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Navigating the NDIS: Some helpful tips from Local Area Coordinators regarding accessing support and funding through the NDIS

The NDIS application process may be daunting, but it’s worth seeking support to enhance daily independence. Your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) can simplify the process by guiding individuals with accessing, understanding, and using the NDIS.

The Local Area Coordinator team from Morley, WA, has written this article to provide you with valuable insights for exploring options and helpful tips that can be used as a reference when speaking with your treating healthcare professionals.

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding to eligible people with disability to gain more time with family and friends, greater independence, access to new skills, jobs, or volunteering in their community, and improved quality of life.

The NDIS also connects anyone with a disability to services in their community.

This includes connections to doctors, community groups, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries, and schools, as well as providing information about what support is provided by each state and territory government.

The NDIS now supports over 500,000 Australians with a disability to access the services and support they need.

This includes supporting approximately 80,000 children with developmental delays to ensure they receive early support and achieve the best outcomes throughout their lives.

In Western Australia, Mission Australia and APM are the Partners in the Community with the NDIS, which provides the service of Local Area Coordinators. Visit the NDIS website to find your local NDIS office or Partner in the Community:

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) can support you in navigating through the entire NDIS process from the start (building community connections or considering an Access Request) to finish (for example, an NDIS Plan and how to use this).

Helpful tips to navigate the NDIS

These are some things to keep in mind when exploring available options. This information is also helpful for discussing with your treating health professionals.

Tip #1: Getting to know you and your disability.
  • What connections do you already have with your community? Do these meet your needs, or would you like some more support to make more connections?
  • How does your disability impact your daily living? This means exploring what parts of your life are affected; for example, can you complete your self-care tasks? Are you able to walk to the shops independently without support? Can you prepare meals for yourself or your family? Does anyone else assist you in this process? If so, this could mean you require further support, take note of how you complete tasks.
  • For most people to access funding, the NDIS requires your disability to be permanent or for you to meet specific early intervention requirements. There are resources on the NDIS website to help you. To apply for the NDIS, you will need to complete an Access Request. If you make an Access Request, you will require evidence of your disability in the form of a report from a treating health professional that you have seen consistently for a minimum of 6 months, such as your GP, Physio, or Specialist.

Please note participants can also meet access under early intervention, and early childhood and LAC support for community connections may also be available.   

Tip #2: Providing evidence of your disability.
  • Be prepared, meet with your GP, and get your evidence (i.e., diagnosis) of your disability and treatment!
  • You can contact your LAC for support. Mission Australia is one of many NDIS Partners in the Community and services the metro; they have offices in Midland, Morley, Cloverdale, Bentley, Subiaco, and Mirrabooka.
  • You can ask your GP or treating professionals to assist you in filling in the Access Request Form. If they need clarification on what is required, they can also contact a LAC for assistance with your permission. The information is also available online. Make sure to mention how the disability impacts your daily life – at home, in the community, at work, and with your family and friends.
  • We suggest reading the NDIS Booklet #1, ‘Applying for the NDIS’. You can obtain a copy from an NDIS office, Partner in the community office and online.
Tip #3: Access Local Area Coordinators (LACs) for advice or support regarding accessing the NDIS.
  • Area Coordinators (LACs) have been set up by the NDIA to support people to meet access to the NDIS who are eligible and, if not eligible, to link with community mainstream supports.
  • LACs will work with people to build community connections and access the NDIS; the plan supports and implement their NDIS plans. The LACs will ensure you feel supported throughout the entire process.

In summary, be prepared! Link in with your Local Area Coordinators if you feel this is a step you are willing to explore. The NDIS has resources available online to assist. If you would like further support in understanding the Access Request Form and eligibility, you can also do an eligibility checklist online.

NDIS Resources:

NDIS website: www.ndis.gov.au

Phone: 1800 800 110

Access Request form: www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis

Information booklets: www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/publications/booklets-and-factsheets

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