The NDIS is the new way of funding disability services and supports in Australia. It provides individual support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. The NDIS aims to provide people with a disability with choice, control and flexibility in the management of their program of services and supports.
Assistance from the NDIS is not means tested and does not impact on income support such as the disability support pension or carers allowance.
NDIS Roll out
The NDIS commenced in July 2013 at designated trial locations and will roll out in stages.
Currently the NDIS trial has commenced in:
- Tasmania for youth aged 15-24 years
- South Australia for children aged 13 years and under (on 1 July 2014)
- The Barwon area of Victoria for people up to age 65
- The Hunter area in NSW for people up to age 65 years
- The Australian Capital Territory for people up to age 65 years
- The Barkly region of the Northern Territory for people up to age 65 years
- The Perth Hills area of Western Australia for people up to age 65 years
Roll out of the full scheme will commence progressively from July 2016 and will be completed in 2018-19.
People who live in a location where NDIS is not yet available, can continue to access the existing Commonwealth, State and Territory funded disability services. This includes access to early intervention services for Deaf and hearing impaired children, hearing services for children and young adults under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program from Australian Hearing, and services from cochlear implant programs.
In order to access the NDIS you need to
- Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen who is a Protected Special Category Visa holder and
- Be living in a trial site location at the time the trial commenced and
- Be aged under 65 years when first accessing the scheme. Additional age requirements apply in South Australia and Tasmania until the scheme is fully implemented.
- Have a permanent and significant disability that affects your ability to take part in everyday situations. There are certain disability or early intervention requirements that have to be met.
Further information on access requirements is available at www.ndis.gov.au/people-disability/access-requirements
It is anticipated that most Deaf and hearing impaired children and adults under 65 years of age will meet the eligibility requirements for the NDIS.
The NDIS website has a tool – My Access Checker
- to help people understand whether they might be able to access assistance from the NDIS.
What assistance is available through the NDIS?
The NDIS provides information and referrals, support to access community services and activities, personal plans and supports over a lifetime.
The pathway for accessing support as an NDIS Participant is to:
You can access services from Australian Hearing and cochlear implant
programs prior to entering the NDIS pathway.
- Confirm eligibility
You will need to complete an Access Request Form (available from the NDIS on 1800 800 110). You will need to include evidence of your child’s disability. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for the NDIS you may still be able to access services from Australian Hearing, cochlear implant programs and early intervention services, if you meet the eligibility criteria for those programs.
- Develop a plan
Once eligibility has been established, the next step is to meet with a planner to discuss your needs, goals and aspirations and the supports you currently receive. Using this information your planner will then develop a plan of supports that best meets your child’s needs and goals.
The process to participate in the NDIS and the terminology used can seem quite daunting. However your NDIS Planner will help you negotiate the process.
In order for your Planner to identify how the NDIS can support you and your child, they need to understand what life is like for you and your child now, and what you are hoping to achieve in the next few years. So before you meet with your NDIS planner, make some notes about your child’s daily life as it is now - What is important for them, the supports do you have in place, e.g. services from Australian Hearing or cochlear implant program, and the activities they are undertaking, e.g. swimming lessons.
Then consider the goals and aspirations you have for your child for the future, particularly in relation to education, social participation, independence and health and well being. It may help to discuss these matters with family, friends or other parents of Deaf and hearing impaired children. This information forms your NDIS Participant Statement.
The NDIS website has a factsheet - Developing your child's Participant Statement - and a Participant Statement template to help you complete the Participant Statement for your child. If you find it too difficult to complete the paperwork, don’t worry. Your NDIS Planner can help you complete this document.
At the first meeting, the NDIS Planner will talk to you about the information in your Participant Statement. They will use the information from this document to develop an individual plan for your child which includes any supports your child needs. It is likely that your child will already be accessing services from Australian Hearing and this will be listed in the plan.
Further information regarding the planning and assessment process including resources to assist you with the planning process is available at www.ndis.gov.au/participants/planning-process
- Choose supports
The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports that will help your child to reach their goals, objectives and aspirations and to undertake activities to enable their social and economic participation. Using the information from the planning meeting, the planner will determine which supports will best meet your child’s needs and help achieve the goals you have identified for your child.
Your planner will then write up your child’s plan of supports.
If you have NDIS funded supports in your plan, your planner will talk to you about how you would like to manage that funding. You can
- Manage the funding yourself
- Nominate another person to manage your funding
- Use a registered plan management provider
- Have the NDIS manage your funding for you
- A combination of the above options.
- Implement the plan
Your planner will send you a copy of your plan and talk to you about how confident you feel to manage any funding relating to your plan and to co-ordinate the supports in your child’s personal plan. Assistance is available to help you implement your child’s plan if you need it.
The key supports for Deaf and hearing impaired children will be audiological services and early intervention services. If you are not already accessing hearing services, your NDIS planner will refer you and your child to Australian Hearing for audiological support services. (See www.aussiedeafkids.org.au/australian-hearing.html for further information on the Australian Hearing program for children.) The services from Australian Hearing are very comprehensive. However, if you and your audiologist identify a need that is beyond the scope of the hearing services program, then that need may be met through the NDIS funding if it is assessed as reasonable and necessary. Children with cochlear implants can continue to receive services from the cochlear implant program you have chosen for them.
You will be able to choose the early intervention services that are best suited to you and your child. Australian Hearing will provide you with information on the early intervention services available in your area that you can then include in your plan. Further information on early intervention services is available at www.hearing.com.au/choices-supplements/
- Review your plan
Your child’s needs will change over time. You and your planner will agree on a review date for your plan. If there are unforeseen changes in your child’s circumstances you can arrange to meet your planner and update your plan to meet your child’s needs.