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Disability Loop eNews Summer Issue #44
Disability Loop - Are you in the loop? AFDO Logo with wording "Australian Federation of Disability Organisations"

Welcome to AFDO Disability Loop


A good way to find out more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Hello <<First Name>>,

Welcome to AFDO Disability Loop eNews for Summer 2019. In this edition, you will find recent news about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and helpful NDIS-related resources either from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) or from other organisations. 

Strong, consistent NDIS quality and safeguards are now in place in New South Wales and South Australia

[Image description: three individuals are sitting on a table outside with drinks and food on the table. One individual is smiling at the camera, the other two are looking at the individual.]

An independent Commonwealth government agency has been established, called the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission). 
The NDIS Commission’s role is to promote safe and quality services for NDIS participants.  The NDIS Commission is led by NDIS Commissioner, Mr Graeme Head.
The NDIS Commission started in New South Wales and South Australia on 1 July 2018. It will start in all other states on 1 July 2019, except Western Australia which will start on 1 July 2020. Until the NDIS Commission starts operating in each state, current state or territory rules for quality and safeguards continue to apply.
The introduction of the NDIS Commission means:
  • A new NDIS Code of Conduct now applies to NDIS providers and workers.
  • Registered providers need to meet new NDIS Practice Standards, report certain types of incidents and any restrictive practices, and have a strong complaints system in place.
  • Participants can contact the NDIS Commission if they have a concern or want to make a complaint.
For more information, visit the NDIS Commission website:

New participant plan format

In November, the NDIA released a new NDIS participant plan format. This new plan format is designed to be easy to read, and written with a focus on each person’s individual goals. 
The new plan format was developed after working with NDIS participants who have asked for a plan which is easier to read, understand and implement.
The main changes to the new plan format are: 
  • A clearer layout and definition of funded supports;
  • Stronger alignment of mainstream, community, informal and NDIS funded supportstoeach participant goal;
  • A more user-friendly design;
  • Clearer information on where to get help, including an NDIS primary point of contact; and
  • Wording that is easier to understand when describing funded support categories. 
All participants will receive plans in the new format if they have an NDIS plan approved after 3 November 2018. The new plan format is available in braille, in print, and online in the NDIS Participant Portal.
More information about the new plan format can be found on the NDIS website at:

NDIA self-management webinar 

The NDIA held a national NDIS webinar on Self-Management recently. Self-management is when you manage your own NDIS funding. This webinar gave everyone the opportunity to hear about self-management, how it works and the benefits.
A new NDIS Guide to Self-Management has been launched, which provides more support for those who self-manage their plans. The Guide answers some of the questions people have about self-management.
A recording of the webinar including a transcript in different file formats is now available on the NDIS website. View the webinar at:
You can get a copy of the NDIS Guide to Self-Management, by downloading an electronic copy from the NDIS website at:
You can also ask for a print or braille copy to be sent to you by calling the NDIS National Call Centre on 1800 800 110.

Free NDIS workshops in Victoria

[Image description: a green covered picture with three stick figures facing the whiteboard that has 'ndis' written on it. Another figure is pointing at the whiteboard.]

We are rolling out more NDIS workshops across Victoria this year. Our “Understanding the NDIS” workshops are designed by people with disability, for people with disability and their families and carers. 
This three-hour workshop will cover lots of different parts of the NDIS, including knowing if you are eligible for the NDIS, working out what support you can get in your NDIS plan, to actually using the funds in your NDIS plan to live a better life in the community. 
We will hold the same workshop three times in each area, on different days and times.  So you can choose which day and time suits you best.  
Our next set of workshops will be held in March in the Goulburn region, most likely at Shepparton, and in the Mallee region, most likely at Swan Hill.  In each region, we will hold one workshop on a weekday, one workshop in the evening, and one workshop on a weekend.  We will have more information for you soon, but please feel free to contact us at AFDO if you would like to attend a workshop. You can contact us by phone on 1800 219 969 or by email at:
You can also learn more about our NDIS workshops and register, by visiting our Disability Loop website “events” page:

MHA report on the NDIS approach to psychosocial disability 

Mental Health Australia (MHA) has released a report on the existing NDIS approach to psychosocial disability. This report came from a lot of work done by the NDIA and MHA hearing from participants with a psychosocial disability about how the NDIS can be improved. The report can be downloaded at:
MHA will be working with the NDIA on implementing a range of improvements to the NDIS pathway for people with psychosocial disability. “Pathway” means the experience that people have with getting into the NDIS, getting an NDIS plan and putting it into action.

Government announces improved NDIS mental health support

In October, the Federal Government announced a new “psychosocial disability stream” for the NDIS. This means people with severe and ongoing mental health issues will have better access and support in the Scheme. Psychosocial disabilities are those that may come from severe and ongoing mental health issues.
The new stream is an important step for the NDIS in providing better support to about 64,000 Australians with psychosocial disability, as well as their families and carers. 
The new stream will be implemented progressively and includes: 
  • the employment of specialised planners and Local Area Coordinators; 
  • better connections between mental health services and NDIA staff 
  • a focus on recovery-based planning and episodic needs.
For more information, read the full media release at:

A chat with NDIA CEO Rob De Luca about changes

[Image description: a photo of Rob De Luca, CEO of NDIA looking away from the camera and sitting on a chair.]

Every Australian Counts (EAC) is made up of thousands of people with a disability, their families, carers, and supporters. EAC successfully fought to have the NDIS introduced, and now they work hard to keep improving the NDIS. 
EAC has been holding “NDIS Make it Work” forums around Australia where people are asking questions about changes that the NDIA is making to the NDIS planning process and pathways.  
EAC’s Executive Director, Kirsten Deane interviewed Rob De Luca, CEO of NDIA about some of the recent changes the NDIA is making to the Participant Pathways. You can watch this interview at:

National guideline for autism assessment and diagnosis

The Federal Government has released a national standard for diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This will help to make diagnoses more consistent across Australia.
The development of the national guideline was funded by the NDIA. The guideline was developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) along with more than 1000 autistic adults, family members, clinicians, and policymakers. ASD is a complex condition with increasing numbers of people living with it in Australia. 
You can read more about this in the press release at:

Participant transport funding information

An NDIS participant will generally be able to access funding through the NDIS for transport assistance if the participant cannot use public transport without a lot of difficulties because of their disability. The funding takes into account any relevant taxi subsidy scheme, and will not cover transport assistance for carers to transport their family member with a disability for everyday commitments.
There are three levels of support for transport assistance, as set out below. The three levels are used to provide a transport budget for participants. NDIA reviews the amounts yearly to align them with the cost of living.
Level 1 - The NDIS will provide up to $1,606 per year for participants who are not working, studying or attending day programs but are seeking to enhance their community access.
Level 2 - The NDIS will provide up to $2,472 per year for participants who are currently working or studying part-time (up to 15 hours a week), participating in day programs and for other social, recreational or leisure activities.
Level 3 - The NDIS will provide up to $3,456 per year for participants who are currently working, looking for work, or studying, at least 15 hours a week, and are unable to use public transport because of their disability.
There is more information at:

New Participant Booklets

The NDIA has released three new participant booklets:
Booklet 1 – Understanding the NDIS.  This booklet covers:  
  • Learning about the NDIS
  • Deciding whether to apply for the NDIS
  • Accessing the NDIS
Booklet 2 – Planning. This booklet covers: 
  • Understanding your current supports
  • Creating an NDIS plan to reach your goals
  • Receiving an approved NDIS plan
Booklet 3 – Using your NDIS Plan.  This booklet covers:  
  • Understanding what’s in your plan
  • Learning how to use your plan
  • Choosing and managing supports and services
  • Reviewing your plan and progress
The booklets provide practical information for participants, potential participants, their families, carers and the wider community to use throughout their NDIS journey. As a key resource in navigating the NDIS, the booklets are intended for use throughout a participant’s journey and can be used to record key information, write questions and collect thoughts.
You can download a copy of the participant booklets from the NDIS website at:
Easy English versions of the booklets are also available from the website. Braille and print copies and versions in languages other than English are also available from the NDIA and their Partner Offices or by contacting the NDIA Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.

Find out how Support Coordination works

You can learn the answers to the following questions about Support Coordination if you go to:
  • What is support coordination?
  • How can a Support Coordinator help me?
  • What's the difference between support coordination and specialist support coordination?
  • Where do I get a Support Coordinator from?
  • Is there a difference between self-managing and support coordination?
  • If I self-manage or plan manage my plan, will I still be able to receive funding for support coordination?
  • Can I change to a different provider if I'm not happy with the support I am receiving?
  • I am developing a service agreement with a Support Coordinator, what questions should I ask before signing anything?
  • How can I become a support coordination provider?

Understanding Your Care: A Guide to the NDIS 

This is the title of a brief guide to the NDIS that has been developed by Australian Women Online. It can be found at:

Deciding on your NDIS goals

The NDIS provides an exciting opportunity for people with disabilities to reach their goals. Most adults have some ideas about goals they would like to achieve in their life – to have meaningful work, happy relationships, travel overseas - but what are goals when it comes to the NDIS? 
The VALID (Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability) team works with people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters every day and has supported many people in their first NDIS planning meeting. 
Here are some of VALID’s tips for you when creating your NDIS goals:

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Agreements

You probably have questions about Service Agreements. VALID has put together some answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions they receive to clear up the confusion. Even though the answers refer in part to Victoria, the information applies to everyone across Australia. 
These questions and answers about service agreements can be found at:

Are you in the loop?

Stay up-to-date with information about the NDIS by following the links below to our website, Facebook and Twitter pages. 

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2019 Disability Loop

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