Allan McCorquodale from Port Stephens, NSW has recently gone through the NDIS planning process with his wife Lesley who had a stroke about 19 years ago and requires a high level of support.
Currently Lesley receives support from a personal carer daily and community respite throughout the week.
Six weeks ago Allan was contacted by a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) and two of them came to his and Lesley’s home for a planning interview. They told him that they would gather the information required, collect the data, and then send it to the planners.
The two women spoke to the couple for two hours and went through everything, with one of the LACs taking notes.
Allan needed to purchase a new van in which to transport Lesley. Under the NDIS Allan pays for the van but the NDIS funding pays for the modifications (should they be approved). They needed the van to be modified with a hoist, just like previous vans they’d had.
Allan was looking to buy his van in SA by a specialist who modifies vans for people with a disability and then ships it to NSW. Allan had done his homework and knew this would save him several thousand dollars and as the business did many of these modifications, they’d be in safe hands. Currently they were without transport while they were waiting for the plan to be approved.
After four weeks Allan hadn’t heard anything so he called the NDIA to find out the status of Lesley’s plan in the hope he could get the van order underway. He got through to someone in Adelaide who asked him where his local office was. He didn’t know as he’d not been told and not had any follow up for four weeks from the LACs.
Allan was put through to Newcastle and was asked who their planner was, to which he didn’t know as he’d never been told. He then went back to his original LAC and was told that the planners needed more information – questions Allan said he’d already been asked.
He was told he had to buy the van first then get it assessed by the occupational therapist. Allan was not keen to do this, because it would cost him thousands extra to buy it locally and he’d have to ship it to SA for the modifications. They’d always had the hoist in the van and that could be verified. The LAC agreed to take this forward for Allan.
As of today, six weeks later, Allan and Lesley are still waiting to hear on the status of her plan and whether they are able to proceed with buying the van in SA, with the modifications already completed.
Thankfully, in the interim, Lesley’s existing funding continues until the NDIS funding is approved.
Allan’s advice to others would be to prepare thoroughly and learn about what is available under the NDIS that you may not have been able to access before. He said, “I imagine for someone who hasn’t had services previously it would be pretty hard. It’s hard to know what you need if you haven’t been getting it before. We just don’t want to lose anything”.
Allan also recommended support coordination and plan management as part of plans, to help ease the day-to-day load of carers in selecting and managing finances and supports.
"We expect to pretty much carry on as we did before the NDIS, in terms of what we access, although we are hoping to be approved for a few more short term respite stays”, he said.
UPDATE - 26/09/16 - Allan contacted us to say his plan has just this week been approved (about 10 weeks after his first meeting) and he has an OT assessment booked next week. Great news!