NDIS Q&A: Sam Translates

Feb 21
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FREE TO READ: Posted on 17 November 2017

QUESTION: What is a participant’s statement of goals and aspirations?

NDIS: A participant’s statement of goals and aspirations should identify the personal goals, objectives and aspirations a participant would like to achieve in the future, with the help of the NDIS. The NDIA will adopt a strengths based approach in supporting a participant to identify their goals, objectives and aspirations. Strengths based approaches focus on untapped gifts, positive attributes and underdeveloped capabilities which can direct a participant’s future potential.

SAM TRANSLATES: In your NDIS Plan is a section called “My Goals” and these goals are the things you want to achieve in the short term over the life of your NDIS plan, as well as some longer term goals. The NDIS aims to help you reach your potential with their help, so think about what goals you need help with to make your life better.

QUESTION: Is there a way to confirm that forms and applications that have been sent in have been received and are being processed?

NDIS: We are implementing an auto-reply response for all information received by the National Access Team through the nat@ndis.gov.au email address. We anticipate that this will be available in the near future.

SAM TRANSLATES: No But all our fingers and toes are crossed that one day, hopefully soon, there will be an auto-responder to your email that confirms we got your stuff so that at least you have proof you submitted it when we lose it after that.

QUESTION: Our family has been waiting over 50 days to hear back from the NDIS over our application for assistance for our two children. Is this normal?

NDIS: The national roll out means we are receiving a high number of access requests from people wanting to become NDIS participants. We are working hard to respond to access requests in a timely manner and continuously improve our processes. After you have submitted a valid access request form, the NDIA’s Operational Guidelines state we must respond within 21 days. A valid access request form means you have provided all relevant information and evidence in your access request form and live in an area where the NDIS is available. Importantly for families of children 0-6 years, Early Childhood Partners, will provide initial supports for children and their families/carers and assist to access appropriate supports and services for the child.

SAM TRANSLATES: Yes. We’re so darn busy it’s ridiculous. We are working our guts out but we don’t have enough funding or staff to help you as quickly as we’d like. We’re supposed to give you an answer in 21 days. If we don’t manage this, it’s not always our fault. Sometimes it’s your fault. We only have to stick to that 21 day thing if you provide extraordinary details and reports and assessments if there could even be a skerrick of doubt that you’re not eligible. (Sam adds: Like the person who was recently denied access because it’s a bit iffy whether being born without any eyeballs is permanent. That was probably some admin error though, and like we said, we’re really busy, so mistakes will happen sometimes)

QUESTION: What kind of things can be purchased with the Assistive Technologies budget?

NDIS: Assistive Technology (AT) is a term that covers a wide range of things from large print labels to shower seats, wheelchairs and car modifications. The NDIS uses the definition of AT provided by the World Health Organisation: Assistive Technology is “any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.” For example, a car is not considered Assistive Technology, but modifications to the car to enable a person with disability to drive it might be considered Assistive Technology. There is some detailed information about Assistive Technology on this page of our website.

SAM TRANSLATES: Assistive Technology is all the “stuff” that lets you do the things you want and need to do but have trouble with, because of your disability. Like wheelchairs, and eye-gaze systems, and flashing doorbells and car mods. There’s more info at https://www.ndis.gov.au/prov…/assistive-technology-faqs.html (The NDIS answer on this one is actually quite decent)

QUESTION: Who else has had an LAC review their PWD’s NDIS package? Should I be asking for a planner from NDIS to do the review? My son was not given supported co-ordination with his package and suddenly he has an LAC?

NDIS: Local Area Coordinators (LACs) are organisations who have partnered with the NDIA to deliver the NDIS. LACs have three key roles: • They will link you to the NDIS. For a majority of participants, LACs will work with you to develop your plan, help you implement and monitor how your plan is going, and review your progress regularly. • Link you to information and support in the community and mainstream services such as health and education, and • Work with their local community to make sure it is more welcoming and inclusive for people with disability. If you are in an area that was a Trial Site, a majority of participants will transition to work directly with LACs to review their plan. LACs will provide a single point of contact for NDIS participants and help you to develop, implement and get the most out of your plan. Planners are employed directly by the NDIA and have delegation to approve participant plans. They often work with people with increased complexities to develop their plan and they make informed decisions about supports with regards to NDIA legislation. Once a plan has been approved, a planner will refer back to an LAC or to a Support Coordinator (if this support is included in the plan) to help people start their plan. Find out more about LACs in your area on the NDIS website. Don’t worry if you can’t find a LAC near you yet. As the NDIS continues to roll out, more LACs will become available in communities across Australia.

SAM TRANSLATES: The government cut our funding and decided to outsource most of our planning and follow-up work to contractors, called “Local Area Co-ordinators” or LAC’s for short. They are supposed to help develop your plan, and send it off to an NDIS “Planner” who actually works for the government and makes the decisions on whether or not to approve all the bits of funding. The “Planner” is also called a “Delegate” which is another name for “Gets to decide your funding fate”. Then the LAC is supposed to help you understand and use your plan, but they often know less than you do which can make this quite difficult. If you’re *really* lucky, you’ll get funding for a Support Coordinator to help you with this stuff, but if you do, good luck finding one without a waitlist. Not everyone has their plan prepared by the LAC – some participants with very “intensive” needs may have their plan prepared and approved direct by an NDIS planner. Each area has their own contracted LAC “partner”, unless they don’t yet. But they will. Chill out dude.

QUESTION: Do Centrelink and NDIS use two different systems of diagnosis?

NDIS: NDIS funded plans are separate to any other support that people may receive from other government services such as the Disability Support Pension, Carers Allowance or Health Care Card. The only funded support that will change as a NDIS participant is the mobility allowance. NDIS plans are goal orientated, and will provide support to access and connect with other services that can help you to achieve better outcomes in life. In terms of providing evidence (medical or otherwise) to support an application for eligibility in the NDIS or a Centrelink program or service, whilst there is likely to be similarities, they operate differently and have separate criteria and separate application forms. For further information on eligibility criteria for the NDIS, go to the Accessing the NDIS page of the website (external link). For further information on eligibility criteria for supports and services provided by Centrelink, go to the Centrelink page of the Department of Human Services website (external link).

SAM TRANSLATES: Yes. Being on the Disability Support Pension does NOT mean you are eligible for the NDIS, and being on the NDIS does NOT mean you are eligible for the DSP. Their eligibility criteria is different, and less than half of people on the DSP will be eligible for the NDIS, so you will need to fill out different forms and meet different criteria for both if you need both. Luckily the NDIS forms are NOWHERE near as horrible as the Centrelink DSP monster forms which make little sense to most people and make nearly everyone cry. If you are on a Centrelink Payment or Allowance, two things will change – your Mobility Allowance from Centrelink will stop (but may well be replaced in your NDIS plan) and if you get the Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS), it will also stop but your continence related needs and supplies should be appropriately funded in your NDIS plan. Here are some links to find out more about the different eligibility processes for DSP and NDIS. https://www.ndis.gov.au/people-dis…/access-requirements.html https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/centrelink