At DSC, we are often asked about what participants and providers should expect from the NDIS Planning meeting. Here, Bronwyn tackles some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about NDIS Planning.
How long do Participants have to wait for their Planning meetings?
Although not legislated, the NDIS has some general guidelines for when they prepare plans:
- immediate priority for participants who are at risk of harm, or whose stability of accommodation or care arrangements have broken down;
- within 2 weeks for participants whose stability of accommodation or care arrangements are unsustainable, fragile or at risk of breakdown;
- within 2 weeks for participants in, or returning to, a community setting who:
- have no, or very few, supports in place where delay is likely to result in higher scheme costs, poorer longer term outcomes or a further reduction in functioning; or
- need to have appropriate support arrangements in place to be able to return to the community, for example participants returning home after an admission for acute mental health treatment or participants being released from prison or custody;
- within 2 weeks for participants who are children under 6 years of age with developmental delay where:
- there is evidence that delay in early intervention supports would reduce the effectiveness of those supports or lead to a worsening in the impairment of the child; or
- the child is approaching a key milestone and early intervention supports would make the achievement of that milestone more achievable, for example support with toilet training where a child is transitioning from home care to kindergarten; and
- within 2 to 3 months for participants who have a sibling living in the same household who is already accessing supports under the NDIS where the children’s needs are most efficiently and effectively considered together.
Each region may also have arrangements in place to prioritise planning for certain cohorts. Details for your rollout area are available from the NDIS website.
Can providers come to the planning meeting?
The participant is welcome to bring anyone they like to their planning meeting, including someone from a service provider.
Will a Planner call the Participant or should the Participant call them?
If a participant has received State funded support prior to NDIS, the NDIS may contact them directly. If the NDIS has been rolled out in a participant's area for over 3 months and they have still not heard from them, it might be a good idea to give NDIS a call to ensure they are registered in the system.
If the participant is new to disability support, they can contact the NDIA and they will help fill in the Access Checklist to see if the participant may be NDIS eligible. They will then mail out an Access Request Form to complete.
Once the Access Request Form is completed and sent back, and the participant deemed eligible, the participant will generally speak with an “Information Gatherer’. This person will seek consent, some personal details and general accessibility requirements. They may also arrange the planning meeting.
How many Planners will be at the meeting?
Normally there will only be one Planner, this may be a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or an NDIS Planner. Generally speaking, only complex cases are handled directly by an NDIS Planner. However, regardless of whether the Planner is a LAC or NDIA Planner, the Plan is ultimately always approved by someone at the NDIA.
If the Planner is a LAC, they will input notes into the NDIS system and an NDIS Planning Delegate will determine the level of funding and support required based on the meetings notes and documented evidence. These are generally the people who sign off on the letter that accompanies the plan.
Where will the meeting be?
Most meetings are arranged in a venue that is convenient for the NDIS Participant. Most meetings occur at home but participants can arrange to meet in other locations if they feel more comfortable.
What will the questionnaire be like?
The questionnaire used in NDIS Planning meetings asks a series of questions about functional capacity. This means they ask what the participants thinks about how their disability affects their life. NDIS use either a WHODAS or PEDI-CAT assessment of need depending on age.
In 2015/2016, the NDIA adopted a self-reporting tool based on the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS 2.0) for Adults.
WHODAS 2.0 covers 6 Domains of Functioning, including:
- Cognition – understanding & communicating
- Mobility– moving & getting around
- Self-care– hygiene, dressing, eating & staying alone
- Getting along– interacting with other people
- Life activities– domestic responsibilities, leisure, work & school
- Participation– joining in community activities
The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory Computer Adaptive Test (PEDI-CAT) is one of the functional assessment tools used for children in this context. For more information about this, see https://www.ndis.gov.au/operational-guideline/access/early-intervention-requirements