Applying to the NDIS can be a big decision in a person’s life. An NDIS plan can help minimise the impact of a disability while helping someone to work towards goals of independence, skill building, and accessibility to the community.
What does a participant need to consider if they’re thinking about applying to the NDIS?
As a participant, you’ll need to consider how the disability impacts your daily life and the permanency of these impacts.
You’ll also need to think about the current supports you have in place. Asking some questions can be helpful:
- Are your informal supports (family or friends) assisting you to complete daily tasks?
- Do you rely on any equipment to get through your daily life?
If the answer is yes, there is room to explore eligibility.
Once you’ve applied, the NDIS will need to consider the disability as permanent and life-long in accordance with the eligibility criteria of the scheme.
How can participants apply to the NDIS effectively?
I recommend the following best practice steps.
- Download an ‘Access Request Form’.
- Complete the form with a GP: many participants make the mistake of completing the form themselves without any specialist or medical input. It’s best to have your GP (a GP that has known you for a lengthy period) or a specialist involved. That’s because the NDIS wants to see evidence of a permanent disability and the impacts of this.
- Collate evidence: it’s best to collect as much evidence as possible relating to your disability including diagnostic reports, medications list, and specialist reports to boost your claim.
- Send as one submission: once all evidence is gathered, organise it and send it to the NDIS with your access request form as one submission. Otherwise, you may receive different receipt numbers per email and things may otherwise get lost in the process.
What are the typical timelines from applying to funding?
Timelines can vary from case to case, but we typically see responses regarding eligibility within six weeks. Then another two to four weeks until an initial planning meeting date is set.
You can always call the NDIS directly on 1800 800 110 stating your receipt number, to enquire about the status of your application.
Acclaimed Community Support Servicesassist through this process?
ACSS can assist in explaining and walking you through the process. ACSS offers a free 45 min phone call where we will go over your documentation, access the request form, and offer any extra advice prior to submission to the NDIS.
If the NDIS happens to reject your submission, we will assist in guiding you to contact the NDIS and gather reasoning for this decision to then re-submit.
If you’re approved, we can help break down your needs and write a template to take to your initial planning meeting to ensure funds are allocated to best support your needs.
All up, we usually see the process take one hour from initial contact to the planning meeting date.
What are common challenges or roadblocks in the process?
The number one roadblock is participants completing the form themselves with a lack of specialist or medical evidence to support the application.
Having ACSS assist in the application process can help as we guide you to strengthen your application.
Do you have any other tips for participants?
While we understand that it may be hard to think about and discuss, we tend to see the best results when participants speak about their most difficult days.
On those days, what do you depend on? And what can’t you do independently? Speaking about these aspects of your life will help paint a picture for the NDIS of what your support needs should be. Your diagnostic reports and medical evidence should support the above information.
Participants are also unaware that they can follow up with the NDIS (if rejected) and ask for further reasoning. The NDIS usually sends a generic template rejection letter with no additional guidance. Be sure to follow up and stay persistent!