Answering the most googled questions about the NDIS

11 March 2020

Photo of Clinton on Google

“Hi I’m Clinton and this is a photo of me on Google. Google is for searching things. I use Google a lot. I always use it to search NRL but today I used it to search NDIS. I don’t really know much about NDIS, so it’s good that I googled it. To get the smile on my face I was thinking about when my NRL team wins.”

When it comes to the NDIS - people generally have a lot of questions. It’s big, it’s complex, and it can be a lot to wrap your head around. We hear you!

In this blog, we will take a look at the NDIS questions people are typing into Google’s helpful little search bar – so you’ve got all the answers, and all in one place.

But before we dive in, if you prefer to speak to a human over a search engine, we have employed a few experts whose job it is to answer your NDIS questions – you can give them a call on 1800 112 112.

I want to speak to a person

Is the NDIS means tested?

No, and this is for good reason.

The NDIS will look at the supports you need, based on your disability, and won’t take your income and assets into account. It’s been designed this way so that everyone gets the support they need and so no one is left behind.

Is the NDIS portal/website down?

We can’t say, but generally the NDIS will usually keep people updated on any outages (planned or not) on the news section of their website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/latest

Is the NDIS working?

Well, this depends who you ask.

Perhaps the best people to answer that are the participants themselves. Every few months, there’s a really long report that looks at how the scheme is performing (they are called the COAG Disability Reform Council Quarterly Reports if you wanted to have a look for yourself). In it, they ask NDIS participants what their overall satisfaction with the NDIS is. In the latest report participant satisfaction was at 87%.

So that tells us that while there are improvements to be made, the majority of people are satisfied with their NDIS experience.

Does this mean the scheme is perfect? No. There are still many issues that are being addressed, and it will take time, but on the whole, it seems to be working for most individuals.

Is the NDIS fully funded?

Yep – the NDIS is fully funded.

By the time the NDIS is completely rolled out, our governments will be investing a total of $22 billion a year. That’s 1% of our country’s GDP – making it the biggest social reform in Australia’s history (pretty cool).

You may be asking ‘well, where is that money coming from?’

Around half will come from the federal government and each state and territory will provide the rest.

Is the NDIS available in my area?

Chances are it is!

At the time of publishing this blog, the only places left to roll out are Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Why is the NDIS called an insurance scheme?

The ‘IS’ in NDIS is indeed for ‘insurance scheme’. It sounds very serious and complicated, but actually it’s a really great way to look at it.

Think of it like this – it’s like the government has taken out insurance for all Australians, so that if you have a permanent disability (and meet NDIS entry requirements), you will be able to access support.

Disability can happen to anyone – so it’s great that support like this exists.

In the next five years, the scheme is expected to grow and reach about 500,000 participants, which will be around 2.1% of the projected Australian population aged 0 – 64. It’s a lot of people and it’s critical that they are supported.

Why was the NDIS created?

The NDIS was created for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of those:

  • To substantially improve the wellbeing of people with disability and Australians more generally;
  • To replace an old system that was seen by seen as inequitable, underfunded, fragmented and inefficient (the Commission’s inquiry in 2011 on Disability Care and Support);
  • To have a national approach to disability care. This is instead of the old state-by-state model – which was a bit of a lottery;
  • To provide better options for people with disability for education, employment, independent living and community participation; and
  • To give people with disability more choice and control in their lives.

What does the NDIS pay for/cover?

The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports relating to a person’s disability to help them live an ordinary life and achieve their goals. We’ve put together a whole separate blog on what the NDIS covers.

Basically, the NDIS exists to bridge the gap between having a disability and not having a disability. So in this way, the best question would be to ask yourself - would someone without a disability be expected to pay for this? If the answer is ‘yes’ them there is a good chance that the NDIS won’t cover it.

The two most common questions we receive on this topic are in relation to smartphones and holidays, so we made some quick videos on these:

  • Transcript

    Will the NDIS buy me a smartphone?

    We actually get asked this question a lot and generally I’m sorry, but no, the NDIS won’t buy you a smartphone or tablet.

    This is because people who don’t have a disability generally buy these things themselves.

    What the NDIS may fund though are apps or other access equipment you may need. Things like communication aids are commonly funded.

    With all that said, we’ve actually seen the NDIS fund smartphones and tablets but it’s incredibly rare and generally only done in exceptional circumstances.

    You’ll need to prove it’s reasonable, necessary and supports you reaching your goals.

  • Transcript

    Will the NDIS pay for me to go on a holiday?

    Mmm, good question, but no, the NDIS won’t pay for your holiday.

    They could pay for supports you need because of your disability.

    Confused?

    Think about it this way. People without disability have to pay for their holidays, so it is reasonable for a person with disability to pay for their flights, accommodation and meals too.

    If you need supports to access your holiday, the NDIS may be able to fund additional support worker hours for you. You’ll still need to pay travel costs for your support worker, such as their flights, accommodation and meals. Or you could consider hiring a support worker in the area that you are visiting.

How does the NDIS decide what supports to offer someone?

It’s on a case-by-case basis. Everyone has different support needs, and the NDIS tries to cater to these.

To receive NDIS supports, you will have had a meeting with an NDIS planner. In this meeting, they will ask you questions (and it’s a lot of questions) to help them work out your needs.

Then they have some criteria that they go through to decide if a support should be included in your plan. You can find those operational guidelines here.

But essentially, it comes down to the following questions:

  • Is it reasonable and necessary?
  • Is it something that the NDIS actually covers? Or is it something that the individual or another system takes care of?
  • Is it in line with your goals? Goals are a big thing in NDIS-land, so it’s important that the goal setting is done properly.
  • Is it good value for money?
  • Is it likely to be effective and beneficial to you?
  • Does it take in to account what is reasonable to expect of your family, carers, informal networks and community?

Thank you to our Clinton for being in the photo for this blog.

Contact us to find out how we can support you

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