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Disability Loop eNews Issue #46
Winter 2019  19/07/2019
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 Disability Loop eNews for winter 2019. Here 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.

Common words used in this newsletter

1.    NDIA – National Disability Insurance Agency
2.    Participants - participants are people who get support from the NDIS
3.    Consent – to give permission or say “yes.”
4.    ATHM - Assistive Technology and Home Modification 


Understanding the NDIS Video Series

During 2018-19, AFDO Disability Loop conducted a series of workshops called “Understanding the NDIS”, for people with disability, families and carers. If you could not attend a workshop in person, we have filmed the workshop so that you don’t miss out. 

The workshop explains important NDIS information in plain, easy to understand language. It helps people with disability and their families to understand the NDIS better, and have more confidence in dealing with the NDIA.

There are nine videos, and all videos include captioning, Auslan, and audio description. A transcript for each video is also available. These videos are on the AFDO YouTube channel  


Understanding the NDIS Resources

We have made available our “Understanding the NDIS” workshop resources which include word and PDF documents.  

The list of resources available are: 
•    NDIS Workshop Handbook 
•    Fact sheet 1 - History of the NDIS
•    Fact sheet 2 - Eligibility for NDIS
•    Fact sheet 3 - What does Reasonable & Necessary mean?
•    Fact sheet 4 - Managing your NDIS Plan
•    Fact sheet 5 -  Complaining about the NDIS or your Provider
You can access these resources via this link below:

We also have braille and print hard copies available for $10.  This includes the Workshop Handbook and the five fact sheets (inclusive of GST & postage within Australia).  If you are interested in purchasing hardcopies in print or braille, please call us on 1800 219 969 or email regarding purchasing these hard copies.


Supporting privacy and consent for participants

The NDIA recently stressed that they strongly support participants’ rights to privacy, so they have trained their staff on how to help participants who want to give consent to another person to act on their behalf, or make decisions for them.

Participants are presumed to have the capacity to make decisions that affect their own lives. However, the Agency supports participants’ rights to have another person act on their behalf. The NDIA appreciates the important role advocates and others play in supporting a participant when interacting with the NDIA.

In order to act on behalf of a participant, a person must have the authority to do so. Parents, known as child representatives, plan nominees and officially appointed decision-makers (including guardians) already have the legal authority to do this.
Other representatives must have written consent from the participant, or their child representative, plan nominee, or guardian to act on the participant’s behalf. This means the Agency will need to have a written record of the participant’s express consent for someone like a legal representative, disability advocate, family member or friend to act on their behalf.

To support participants and their support network who want to give this consent, the NDIA has clearly outlined what the process is to all NDIA and partner staff. They are also working on an improved Consent Form to make the process simpler and clearer for all. These changes are partly as a result of disability advocates providing feedback to the NDIA to improve participants’ experience with the Scheme on this issue.


NDIS Progress

Recently, the NDIA shared news of how they are progressing with the rollout and carrying out of the NDIS. Here is some of what they told us. Close to 280,000 participants are now benefitting from the NDIS. This includes 85,000 participants who are receiving disability supports for the first time in their lives.

However, the NDIA is concerned that not every participant has the experience that the NDIA wants them to have, or that the Scheme is intended to deliver. The NDIA is working to address these issues. This includes improving the service or people with complex needs and making the processes easier for quoting and claiming for Assistive Technology and Home Modifications (ATHM). 

For the rest of 2019, the NDIA will focus on making sure they get the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach right for families and work on fixing the long wait times experienced by participants.


Specialised ATHM Assessment Pilot

In April, the NDIA commenced the trial of a new approach to assessment and planning for participants with complex or non-standard Assistive Technology and Home Modification (ATHM) needs.

Participants selected to take part in the trial (known as the pilot), will be referred to an independent ATHM Assessor for a pre-planning assessment.  The pilot will run from April to August 2019 in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Southern NSW, South West Sydney and ACT regions of the NDIS.

With this new approach, the NDIA aims to ensure that enough ATHM funding is included in NDIS plans at the plan approval stage, to reduce delays to participant’s being able to put their plans into action. The NDIA also want correct, fair ATHM plan outcomes for NDIS participants that are done in the same way for everyone.


NDIS booklets and fact sheets

There are many useful booklets, fact sheets and checklists that can help you understand how the NDIS works, prepare for a planning meeting and put your plan into action available on the NDIS website.
There are also Easy English resources that you can download. You will find them at


NDIS publications in languages other than English

The NDIA has a number of participant fact sheets and booklets available in languages other than English, including Auslan. You can find these resources at

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people with a disability and their supporters can also call the NDIA via the Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.


Federal Election Results

The Prime Minister has announced the first dedicated Minister responsible for the NDIS, Stuart Robert MP.  AFDO looks forward to working with the Minister to make the NDIS work better for people with disability and families.

As part of their election promises, the Federal Government has committed to: 
•    An NDIS Participant Service Guarantee by July 2020;
•    Immediate support for children who need assistive technology;
•    NDIS plans of up to three years;
•    A national disability information gateway to help families find services;
•    A national database of NDIS worker screening clearances.

The Service guarantee would set a timeframe for participants to receive an access decision and have their plan approved or reviewed. This should reduce the time taken for people with disability to access the NDIS and have their plan approved and implemented. 

There is also a commitment to introduce a single point of contact to the NDIS for participants, and to allow those with a “stable” disability to opt into a three-year plan, rather than being reviewed every 12 months.


NDIS Webinar About Assistive Technology

The NDIA hosted a one hour webinar about assistive technology (AT) in June. The panel discussed recent changes to AT processes and resources, how to prepare for an upcoming planning meeting where AT is needed, and how to escalate urgent AT issues with the NDIA.

The panel included NDIA staff and sector representatives with substantial experience with the NDIS and included Auslan interpreters and live captions.  If you missed this webinar, you can watch it via the link below:  

NDIS Correspondence Now Accessible to People who are Blind
Thanks to strong advocacy by Blind Citizens Australia and partner organisations, NDIS participants who are blind or vision impaired will now receive correspondence in their preferred format. 

The NDIA will introduce changes over the next few months which will allow participants to choose their preferred communication format and update their preferences via an NDIA representative, the National contact centre, or through the Participant Portal. Large font, audio, e-text and braille formats will be available. More information is available via the link below:


NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

From 1 July 2019, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will be operating in all states and territories of Australia except Western Australia. The Commission is an independent agency that works to improve the quality and safety of NDIS services and supports. You can contact the Commission if you haven't been able to resolve an issue with an NDIS provider.

For more information about how to make a complaint about NDIS services and supports, please visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website at


Consumers with Disability Educational Resources

A number of agencies that work in the area of protecting your rights as a consumer (meaning shopper) want to remind consumers with disability of the importance of understanding their rights when buying goods and services under the NDIS. They have put together a range of resources that are freely available, including videos, fact sheets and an Easy English Consumer Guide.

These resources have been designed to empower consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing products or services and to use their rights if something they have paid for is not right. There is also a fact sheet which provides information on where to seek help or advice for a complaint or issue. 

The resources are available in a variety of formats and languages to meet the accessibility needs of different people. The resources are available at no cost from

You can also request a printed copy of the resources through the website above.


ACD NDIS Workbook

The Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) has developed an NDIS Planning Workbook designed to help you prepare for your child’s first NDIS planning meeting.

The workbook has space for you to write down information, questions and ideas about the supports your child has now, and goals for the year ahead. You can download a copy of the NDIS Planning Workbook on their website:


NDIS Carers Handbook

This new handbook from Carers Victoria offers practical advice and support on how to achieve the best possible outcomes for people with care needs and those who support them. It includes information for carers about NDIS supports, respite, planning for the future, an NDIS glossary, and more. You can access the handbook from the Carers Victoria website:

There are also versions on this website in Turkish, Arabic, Vietnamese and Simple Chinese.


What to expect from your Support Coordinator

When you choose a Support Coordinator, the NDIA sends the Support Coordinator a “Request for Service” form which gives instructions about how they should implement your plan. 

The organisation, VALID, has released an article to explain the other things you should expect from your Support Coordinator. You can access this article at


Pre-planning Toolkit for Entering Higher Education or VET

The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) program has produced a set of resources called “NDIS Pre-planning Toolkit for People with Disability Entering Higher Education or Vocational Education and Training”. 

The toolkits are designed to be used before you start a tertiary course at university or with a vocational education and training provider.  These booklets will help you identify what supports you may need, who is responsible for providing them, and how you can access the supports.

There are eight specific resources for the most prevalent disability types accessing further education and training: Autism, Brain Injury, Blindness, Deafness, Physical Disability, Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, and Ongoing Health Conditions.

You can find the toolkit booklets and read more about these resources at


A Practical Guide to the NDIS for General Practitioners

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) has created a 60-page booklet for your GP to help them help you with your NDIS paperwork. The booklet is called the "General Practice Toolkit: Understanding your role in the NDIS", and is available at

Although the booklet makes some references to Queensland-specific things, the vast majority of the information will be of use to GP’s anywhere in Australia.


A positive meeting with the Prime Minister 

In June, Inclusion Australia and the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) supported a group of NDIS participants and their families when they met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert, to talk about how the NDIS can be made better. 

People with disability and family members spoke about their experiences with the NDIS – both positive and negative – and responded to questions from the Prime Minister.

They raised a number of issues, including the need for:
•    more accessible information for people with intellectual disability;
•    more flexibility in the NDIS;
•    more trust between the NDIS and people with disability; and
•    family sensitive planning processes and decisions.

To read more, please visit the Inclusion Australia website via the link below:

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