Let’s face it, the weeks and months leading up to a diagnosis are emotional and confusing. The unanswered questions of what, why, and how is enough to lose sleep over, but finding out what you’re up against can offer some relief by shining light on the next best steps.
After talking to your medical team about the therapies and changes you can make in response to the new diagnosis, another critical step is reaching out to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for more assistance. While no amount of support can make all of your stress and worry disappear, here’s some information to help make the adjustment easier.
How Do I Apply for NDIS Support?
NDIS exists to support Australians who have been diagnosed with a severe or permanent disability. Whether physical, intellectual, cognitive, psychosocial, or sensory, NDIS offers resources for adults and children to help them achieve and maintain the greatest amount of independence.
If you’ve never worked with NDIS before, it can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, they make contacting an NDIS planner as easy as possible. First, look at the NDIS checklist to make sure you’re eligible. If you are, you’ll need to make an Access Request by either filling out the form and emailing it to NDIS or calling 1800 800 110. You can also contact your local NDIA or LAC office.
Once you have access to the NDIS portal, you’ll answer some questions to confirm your identity and disability. At some point, you’ll be connected with an NDIS planner, and you’ll be well on your way to receiving NDIS support and services.
What Services Will NDIS Provide for Me?
Your NDIS planner will work with you to create a custom plan that outlines some goals you’d like to reach (i.e., living independently or getting a job) and define the support you need to help get there. The planner will ask you about your current support, like friends and family, and then figure out where NDIS needs to fill in the gaps. Based on that, you’ll be given a budget.
Your NDIS budget can be used to fund a variety of supports and services depending on the needs you’ve identified. Those might include transportation to and from community, career, and social events. It can also cover professional assistance at home or at work. Therapeutic services, personal aids, mobility equipment, home modifications, and vehicle modifications may also be covered.
For your first NDIS plan, your planner will put you in touch with a support coordinator. Their job is to help you learn the ropes of accessing NDIS services and making the most of your plan. Generally, this service is only available for your first plan, but it might be made available to you in the future if you need specialized assistance or if you go through a major life change, like moving out on your own or relocating to a new city.
Tips to Make The Most of Your NDIS Plan
Applying for NDIS can feel like a feat in and of itself, but NDIS has a great team to accommodate those with hearing, speech, sight, and other disabilities, and they’ll walk you through the whole process. Once you’re in touch with your planner, that’s really when the most important step comes about.
Preparing for your NDIS plan meeting is a big deal. If you don’t come prepared, your planner won’t create a plan that fully meets your needs. From there, you need to set yourself up for success to make sure you’re actually utilizing your plan to its full potential. So, follow these NDIS navigation tips to help:
- Advocate for yourself: In the weeks before you meet with your planner, write down some information about what you struggle with. What are you not able to do on your own? What would you like to be able to do on your own? This information is crucial to making sure your plan offers adequate support.
- Set smart goals: The goals defined in your NDIS plan will determine all the supports and services you’ll receive. So, if you don’t tell your planner that you want to move out in the next couple of years, they won’t know to provide you with services to help you get there. Think about the goals you want to set before you go to your meeting, and think about what you need to help get there.
- Look Into Management: Any NDIS participant can choose agency management (managed by NDIS), self-management (which is a lot of work for you), or plan management. Plan management won’t cost you anything out of pocket, and it gives you access to about 4x as many providers; plus, you have professionals on your side to help you make the most of your plan, so it’s worth looking into.
It’s going to take some legwork, but if you do your research and really put in the effort, you’ll find that your NDIS plan truly is enough to help you get to where you want to be. Of course, that’s only possible if you’re honest with your planner and willing to ask for help when you need it. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to success.
If you’re interested in learning more about plan management and other ways to make the most of your NDIS supports, contact NexZen plan management for more information.