by families, carers, networks, and the community
At the same time, the supports provided need to “represent value for money, in that the costs of the support are reasonable, relative to both the benefits achieved and the cost of alternative support ”.  
Will I be worse off under the NDIS than I am now?
Australian governments have made a commitment to the principle of “no disadvantage”. This means that if you were receiving supports before becoming a participant in the NDIS, you should not be disadvantaged by your transition to the NDIS. Their commitment is that if you become a participant in the NDIS, you should be able to achieve at least the same outcomes under the NDIS. 
What is the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach?
The ECEI approach supports children aged 0-6years who have a global developmental delay or disability and their families/carers.  The ECEI approach supports families to help children develop the skills and abilities they need to take part in daily activities and achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life. 
The NDIS have engaged suitably qualified Early Childhood Partners around Australia to deliver the ECEI approach.  
At this point in time, the young person is not a participant of the NDIS.  If it is identified that your child requires longer-term early childhood intervention supports, the Early Childhood Partner will assist you to request NDIS access. 
How does the ECEI approach work?
You can contact an Early Childhood Partner for tailored support and information, if concerns about your child’s development have been identified. 
They may also: 
Connect you and your child with the most appropriate supports in your area, which may include, community health care, educational options, playgroups 
Provide short term early intervention where it has been identified as the most appropriate support 
Help you to request NDIS access if your child requires longer-term early childhood intervention supports.  If your child becomes an NDIS participant, the Early Childhood partner will work with you to develop an NDIS plan.  
For more information, visit the NDIS website at:
Source:, accessed 24.07.2017
If I am receiving supports under the NDIS, will I still receive my mobility allowance? 
No. NDIS funding replaces the Mobility Allowance, and you need to include transport-related supports in your plan.
Once your NDIS plan is approved, the NDIA will let Centrelink know and then your Mobility Allowance will be cancelled. So be sure to include all transport-related supports you need in your plan. Your Mobility Allowance will continue until you receive NDIS funding.
For more information about the options available to you in regard to transport, please refer to the NDIS website at:
If I am currently accessing the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS), will this continue under the NDIS? 
The Queensland Government recently announced that they will reinstate the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants until 30 June 2019 during transition.
Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said that the decision came in response to concerns expressed by some Queenslanders with disabilities that their NDIS packages are not providing sufficient support for their transport needs. 
People who had transitioned to the NDIS in Townsville identified the issues they were having without access to similar levels of transport assistance in their NDIS plans, compounded by the removal of the TSS as they entered the scheme.  
Although it is recognized that there is only certainty regarding the TSS until 30th June 2019, we are pleased that there is a commitment to actively seeking an alternative long term solution, recognizing the importance of adequate and accessible transport options for people with disability or impaired functionality.  Transport is a necessary support for people to get to work/study/school, attend appointments, visit family and friends and ultimately be more involved and connected in their communities. 
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, and Department of Transport and Main Roads will be making more information available in the near future and have advised that people whose TSS membership ceased on entry into the NDIS can apply to have their membership reinstated.
More information about the Taxi Subsidy Card, including eligibility criteria, can be found at: 
Preparing for your NDIS Planning Meeting 
What kinds of questions will the NDIA ask me in relation to my capacity?  
Experiences from Service Providers in areas where the NDIS has rolled out, have identified that the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS2.0) appears to be used as part of the assessment phase in the planning meeting. 
The WHODAS 2.0 is a generic assessment instrument for health and disability.
WHODAS 2.0 covers 6 Domains of Functioning, including:
Cognition – understanding & communicating
Mobility– moving & getting around
Self-care– hygiene, dressing, eating & staying alone
Getting along– interacting with other people
Life activities– domestic responsibilities, leisure, work & school
Participation– joining in community activities
More information about the WHODAS 2.0 can be found at: 
Can I request an in-person planning meeting? 
Yes, you can request an in-person planning meeting if a phone call is not suitable for you and your needs. You can request the planning meeting to be held at your home, or a place that is convenient for you, such as a local community centre, café etc. 
Please note that some people transitioning into the scheme have reported that they have had a phone call from the NDIA, which included a conversation about their needs, and that this had in fact been their planning meeting, without the individuals knowing that this was the case.  If you receive any phone calls from the NDIA, we encourage you to ask if this is part of their planning conversation and identify if this is the right option for you.   
Who can attend the planning meeting with me?
It is your meeting.  You can choose anyone to come along with you to your planning meeting, whether it’s a friend, family member or carer.  
How much detail can I give my NDIS planner? 
Again, the meeting with your planner is all about you. You decide what you do, what you need and who supports you to do it. As we mentioned earlier, have a think about your life and what you want before you start the process and be sure to bring all these details. 
Be sure to have information about your goals and aspirations as well as your day-to-day needs and supports. Think hard about what works well with the supports you currently receive, and what might not work as well. Talk these ideas through with your family, friends and anyone else who is important to you.
Your planner will talk with you about everything from your strengths, abilities and opportunities for development to your support needs for daily living and participation in the community. The key here is to make sure you get those ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports you need to make progress towards the goals in your plan.
Can I see my plan before it’s finalised? 
Once your plan is finalised after your planning meeting, you may not get an opportunity to review it. However, you can contact your NDIS planner after you’ve received your plan if you’re not satisfied with it. Be sure to get the name and contact details of your planner during your meeting, so you can contact them directly in future if you need to. The NDIS also has a formal review process in place if you are still not happy with your final plan (more information is provided later in this document).  
What happens if I’m not happy with my plan or the decisions? 
If you think a decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about you is wrong, you can submit an application for internal review of a decision. Any person directly affected by a decision of the NDIA can request such a review.
When you are told about an NDIA decision, you will be told how to request an internal review. A request for internal review of a decision must be made within three months of receiving notice of the decision from the NDIA. The staff member who works on the internal review will not have been involved in the earlier decision.
They may want to talk to you directly as part of this process. Please visit the NDIS website for more information.
Understanding Your Plan… 
I’m eligible for the NDIS. What happens next?  
Once you’re assessed as eligible for NDIS support, it’s time to start preparing for your individualised plan, which you’ll discuss at a meeting with an NDIA representative. It’s important that you start thinking about your current supports, and your needs, goals and aspirations, so you’re ready for your meeting with the NDIA. 
Putting pen to paper is a good start, and this will make it easier for you to think about the supports, therapy and equipment you need both now and in the future. 
The NDIA has created some blank templates to assist you with writing down this information, which you can find on their website. Go to and search for “Getting ready for your planning conversation”.  Being prepared and thinking about the supports you need to access means you will be able to get the most out of the support plan you design. Be sure to talk with all the people, family, friends and carers who support you to get their thoughts too about the services and supports you might need to achieve your goals and live the life you choose. 
Epilepsy Queensland has a comprehensive NDIS Pre-planning Workbook, that can assist with your planning preparations.  Contact us for a free copy of this workbook. 
Your next step is meeting with an NDIS planner. They will contact you beforehand to arrange a meeting time that suits you. During the meeting, you’ll work with your planner to develop an individualised plan to suit your needs and goals. If you would like to, you can bring someone with you to be part of your decision making. 
With so many Australians transitioning to the NDIS, the NDIA has implemented First Plan (we talk more about First Plan later in this section), a streamlined planning process that can take place over the phone or in a face-to-face meeting. 
Planners will initially focus on continuity of existing supports for people entering the Scheme. This allows you enough time to think about what your goals are and have a look at different options in preparation for your next plan. The most important thing is that you get to decide what works best for you in putting your plan into action and managing funding and service providers that best meet your needs.
What is a First Plan? 
Every NDIS participant will have a plan. First Plan is the first plan an NDIS participant will receive, and it marks your entry point to the NDIS and the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the NDIS.  The First Plan is about everything you need now. The existing support you have now might be all you need. For many others, they might need more.  
To get ready for the NDIS and your First Plan, start thinking about your immediate support needs and what your current and future goals might be. Don’t worry if you haven’t included all possible future goals at this stage. As you get more comfortable with your NDIS plan, you can develop more future goals.
The NDIS will work with you to develop your First Plan. When you meet with your NDIS planner, you can have a conversation about your current situation and supports. You will be asked how you do everyday things like having a shower or cooking food. This information will form the basis of your First Plan. If you need more supports than you are currently receiving, ask for them at your meeting. If they are deemed reasonable and necessary, the supports will be included in your First Plan. 
So your first plan may include the same supports and services you currently receive. It might include a range of supports provided by your family, friends, doctors, school and paid disability providers.
Once completed – your First Plan will provide you with individualised funding that you control and choose how to use. Just remember, you will keep receiving your current supports until your NDIS plan is in place.
Your first plan will be in place for 12 months. This will give you time to think about how those supports are working for you, and what else you might need to help you achieve your goals before you do your next plan.
Starting your plan 
Feedback from the launch sites have identified that it is taking approximately four to six weeks from having your planning meeting, to be contacted via phone to advise that your plan has been approved and is ready to access on the Myplace portal.  This timeframe is dependent on many factors though, including the complexity of your plan, and for some people, the timeframes may vary.  You will need to contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 to access your pin code for this.  You will also receive a copy of your NDIS plan in the post. 
Once your plan is approved, it is time to put it into action.
The NDIS can work with you to start your plan. This support may include Local Area Coordinators (LACs) who can help you find community activities and the mainstream services that help you achieve your goals. Local Area Coordination is designed to support people with disability to explore and build an ordinary life within their communities. 
Self-direction means you have control over your supports and how they are provided.  If you are self-managing your funding, you will not be required to use NDIS registered providers, so you can choose any service provider that meets your needs. 
The NDIA can help you manage payments to your providers or you can manage these payments yourself.
You can get information on self-directing and self-managing your plan on the NDIS website at
Choosing your providers
You can choose the providers you want to deliver the services you need. You will generally need to make a written agreement with your providers to do this. Your existing provider (such as Epilepsy Queensland) may need to continue to deliver some supports initially.
Participant Portal
You can access your plan on the Participant Portal, an online tool available through the myGov website that keeps all of your documents together. You’ll receive portal access instructions once your plan is ready. If you choose to self-manage your funding, you can also process payments through the portal.
Starting your plan
While you are starting your plan, you might like to:
Think about your future goals.
Consider activities and ways of achieving your goals.
It is important to think about how your First Plan is working for you – what is working and what isn’t working as well. This will help you prepare for your next plan at your plan review. 
Reviewing your plan 
While everyone is different, your first plan with the corresponding budget  will generally be in place for 12 months before the NDIS works with you to make any changes. This is called a plan review. You’ll review your plan with your NDIS planner at agreed review dates, which should generally be every 12 months. You can ask a family member, friend, carer or provider to support you during a plan review.
It’s important that your NDIS plan, and any funded supports, continue to work well for you.
This means your plan is helping you to achieve your goals.
Before you start your plan review, it can also be helpful for you to explore options to get involved in your local community through activities such as sport clubs, local theatres, special interest groups and community gardening.
Of course, if your circumstances change, you can ask for your plan to be reviewed at any time.
Managing your funds and support 
Can I get assistance with managing all my funds and supports? 
Your initial planning meeting will include information about managing your funds and support. This is called ‘Plan Management’ and your options include: 
Managing your funding yourself (so the NDIS provides you with the funding to pay directly to the people and organisations who provide your supports)
Nominating a trusted person to manage your funding (called a ‘plan nominee’)
Using a registered plan management provider
You can ask the NDIA to manage your funding for you.
Plan Management won’t cost you anything as it is funded as part of your plan . 
I have heard that for some people who are already accessing the NDIS, that their plans in the second year, are being cut back – is this true? 
When we hear of information such as this, we need to take a moment to consider if this is anecdotal or one off- of which we may not have all the facts, or whether this is a systemic issue. 
In relation to potential changes in plans from one year to the next, it is important to consider these points: 
- A persons plan may be higher in the first year, as there may be more capital expenses, such as mobility aids, assistive technology etc.  Although there would be maintenance required in subsequent years, the cost outlay for the capital would not be carried forward to the next year
- Some people who were accessing support services prior to the NDIS, were receiving support and services above what their needs required.  This may have been as a result of historical decision or changing circumstances where the funding was not adjusted.  Hence, when a person has a review, there may be changes to better reflect the persons need at this point in their life 
- The NDIS funding is not static, it is designed to change as your life, and therefore your needs and goals, change.  
Epilepsy Queensland is here to support you in every step of your journey.  Please contact us at any time, if you have any questions or would like us to help you prepare for your NDIS Planning meeting.
We will be updating these FAQ’s regularly to ensure you kept up to date with timely and relevant information.  If there is anything you would like included in the next update of the FAQ’s, please email us at