Wondering how to make the NDIS work for you? You’re not alone!
In-fact sometimes that is all we think about at The Benevolent Society (TBS) – because we really want it to work for you too!
To come up with an answer we got our heads together and after about 20 cups of coffee (each) and several meetings later we came up with the Top 5 things we think you need to know if you’re still waiting to transition to the new world of the NDIS.
The NDIS has been designed so that it is flexible enough to meet your individual needs and more importantly your life goals. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to creating your individual plan. Except the one question we keep coming back to. How will it actually work for me?
The fact is the NDIS is still a moving target and so we may not be able to answer all your “Transition to the NDIS questions” – so feel free to put some curly questions in the comments box and we’ll get back to you.
To get you started this is what we thought might be top of mind for you.
Q: How will I know when it’s my time to transition to the NDIS?
A: Well, there is a clear timetable from the NDIS about when the transition happens geographically and you can check out your area by following this link https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-each-state/new-south-wales. But that just tells you which year you might be transitioning in! The reality is that knowing when in that year you might be transitioning is tricky – there are so many different categories and services which determine whether the NDIA will contact you or whether you need to contact them. If you’re unsure about this, you’re not alone. Why not contact us at TBS and we can discuss your unique situation. We can arrange for one of our Support Coordinators to call you to have a chat and from there we can help you decide the next best steps.
Q: My area has already transitioned – have I missed out?
A: Don’t worry if your area doesn’t come up or if you think that you have missed your opportunity, you can still get the help you need. Call the NDIA to get advice from them about how you can access the scheme – there are a limited number of places on the scheme for people with disability who were not previously receiving disability services, and the doors open to everyone from 1 July 2018.
Q: How will I know if I am eligible to receive funding from the NDIS?
A: Understandably a lot of people are very anxious about this, but we can tell you that the basic conditions you have to meet are about your age, your disability and your residential status in Australia. This means you have to be under 65 years of age, you have to need support to do everyday things because of an impairment that is likely to be permanent or need support now to reduce your support needs in the future, and have Australian residency. Simples!
We understand the interpretation of whether your disability is likely to be permanent is difficult for some people. If you’re over 65 or turning 65 soon, you might also be concerned about where you will fit in. And if you are a recent arrival in Australia, you might not be sure of your status. You can use this NDIS eligibility checker to get more information, click here.
But if you are still unsure, you’re not alone! Why not go to our TBS Group Chat and talk it through? One of our TBS staff will contact you, or one of our other members might beat us to it, and give you some tips based on their experience. That’s the great thing about being part of the TBS community – we’re all in this together.
Q: How do I get started on my NDIS plan?
Once you have registered for the NDIS an NDIA person will be in touch by phone or mail to ensure all your information is correct. If you don’t hear anything, then feel free to call them yourself. After all the NDIS is about meeting your needs and goals and making it happen. Their number is 1800 800 110. Once your eligibility for the NDIS has been established and you’re on your way, a Local Area Coordinator (called a LAC) will contact you to arrange a visit. Occasionally, they might want to carry out the initial assessment of your needs over the phone. If you’re not happy with that, ask for a visit to your home.
If you get stuck and need help or if you just want to have a sounding board then give us a buzz at The Benevolent Society and we will be more than happy to help you navigate the system.
Q: So what does an LAC do?
A: LAC is a Local Area Coordinator. These coordinators work with you to get all the information needed to create your NDIS plan – When they meet with you, you can request a support person or case manager to sit in on this meeting and assist you. Or you can bring along a family member or one of our TBS Coordinators can come along with you to support you. After this meeting, your plan will be sent to the NDIA for approval. Approval normally takes between three to six weeks.
Q: How can I prepare for my meeting with the LAC?
A: You need to make sure that you make the most of the meeting with the LAC, and preparation is everything! Being well prepared can make a big difference in communicating your goals and needs. It’s a huge help if you have any documents, reports and information about your disability gathered together.
And we’ve developed a great pre-planning booklet to help you prepare! If you’d like a copy you can contact us at The Benevolent Society. We can post it to you or email you a PDF version for you to print. Or let us know if you’d like a Support Coordinator to come out and assist you with this.
Q: I have my plan and need to organise my supports – What is the first step?
If you’ve received your NDIS plan, it should reflect the goals you shared in your planning meeting with the LAC. If you feel it doesn’t, contact the NDIS and talk to them about what is missing. If you need support for this, give us a ring – we might be able to help.
Sometimes NDIS plans can be a bit hard to understand – the NDIS uses lots of new language and descriptions most of us are not used to. Sometimes it’s difficult to work out what is actually funded in the plan, and then you’ve got to find somewhere to get the services from. Don’t worry if you need support to understand your plan, or to find your services though, as our TBS Support Coordinators are ready and waiting to help. In this new world of the NDIS none of us know all the answers, but we’re keen and eager at The Benevolent Society to hear your comments and try to answer your questions. And we promise that if we don’t know the answers, we’ll make sure you get to speak to someone who does or we’ll find out for you.
Please keep your comments nice but don’t hold back on the questions. If you have some private questions please call us on 1800 236 762.
We are always happy to help you here at The Benevolent Society. Ask to speak to a Benevolent Society Support Coordinator.
If you like a chat call us on 1800 236 762 or visit our website.
And we are always happy to come out and meet with you – just let us know a time and place that suits.