Skip to Content

Accessing the NDIS

This page is part of a set of resources for authorised OOHC carers about the NDIS. This page provides key information about accessing the NDIS and preparing for the NDIS planning meeting to arrange supports for the child or young person in your care.

The OOHC caseworker referred to in this fact sheet is the Family and Community Services or Non Government Organisation OOHC caseworker that has case management responsibility for the child or young person.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is an Australia-wide scheme, supporting people with permanent and significant disability. The NDIS is replacing the current NSW disability support system.

The NDIS gives people with disability choice and control over the supports they receive. It helps people with disability to live life their way, achieve their goals and participate in the community.

Who is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)?

The NDIA is the Commonwealth agency that manages and delivers the NDIS. The NDIA is overseen by the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council.  More information can be found at www.ndis.gov.au.

Roll out of the NDIS in NSW

From 1 July 2016, the following districts have been able to access the NDIS:

  • Hunter New England
  • Southern New South Wales
  • Central Coast
  • Northern Sydney
  • South Western Sydney
  • Western Sydney
  • Nepean Blue Mountains

From 1 July 2017, the NDIS became available across the rest of NSW, for people living in:

  • Northern New South Wales
  • Mid North Coast
  • Sydney
  • South Eastern Sydney
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven
  • Murrumbidgee
  • Western New South Wales
  • Far West

Becoming an NDIS participant

How and when a child or young person accesses the NDIS will depend on where they live and whether they already receive NSW Government funded disability supports.

See the How and when will I access the NDIS in NSW factsheet.

Transition of existing NSW funded disability clients to the NDIS

Children and young people currently receiving specialist disability supports through the NSW Government or a service provider funded by the NSW Government will move first to the NDIS as it rolls out in their area.

Current supports for an individual will continue until an NDIS plan is in place. When it is time to transition, the child or young person’s OOHC Manager Casework will be contacted by the NDIA. The OOHC caseworker will then contact the child or young person and their carer to attend an NDIS planning meeting with the NDIS representative.

New participants

If the child or young person with a disability does not currently receive disability supports in NSW, their eligibility for the scheme will need to be confirmed by the NDIA.

To become a NDIS participant, a child or young person must meet access requirements for either the disability or early intervention pathway.

This includes children and young people with new incidence of disability currently accessing supports through other NSW Government agencies, including Health, Education and Justice, or other sectors, such as primary care providers and non-government organisations.

The first step for a child to become a NDIS participant is for the OOHC caseworker to complete an Access Request Form, this form is only available through the NDIA. The OOHC caseworker will contact the NDIA to ask for an Access Request form if your child or young person needs disability support.  Information relating to the child or young person’s disability and medical history will need to be included in the form, along with evidence of the diagnosis, what the condition is, how long it is likely to last and how it impacts the child or young person’s life.

The NDIS website has a tool to help you understand eligibility requirements, called the NDIS Access Checklist and factsheet - Accessing the NDIS as a new participant.

Early childhood early intervention

Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) services are available in NSW for children aged 0–6 years old who have a disability. The aim of ECEI is inclusion; with children supported in a range of mainstream early childhood settings such as a preschool or play group, thereby increasing opportunities to learn about and develop positive social relationships.

ECEI is designed to connect children with disability and their families with mainstream services in their local areas early to provide information and support.

During the NDIS transition in NSW, service providers participating in the transitional arrangements with the NDIA need to be an existing early childhood intervention service provider currently delivering supports similar to the NDIA gateway functions under an existing DCJ Funding Agreement.

The functions performed by early childhood intervention providers which align with the NDIA ECEI approach include:

  • functional assessment and provision of short term specialist supports
  • developing and reviewing individual support plans
  • assisting children and families to access NSW and Commonwealth disability supports
  • referring children and families to mainstream and community-based support options
  • building community inclusion and capacity.

The gateway process is based on the outcomes of a functional assessment undertaken by an ECEI Transition Provider, to help identify the most appropriate supports for the child. This could include referral to short term interventions, mainstream supports, information provision, and if necessary, an NDIS plan.

The first step in accessing ECEI is for your OOHC caseworker to contact their local ECEI Transition Provider to access the NDIS ECEI gateway.

In NSW, the ECEI Approach will be implemented fully from July 2018 when the NSW transition to the NDIS is complete.

Further information about the NDIA’s ECEI approach can be found at www.ndis.gov.au/ecei, and a list of NSW ECEI Transition Providers.

Giving children and young people with disability a voice

While you and the OOHC caseworker will support the child or young person with disability through the NDIS planning process, it is important to remember that they too must be given an opportunity to participate directly, in a manner that is appropriate for their age and circumstances. The carer and caseworker have responsibility to encourage active participation by the child or young person in discussions and decisions relating to their disability supports.

Who will represent a child or young person?

Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 s5, Part 4 the person(s) who is responsible for making decisions in the child’s best interests is referred to as the “child’s representative(s)”. For a child or young person in statutory OOHC or under a Guardianship order, the child’s representative will be the person who has been allocated Parental Responsibility. In some cases, Parental Responsibility may be allocated to more than one person or entity, including the Minister for Family and Community Services.

Where Parental Responsibility has been allocated solely to the Minister, the child’s representative will be the Communities and Jusitce (DCJ) or Non-government Organisation (NGO) OOHC caseworker in the organisation that has case management responsibility for the child or young person.

For statutory OOHC, there are 2 scenarios where OOHC casework staff may not be the child or young person’s representative. Firstly, where a child or young person wishes to represent themselves and the NDIA is satisfied that the child or young person is capable of making decisions for themselves. The second scenario, which is only available in exceptional circumstances, is where the Minister has agreed in writing that the NDIA can appoint another person to be the child’s representative.

Who will represent a child or young person when Parental Responsibility is shared?

Where the Minister and another person(s) share Parental Responsibility, the child’s representative will be the person who holds the most relevant aspects of Parental Responsibility to the NDIS plan.  In such cases, DCJ will review which aspects of Parental Responsibility have been allocated and to whom, and decide who is the child’s representative for the purposes of the NDIS Act.

If the Minister and the other person(s) hold aspects of Parental Responsibility that are equally relevant to the NDIS plan, or if the aspects of Parental Responsibility are allocated jointly, the Minister and the other person(s) will be the child’s representative jointly.

In any case, when Parental Responsibility is shared with the Minister, OOHC casework staff will be involved in the NDIS access and NDIS planning process, along with the child’s representative.

What happens if the Child’s Representatives disagree with each other?

Where Parental Responsibility is shared and both parties are the child’s representative and they disagree about NDIS supports and services, attempts should be made to resolve the disagreement by collaboration and negotiation, ensuring the best outcome for the child is at the centre of decision-making. If that fails, assistance will be sought from a person who is trained in mediation and who is independent to both parties to help resolve the dispute, or, as a last resort, where agreement cannot be reached after negotiation; the matter may be brought before the Children’s Court.

Access further information about child representatives under the NDIS.

Important note – the carer-caseworker partnership: carers and caseworkers working together will help achieve the best outcomes for the child or young person during the NDIS planning process. Carers will bring their knowledge and experiences of the child or young person to the NDIS planning process because carers have unique insight into the needs and day-to-day lives of the child or young person they care for.  This understanding of the child or young person will be invaluable for the development of an NDIS plan. Caseworkers are experienced and focused on case planning to meet a child or young person’s needs and their goals and aspirations.

What supports are provided by the NDIS for children and young people in care?

The level and type of supports that will be funded through the NDIS will depend on the individual needs of each child or young person and the NDIA’s assessment of reasonable and necessary supports. Day-to-day care for children and young people in statutory OOHC will continue to be funded by DCJ.

The NDIA may consider the following supports as reasonable and necessary supports for children or young people in care:

  • Supports required as a direct result of a child or young person’s disability. This includes supports that enable families and carers to sustainably maintain their caring role, such as through community participation, therapeutic and behavioural supports, additional respite, aids and equipment and supports to help build capacity to navigate mainstream services.
  • Supports required due to the impact of a child or young person’s impairment on functional capacity where they are in OOHC and have support needs that are above those of children of similar ages. The diversity of OOHC arrangements is recognised and the level of reasonable and necessary supports will reflect the circumstances of the individual child or young person.
  • Any other reasonable and necessary supports identified.

For more information see: What Are Reasonable and Necessary Supports on the NDIS website.

What happens to the child or young person’s NDIS supports after they turn 18 or leave OOHC?

NDIS supports and funding move with the child or young person through their life transitions, for example; by turning 18 and leaving OOHC or where restoration occurs.

Whenever a significant life transition occurs the NDIS should be contacted (by the young person themselves if they are over 18 or by the child’s representative or guardian if under 18) to ensure the supports and funding effectively meet their needs in their new environment.

How will I know when it’s my child or young person’s turn to move into the NDIS?

When the child or young person in your care is due to transition to the NDIS (either as a new entrant, after an Access Request has been accepted by the NDIA or because they are an existing ADHC client), their OOHC caseworker will be contacted by an NDIS representative to arrange a meeting to discuss their first NDIS plan.  The caseworker in turn will contact the child or young person and carer regarding the meeting and to check you can both attend and assist with the NDIS plan preparation.

Getting ready for the NDIS – information pack

If your child or young person currently receives disability supports directly from the NSW government, your OOHC caseworker will receive an information pack that will have their latest reports and information to take along to their NDIS planning meeting.

Preparing for the NDIS planning meeting

The NDIA has prepared a work book called ‘My NDIS Pathway’ which details the journey into the NDIS and provides guidance on what the NDIS planning process will include.

At a glance - before The Planning Meeting

Steps to take:

  1. The caseworker will contact the child/young person and carer when nearing the planning meeting, to allow time to prepare.
    Who can help
    Caseworkers
    Useful links
    NDIS checklist for carers in NSW
  2. DCJ will provide information packs for each child or young person receiving ADHC services.
    Who can help
    Service providers can help their existing clients prepare i.e., specialist can provide reports, etc.
    Useful links
    NDIS planning workbook
  3. The carer and caseworker prepares the participant statement with child or young person:
    Prepare
    Goals and aspirations
    Prepare
    A list of all the current supports and carer activities and reason why each one is valuable
    Prepare
    A list of all the aids/equipment the child or young person currently has and whether modifications or new equipment are likely to be required over the next 12 months
    Who can help
    NDIA: 1800 800 110
    NDIS Local Area Coordinator
    Useful links
    Developing your child’s participant statement (the NDIA prefer participants bring their statement already drafted with them to their NDIS planning meeting)
  4. Caseworker and carer prepare information to take to the planning meeting with the child/ young person (age/ability appropriate)
    Who can help
    NDIA: 1800 800 110
    NDIS Local Area Coordinator

The NDIS plan

This fact sheet is the second in a set of resources for authorised OOHC carers about the NDIS. This fact sheet provides key information about the NDIS planning meeting.

The OOHC caseworker referred to in this fact sheet is the Family and Community Services or Non Government Organisation OOHC caseworker that has case management responsibility for the child or young person.

A child or young person’s NDIS plan has two parts:

  1. Participant statement of goals and aspirations
  2. Statement of participant supports

The statement of goals and aspirations is prepared by the participant, or if they are under 18, by the child’s representative. For children and young people under Parental Responsibility of the Minister, the OOHC caseworker, carer and child or young person will need to work together to develop the statement. The statement needs to describe the goals, objectives and aspirations of the participant and their environmental and personal context (social/community and personal relationships).

The statement of participant supports is prepared by the NDIS representative with input from the child or young person, their carer or key family members, OOHC casework staff and available assessments that specifies:

  • the general supports (if any) that will be provided; these may include support that is provided by the carer and support delivered through the child or young person’s OOHC case management plan
  • the reasonable and necessary supports (if any) that will be funded under the NDIS
  • the date or the circumstances in which the NDIA must review the NDIS plan
  • the arrangements for managing the funding of supports under the NDIS plan
  • the management of other aspects of the NDIS plan.

What types of supports may be included in a participant’s NDIS plan?

The types of supports that the NDIS may fund for participants include:

Home

  • Household tasks
  • Drop in support
  • Home and garden maintenance
  • Living skills
  • Holiday care
  • Prepare for leaving home
  • Overnight assistance
  • Respite care
  • Crisis care
  • Home modification design and construction

Health

  • Daily personal activities
  • Behavioural supports
  • Therapeutic supports
  • Assistance to access activities
  • Mobility equipment
  • Gym / personal training
  • Dietitians
  • Exercise advice
  • Occupational therapy
  • Help to a participant by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training

Transport

OOHC carers of children and young people in the Scheme have a responsibility to meet their child’s daily transportation requirements.

However, some children may require additional assistance when the child cannot use public transport or their parent’s vehicle, even if modified, due to their disability.

Carers and their OOHC caseworker will work with an NDIA planner to develop a participation plan outlining their child’s transportation support requirements.

See Transport Fact Sheet

Preparing for Independence

  • Personal support
  • Service and support coordination
  • Social and communication skills
  • Daily living and life skills
  • Bill payment and budgeting
  • Independent  living skills assessment
  • Training
  • Assistance to develop and achieve goals
  • Workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market

Community

  • Living skills
  • Recreation and social activities
  • Shopping
  • Assistance to access activities
  • Social inclusion
  • Attend appointments
  • Camps / holidays

Are there supports for the carer in a participant’s NDIS plan?

Each child or young person will have an individualised NDIS plan that is tailored to their goals, personal circumstances and disability support needs. The types of supports that the NDIS may fund that may have direct or indirect benefits for you as a carer include:

  • personal care to support an individual in your home or the community
  • supports to assist the child or young person with disability to enjoy social and community interaction without relying solely on you as their carer
  • assistance with tasks of daily living, including help to improve your child’s ability to do things
  • supported employment services and help for young people to move to work programs that prepare them for work
  • training related to the caring role that may enhance your ability to provide care.

For further information about NDIS planning process, including reasonable and necessary supports, see www.ndis.gov.au/participants/creating-your-plan and/or Developing your First Plan Fact Sheet.

What types of supports are not covered under the NDIS?

Supports are not likely to be covered by the NDIS if the support or service:

  • is not related to the participant’s disability
  • duplicates other supports already funded by a different mechanism through the NDIS, for example you can’t access two different services for the same therapy.
  • relates to day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s support needs, or
  • is likely to cause harm to the participant or pose a risk to others.

What will DCJ remain responsible for?

DCJ remains responsible for:

  • statutory child protection services required by families who have entered, or are at risk of entering, the statutory child protection system
  • general parenting programs, counselling or other supports for families at risk of child protection intervention and to the broader community, including making supports accessible and appropriate for families with disability
  • funding or providing OOHC or support to carers of children in OOHC where these supports are not additional to the needs of children of similar age in similar out-of-home care arrangements.

What information needs to be taken to the NDIS planning meeting?

All relevant information, evidence, reports and plans including Health Management Plans and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) case plans should be taken to the meeting.

For children or young people in the Parental Responsibility of the Minister, it will be the role of OOHC casework staff to work with the carer to collect relevant materials and take them to the meeting. This includes drafting the Participant Statement of goals and aspirations, listing the current supports the child or young person currently receives, including day to day carer supports and consideration of the aids, equipment and modifications the child or young person might require over the next 12 months.

Children and young people currently receiving NSW direct disability supports will receive an information pack with their latest assessments and plans relating to their disability. For children or young people in Parental Responsibility to the Minister, the OOHC casework staff attending the NDIS planning meeting should receive a copy of this information pack.

Who can attend the planning meeting?

Your OOHC caseworker will include you in making this decision.  The meeting will include the NDIS representative, the OOHC caseworker, you and where possible the child or young person. You and your caseworker may also invite other important people in your child’s life who can provide valuable input to their NDIS plan. This may include people such as the Local Health District OOHC Coordinator, Occupational Therapist, teacher or support person.

What is Support Coordination and Plan Management?

Responsibility for ongoing tasks related to engaging and coordinating disability supports under an NDIS plan is best undertaken by an NDIS Support Coordinator to ensure carers and caseworkers can focus on their core role for the child or young person.

During the NDIS planning meeting with the NDIS representative, Carers, and OOHC casework staff should request Support Coordination to be included in the child or young person’s NDIS plan. It should be explained to the NDIS representative that they will not be in a position to provide coordination of disability specific supports or be best placed for ongoing NDIS plan management.

A Support Coordinator can help implement a child or young person’s plan and manage their supports by:

  • understanding and monitoring their plan
  • choosing and connecting with service providers
  • exploring and linking with community and mainstream services and help coordinating these as required
  • navigating the NDIS Participant Portal called ‘MyPlace’.

For further information about support coordination, click here.

Responsibility for ongoing tasks related to managing invoicing and reporting on the expenditure of supports under an NDIS plan is best undertaken by an NDIS Plan Manager.

There are two options for NDIS plan management:

  1. Agency Managed: the NDIS pays your support providers directly
  2. Plan Management Provider Managed: the NDIS pays your Plan Management Provider who is responsible for managing your funding and paying your support providers.

One of these options needs to be requested during the NDIS planning meeting.

Can we change providers if we are unhappy with the way supports are being provided to the child we care for?

Yes, if you are not satisfied with the supports being provided under the child or young person’s current NDIS plan, you should discuss your concerns with your OOHC caseworker in the first instance.  Carers and caseworkers will need to work together to ensure the best outcomes are achieved for children and young people in OOHC.

For more information about who will represent a child or young person in statutory OOHC, refer to Who will represent a child or young person?

What if I don’t agree with the supports or funds allocated in my child or young person’s NDIS plan?

You should first discuss your concerns with your OOHC caseworker who is responsible for representing your child or young person throughout the NDIS planning process. The caseworker can work with you to raise the issue with the NDIS plan manager, NDIS support coordinator or the NDIA as required.

Further support for the NDIS

This fact sheet is the third in a set of resources for authorised OOHC carers about the NDIS. This fact sheet provides additional information about support available to help transition to the NDIS.

Local Area Coordination

Local Area Coordinators (LAC) have three key roles, they will:

  • link you to the NDIS
  • link you to information and support in the community
  • work with their local community to make sure it is more welcoming and inclusive for people with disability.

Uniting, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and Social Futures have been selected to deliver the NSW LAC functions for the NDIS transition period from January 2016 – June 2018.

LAC will also support community development to build a more inclusive and accessible community.

For more information about LAC go to ndis.gov.au/communities/local-area-coordination.

If a child or young person isn’t eligible for an NDIS funded package, are there alternative services available for them to access?

If a child or young person isn’t eligible for a NDIS funded package, they may be eligible for mainstream and community services as part of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building.

Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC)?

For children, young people with disability and their carers, support starts with having easier access to information. This means knowing where to find out about supports and how to access supports already available in the community.

ILC refers to the services which will help the child or young person with disability to:

  • find supports available in their local community
  • join in local community activities such as study, sports, socialising or other interests
  • build capacity through services like diagnosis advice, peer support and skills development
  • access information, training and support for mainstream and community services in your area.

Who do I contact to access ILC mainstream support for the child or young person I support?

During the NDIS transition from 1 July 2016 – 1 July 2018 this will be through Ability Links NSW and NDIS Local Area Coordinators. To get in touch with a local ILC provider, please visit an Ability Links NSW provider, more information can be found at www.abilitylinksnsw.org.au.

Reviews, appeals and decisions

This factsheet is the fourth in a set of resources for authorised OOHC carers about the NDIS. This factsheet provides key information about NDIS plan reviews, appeals and reviews of NDIS decisions.

The OOHC caseworker referred to in this factsheet is the Family and Community Services or Non Government Organisation OOHC caseworker that has case management responsibility for the child or young person.

How often are NDIS plans reviewed?

A review of a participant’s NDIS plan can be triggered in three different ways:

  1. As a normal part of the NDIS planning cycle
  2. A participant or their representative requests a review
  3. The NDIA initiates a review.

The NDIS planning cycle

Each NDIS plan has an agreed review date which will provide the child or young person, carer, OOHC caseworker and NDIS representative an opportunity to discuss what is and isn’t working, amend goals and objectives and adjust supports. The NDIS planning cycle lasts between 6 and 24 months, depending on individual circumstances, with an average of 12 months for children in OOHC.

Can I request a review of the NDIS plan for the child or young person I care for?

If you think the supports provided in the NDIS funded package does not meet the needs of the child or young person you care for, you should discuss this with your OOHC caseworker (the child’s representative) in the first instance.

The OOHC case worker can request a review of the child or young person’s plan.

The OOHC caseworker should take into account whether support needs have changed in the time since the NDIS plan was approved and whether information was not considered that would affect the occurrence, type and frequency of supports within their plan.

When a child or young person with a disability in OOHC’s living arrangements, informal supports or overall goals change, their OOHC caseworker will request a review.

The NDIA will not accept a request for review where:

  • a participant is unable to demonstrate that their circumstances have changed to the extent required to warrant a change to their statement of participant supports
  • there is no new information available which is likely to affect the NDIA’s assessment of a participant’s needs
  • the request is within 6 months of the approval of the NDIS plan, or within three months of a review date specified in the existing NDIS plan or
  • the request for review simply reflects the participant’s desire to have increased supports, or supports of a nature similar to other participants.

The NDIA will notify your OOHC caseworker about their decision to review an NDIS plan within 14 days of receiving a request for a review and the caseworker will advise you.

For more detailed information on review of NDIA decisions, see ndis.gov.au/operational-guideline/review-of-decisions.

Was this content useful?
Your rating will help us improve the website.
Last updated: 24 Sep 2019