Quick Guide to access the NDIS

Here is a quick guide to what you need to do:

  1. Go to the NDIS website and complete the online NDIS Access Checklist.
  2. If deemed eligible make contact with the NDIS and leave your details to receive the appropriate paperwork. Ph: 1800 800 110 or 121 Henry St, Penrith NSW 2750 (located behind the ATO building). Complete and return the relevant documents to the NDIS.
  3. Start planning and noting all the supports you currently use. Think about some goals you would like to achieve.
  4. Attend your planning meeting with the NDIS or LAC – you can have a support person with you during this meeting. Your planner will contact you once the plan has been completed. Ensure that you review the plan and understand what it includes.
  5. If you aren’t happy with your plan, you can have a discussion with your planner, if you feel that this isn’t solving the issue, you can request an internal review – this has to happen within 3 months. For more information please see the NDIS website or contact our office for a copy of the relevant forms.
  6. When you are satisified with your plan, notify your providers that you have an implemented plan. Sign service agreements with providers you are wanting to access.
  7. You will be contacted by the NDIS when the plan is up for review (11-12 months).

Extra Information and Resources:

EMPOWERability Inc. NDIS Planning Tool – we have designed this tool for families to complete and give to your planner at the initial planning meeting.

There is a more in depth guide to the NDIS journey below. There are links throughout to the relevant sections on the NDIS website.

From the NDIS website:

Getting Plan Ready

NDIS Understanding and self-directing my NDIS Plan

Reasonable and Necessary

NDIA Price Guide

Review of decisions

Access Request Form/ Pre-Planning

The first step on your NDIS journey is to check that you are eligible for the NDIS. You can check online here. The criteria set by the NDIS for eligibility are:

  • Be an Australia Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Be under 65 years of age.
  • Your impairment substantially reduces your ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions.
  • Have an impairment or condition that is likely to be permanent.

If you meet the above call the NDIS on 1800 800 110 and ask for an “access request form“. You will need to provide some information to the NDIS including the participants name, date of birth, residential and postal address. The access request form will be mailed to you. You will need to complete the form and return to the NDIS with copies of relevant evidence, including supporting documentation in relation to diagnosis and functional ability. You might need to speak with your current doctors or treating therapists for reports or extra information.

When preparing for you planning meeting the important thing is that you start planning early.
Tips for planning:

  • Write down everything you do, make a diary, understand what types of supports you have now, therapies, equipment, sleeping patterns, continence aids etc.
  • Do you want anything to change? Do you like your current providers? Would you like something different?
  • Think about some goals. What would you like to achieve? What is something that you really want to do that you haven’t been able to? Sometimes goals can be around maintaining current health status.
  • There are many templates available on the internet for planning. The NDIS can provide you with a planning booklet. Above is a link to our planning document. There is no right and wrong when planning and setting goals. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as it works for you. It is a good idea to have a prepared document to give to you planner so that they can work off what you have already developed.
  • Think about who is going to financially manage your plan – that is who is going to pay the bills. There is some information on the NDIS website or below is an easy read guide to the options.


You will be contacted by the NDIS or a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to arrange your initial planning meeting. This meeting can take place where you are most comfortable, at your home, at the NDIS office etc. You also have a right as to the medium of this meeting, it can be face to face or over the phone. It is important you feel comfortable during this process, whichever options you chose. You are able to take a support person into the planning meeting with you. This can be another family member, an advocate or someone from a service that you trust.

This planning meeting is about identifying what you want to achieve, what is important to you and what you might need to help you. Be honest and open with your planner and give them as much information as possible so that they understand your life. You will talk about what your life looks like now, what you would like it to look like, things you like, supports you have already and what works and doesn’t work.

The planner will then put together your plan and contact you when it is completed. The plan can look confusing – don’t panic. If you are confused and don’t understand, tell the planner, ask the planner to explain it again, you can always ask to come back with someone who might be able to assist you – a support person. Remember that this plan is about you, this whole scheme is about placing you with all the choice and control.

There are three options for the financial management of the plan. They are:

  • NDIA managed – all the organisations or providers that you engage with will have to be registered with the NDIA, and they will send the invoice of the supports directly to the NDIA through the portal.
  • Self-managed – the participant (or nominee) will be responsible for paying the organisations for supports. The invoices will be sent to you, and then you will have to claim the funds back from the NDIA through the portal to them pay your providers. Under self-management you are not restricted to only using NDIA registered providers.
  • Plan Managed – a third party is involved and they are responsible for paying the invoices. You will have to notify your providers of your plan manager and invoices will be sent directly to them. The plan manager will pay the invoices and claim back from the NDIA portal. Under plan managed you do not have to use registered providers.

All of these options have benefits and flaws, talk to other people about what they prefer, or to your providers about what options might suit you.

At no point will you sign off on a NDIS plan, the NDIA have the authority to implement a plan when they have completed it. If there is a part or parts of your plan that you are not satisfied with you can request an internal review. This means that another planner will be involved in the planning process. There is an application form for the review that you can complete here, however you can also request this review verbally. Please remember that is important for the NDIA to have as much information about what decision you aren’t satisfied with.

After the internal review has occurred and you are still not satisfied with the decision you can apply for a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). You must have had an internal review before you can apply for the AAT. For further information on the application process or to apply please click here or call 1800 228 333.

The NDIA encourage feedback on the planning process and have a complaints process. Please see their website for further information.

After all of that, if you are satisified with your plan it is time to implement.

Please note – you can implement your plan whilst undergoing an internal review.


OK breathe – you are now at the implementation stage!

Now it is time to sort out what service providers you want to implement your plan.

You do not have to share your plan with your service provider/s – that is your choice.

For easy reference here is a brief guide for what cluster/category can be used for. This is only a simple guide it is not in depth or comprehensive.

  • Core Supports – this category can include a budget for consumables, which will cover continence products and feeding equipment. This category can also include in home and community access supports.
  • Assistive Technology – this category is for specialised equipment that is deemed reasonable and necessary. It can also include vehicle modifications.
  • Improved Daily Living – this categrory is generally used for therapeutic supports, including, but not limited to, speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and therapy assistant.
  • Improved Living Arrangements – this category is for support to ensure the participant obtains or retains appropriate accommodation, including applications for rentals etc.
  • Increased Social and Community Participation – this category is for community based supports, including group programs that can assist with the participant to become more independent in the community.
  • Improved Relationships – this category can include behaviour support for complex or unclear needs.
  • Improved Health & Well-being – this category can be used for exercise physiology, maintain physical mobility or a dietitian.
  • Improved Life Choices – the category will include the funding to allow the plan to be managed by a third party – aka “plan manager”.
  • Support Coordination – this category is to assist the participant strengthen their abilities to connect and coordinate supports.

OK now to your providers.

There are many variables here, and this is just designed as a guide to answer some questions. Here is a list of somethings you might want to talk to your providers about:

  • Service Agreements – these are not a necessity however it is best practice to have a written agreement in place, for both you and the organisation. The service agreement can outline cancellation fees, rates you will be charged, exit clauses from agreements, how service will be delivered etc.
  • Service bookings – this is only applicable if your NDIS plan is managed by the NDIA. A service booking is an allocated amount for each provider, to ensure they are paid for services provided. You will have to agree with your provider on an amount, and they can create the booking on the NDIS portal.
  • Budgeting – for each category you will need to think about how much money you need for each service. e.g. in the Improved Daily Living category you may have $5,000, but you want to receive Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Therefore you would want to talk to your providers about having $2,500 for each of the therapy categories.This money budgeting is now the responsibility of the participant and their family, however here is a template that might assist you through the process.


NDIS Portal
Your NDIS plan can be linked to your MyGov account and you will be able to see the current status of your plan e.g. how much money out of each category has been billed, your current service bookings (if applicable), when your plan will expire and how much of your budget you have remaining.

Still Need Help?

If you are still unsure about what to do or where to start, you can contact the NDIS directly for further guidance.
Otherwise talk to your current providers, as they will be able to offer some guidance. There are also online groups on Facebook that might be beneficial.
Else you can contact Disability Advocacy for further assistance.