As the end of the financial year approaches we are moving to the second year of the NDIS rollout. It is important that you know Headway is determined to provide the advocacy and ongoing support you need to get the best possible outcome whether you are an NDIS participant, or not. The following explanations might assist you to understand our role and how we can assist you.
ADVOCACY: Headway ADP has a history of strong advocacy. We are absolutely determined to support you before, during and after your plan is published. This means assisting you to get the best outcome in terms of funding, support and services. We regard it as a privilege to walk alongside you when you feel you need us. You do not need to meet a planner (see below) without our support. You can choose where you wish to see them: I.e. In your home, at Headway or somewhere else.
PLANNER: A term used to describe the person who calls you from the Agency (or on the agency’s behalf) to interview you and collect information so a plan can be costed and developed. The person can be from government (NDIA) or a partner (St Vincent’s De Paul or Uniting). People who work for St Vinnie’s and Uniting are called LACS (Local Area Coordinators) and will have a badge with the NDIS and company logo. Our strong advice is to refuse phone interviews or interviews at the premises of the agency or their part-ners without support.
EVIDENCE: All decisions by the Agency should be evidence based. This means that medical reports, partic-ularly from your treating doctors and therapists are extremely important. If you don’t have current evi-dence or information, make sure you talk to us. Evidence is not about a planner’s opinions, but should be based on observations (by an experienced worker/carer) and facts.
REVIEW: If you are unhappy with an NDIS plan or an NDIS decision you can request a review. A review of a decision can take some time (up to 3 months) so it is best to commit existing funding in the hope that the review may increase or improve funding amounts. Headway ADP can assist you to submit a review. You will often need evidence from a doctor or allied health professional to support the review.
CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES: If your health deteriorates or your informal supports (carers or friends) are no longer able to assist you with daily activities including social activities, Headway ADP can assist you in lodging a Change of circumstances request. You will often need evidence from an allied health professional or doctor to support this change. If the agency accept these changes, you will be given a new plan commencement date. Please advise us immediately if there is the need for an emergency response.
FORMAL SUPPORTS: Are supports that generally cost money and provide a service. E.g. A cleaning ser-vice, someone who assists you with transport, someone who takes you shopping or to an appointment, a therapist.
INFORMAL SUPPORTS: When the NDIA planners or LACS assess your needs they will ask a lot of questions about informal supports: e.g. family or friends who may assist you with your day to day activities and needs. Before you speak to planners you should talk to Headway. At present we see a number of plans approved that overstate the amount of informal supports available to a person with an ABI on a day to day basis. This can mean that plans are not adequately funded and that families (particularly elderly carers) bear an unreasonable burden.
REASONABLE AND NECESSARY: The NDIA talks about reasonable and necessary supports. These are the supports and funded items you need to enjoy and participate in daily life that does not include direct health care costs. It can include personal care, transport, social activities and where approved, technology and equipment.
UNMET NEEDS: AS people transition to the NDIS we may identify a number of needs that have not been met by previous packages or services. These should be taken into consideration when you have your interview with an NDIA planner or LAC.
PLAN: The NDIS plan contains costings and information about your approved NDIS plan. It will be sent to you after you have an interview with a planner or a Local Area Coordinator. The plan can be viewed online but will also be sent to you in hard copy.
MY GOV PORTAL: You will receive information that will allow you to log in and see your plan and details on line. If you have difficulty setting this up please contact Headway ADP.
SERVICE AGREEMENT: If you decide that you would like services from a particular provider you should be asked to develop and sign off on a service agreement. This will ensure that you only get the services that you request and agree to. The plan should indicate the hours of service activity and give you clear information on costs, as well as how to plan your week.
FUNDING: Remember that NDIS funding is a “virtual fund”. The money does not go into your bank account with one exception (travel funds) which is paid to replace mobility allowance. The important thing to remember is that you need to use your funds as per your plan. Headway can help you in designing a program, delivering services and liaising with other providers to set up your weekly activities and assistance. This is often easier than trying to set up these arrangements without support, and collecting invoices to claim money back from the government.
FUTURE GOALS: Whilst many first plans do not address future needs it is envisaged that as the scheme matures participants will benefit from acquiring new skills, growing independence and living more fulfilling lives. Your future goals are important, as it may drive the things you do now. The idea is that a plan will change as things in your life change and you grow.
SUPPORT COORDINATION: If you feel unable to organise your activities or would like some assistance putting your plan into place, Headway ADP is here to help. Headway is also prepared to assist you to appeal where these supports are needed but remain unfunded.
If you have more questions about the NDIS or need assistance understanding any of the terms/language above, please let your key worker know. We are your service and we are hear to make your
NDIS journey as easy as possible.