How to speak NDIS

25 common phrases you need to know

Sometimes the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can feel like another language – so we’ve decided to treat it like one!

If you’re new to the world of the NDIS, it might feel like a bit of a maze, so it’s important for you to understand the common terms, acronyms and definitions used by the NDIS.

Here’s a guide to help get you fluent in NDIS in no time.

Regular English NDIS speak
How you check if you are eligible for the NDIS. Access request form
You can make your own decisions about your life and choose when, where and what supports you receive.  Choice and control
The ways you are involved in your community. Community engagement
The kinds of support you pay for. Formal supports
The kinds of supports you don’t pay for. For example, things that your family or friends might help you with. Informal supports
NDIA staff who help link you to information and support in the community and make sure it is more welcoming for people with a disability. Local Area Coordinators
Services that provide support to a range of people (not just people with a disability). Mainstream services
A team of people with different skills working together to support someone with disability. Multidisciplinary team
The organisation that runs the NDIS. National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
An independent agency that aims to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services. Find out more about their role and everything they do. NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
Someone who can make decisions for a person that needs help with the NDIS, but does not have a parent or guardian to make these decisions. Nominee
Someone who has an NDIS plan and receives funding. Participant
A summary of key things about you like your living arrangement, a list of who is important to you, the supports you need and access, your schedule for the day, and your goals and aspirations. Participant statement
The document that has your goals and what your funding and support is for. This is what your NDIS plan could look like. Plan
A really long list of what everything costs under the NDIS. Price Guide
Someone who is waiting to hear whether they will be covered under the NDIS. Prospective participant
An individual or an organisation that delivers support or a product. Provider
When a person’s mental health issues cause disability. Psychosocial disability
The process you go through if there is a decision in your plan that you think is wrong. Review of decisions
This is something that helps your pursue your goals and live independently.
Reasonable is something that is fair.
Necessary is something you have to have because of your disability.
Reasonable and necessary
A document that explains what supports you will receive from a provider and how much it will cost. It will also explain what you are responsible for, and what your provider is responsible for. Service agreement
Respite - time you spend outside of your usual living arrangements. Short-term accommodation
The things that help you do your day-to-day activities to be part of the community and reach your goals. Supports
Someone who can help you find mainstream and other disability services. Support Coordinator
The businesses and organisations that provide services to people with disability and represent them. The Sector

And the acronyms…

Oh, the acronyms.

There are just so many.

Hopefully, this can provide some clarity:

  • NDIS: National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • NDIA: National Disability Insurance Agency
  • ECEI: Early Childhood Early Intervention
  • AAT: Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • DSP: Disability Support Pension
  • DSS: Department of Social Services
  • LAC: Local Area Coordinators
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
  • ILC: Information, Linkages and Capacity Building services
  • NDS: the Australian peak body for non-government disability services
  • SIL: Supported Independent Living
  • SDA: Specialist Disability Accommodation

Need NDIS help?

We love talking about the NDIS ‐ you can give us a call on 1800 112 112 or email us at

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