Preparing for your NDIS planning meeting
Once you've been approved for an NDIS plan, it's time to start preparing for your NDIS planning meeting.
After you’ve been approved as a NDIS Participant, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will write to you letting you know.
The next step is the planning meeting which usually occurs between 2 to 4 weeks after you have been notified. The planning meeting is a conversation between yourself and a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or a Planner and will help decide what gets included in your NDIS plan.
The plan will include some brief information about you and your life, your goals, your informal supports (support you receive from friends and families), community and other government services you receive (mainstream and community supports) and funded supports to help you reach your goals (known as ‘My Supports’).
What you need to know
When it comes to navigating the NDIS, it can be hard to know where to start. Let’s shine a light on the stuff you actually need to know to prepare for your NDIS planning meeting. Here are some of our best tips.
The planning meeting will take between 1 and 2 hours. During your planning meeting, the LAC or Planner will ask questions including:
- Your personal details, name, age, address and about your primary disability.
- Your informal, community and mainstream supports, including activities or help you get from family members, friends, and the local community (these supports will be mentioned in your plan, but you won’t receive funding for them).
- How you manage your everyday activities, and the type of supports, services, equipment, accommodation or help you may need in your home or to get out and about.
- Activities or tasks which you need help to do independently and/or safely. This can include anything you do a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or ad hoc basis. What supports and services are you likely to need to overcome the impact of your disability so you can do these activities and achieve your goals?
- Your goals for the next 12 (or more) months and what you want to achieve. Keep your goals broad so you maximise the range of services and supports you might get to help you meet them
- How you want your plan to be managed (who will pay your bills). MyIntegra recommends you consider Plan Management as an option as it provides you with greater flexibility to use both registered and unregistered providers, and you don’t have the hassle of paperwork or separate bank accounts.
- The last 15 minutes or so of the meeting will include a questionnaire on how easily or hard you find certain activities and tasks. The way you answer these questions will influence how much funded support you receive in your plan.
The LAC or Planner will ask for evidence to support any requests you make for supports to achieve your goals.
Before your planning meeting, organise reports from therapists (such as Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists) that outline the functional impact of the disability and what specific activities or tasks will be tackled to help you achieve your goals.
Ideally, the reports will talk about specific programs and supports that can be delivered in a set period to achieve or improve your ability to complete certain tasks.
If you think you need changes to your home or your vehicle or for specific aids and equipment, then try and make sure your allied health specialist includes these and demonstrates how they would help you achieve your goals.
For example, to:
- independently eat, shower or toilet
- safely access and move about in my home or the community
- assist me to communicate with people through access to customised equipment.
Towards the end of your first NDIS meeting, the LAC or Planner will say they need to ask you some multiple-choice questions about the impact of your disability on your ability to do things safely and independently.
These questions are taken from WHODAS or PEDI CAT questionnaires – two recognised tools that the NDIS uses to understand where you fit in terms of functioning across various areas of every person’s life.
These areas include:
- Cognition – understanding and communicating
- Mobility – moving and getting around
- Self-care – hygiene, dressing, eating and staying alone
- Getting along – interacting with other people
- Life activities – domestic responsibilities, leisure and work
- Participation – joining in community activities
There are fifteen rankings, from low functioning through to high functioning. How you answer will strongly influence the level of support that is ultimately included in your plan. If you say you never need help doing something, you will obviously be assessed as high functioning. So rather than answer these questions in a super optimistic way, think carefully about your experiences. If you have ever needed assistance or have doubt, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.
There are some supports that cannot be included in your NDIS plan, including those that:
- are not related to your disability. You cannot get support in your NDIS plan that is not somehow connected with the functional impact of your disability.
- are the same as other supports delivered through other government services. So, if you’re getting support through the education, health or housing systems, the NDIS will not directly assist you with these.
- are for day-to-day living costs that are not related to your support needs.
- are likely to cause you harm or pose a risk to others.
Here are some examples:
Example: the NDIS will not pay your rent or the cost of food or medication. In the example of food, if you have a disability that impacts on your ability to prepare food or consume food the NDIS may pay for the support or service that is required for you to access nutritious and appropriate foods.
Example: if you’re attending a school and need extra assistance to learn the curriculum, it is the school’s responsibility to develop an appropriate support program, and not the NDIS.
Make sure you’re clear about this when preparing for your NDIS plan.
You can elect to be Self-Managed, Agency Managed or Plan Managed and each option has impacts on what supports you can get and what you need to do to manage the paperwork and finances.
You need to indicate which option you prefer at your planning meeting. Here is a description of the 3 options:
For each service you receive, you pay for services directly and then apply to the NDIS to be reimbursed. Or you can apply to the NDIS for the amount you need, wait for the funding and then pay for your service or support. The NDIA recommends you set up a separate bank account. You need to keep records of your services and payments. Under Self-Management, you can negotiate your own price directly with the provider. Plus, you can use both unregistered and registered NDIS providers.
In short, you have more flexibility and choice, but you do need to be organised and able to handle the paperwork.
NDIA or Agency Managed
Service providers will need to send their invoices directly to the NDIA and the NDIA pays them. However, under this option, you can only use providers that are registered with the NDIA. And they must be paid the NDIA rates. There is a lot less flexibility with the NDIA managed option.
MyIntegra is a Plan Manager. Under this option, an independent organisation such as MyIntegra does the paperwork and organises payments from your NDIS plan for the services you receive. The Plan Manager sends you monthly statements so you can see how you’re going with your NDIS budget.
You don’t pay for the Plan Management service and it does not impact the funding for any other supports in your NDIS plan.
With Plan Management, you can use both registered and unregistered providers, so you have the same flexibility as Self-Management but without the hassle of the paperwork and having to log into the myplace portal.
You can have a mixture of these 3 management options if there are some parts of your plan you want more control over than others.
Requesting Plan Management
It’s a good idea to have a think about your plan management options before your NDIS planning meeting as you may be asked how you want to look after the money in your plan.
If using a registered plan manager is the right option for you, simply advise the NDIS Planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC) of your request to use plan management or have ‘Improved Life Choices’ included in your plan.
If you’re not asked; say what you want, or you can use this letter to help explain.
Requesting Support Coordination
Not everyone is eligible for support coordination to be funded separately, so for your best chance of having it included in your NDIS plan, you should highlight to your LAC or ECEI the reasons why you need it. Here are some example situations.
Read some common examples and learn more about requesting support coordination at your planning meeting here.
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