Preparing for an NDIS meeting

Flourish Australia Murrumbidgee NDIS Support Officer Ash Credlin and Flourish Australia NDIS Business Manager Mark Cliff

National Disability Insurance Service (NDIS) providers have been ramping up their efforts to ensure local people with a disability are ready for its Tumut roll-out on July 1.

Transitioning to the NDIS involves a meeting between the person with a disability, potentially a support person, and a Local Area Coordinator (LAC). The LAC will decide, based on that meeting, what sort of support the person is eligible for – so there’s a lot of pressure on people with disabilities and their carers to communicate their needs exactly right.

Currently, a range of providers are offering advice and preparation plans for this meeting, with mental health recovery service Flourish Australia holding a workshop in Tumut on Wednesday this week.

The meeting began with a fairly accurate representation of how many people feel about the NDIS – when asked about what words they associated with the program, locals answered with “confused,” and “overwhelmed,” a sentiment that seems to be shared by the majority who have come into contact with the program.

The NDIS involves more money going towards the disability sector, with the amount jumping from $11 billion to $22 billion a year. The second major change is in how the money will be distributed.

Prior to the NDIS, government money would be distributed to support services, like Flourish and Valmar, who would then allocate the funds to various programs as per government guidelines.

Now, each person with a disability is allocated a certain amount of money themselves based on their needs, (provided their needs are reasonable and necessary).

They still have to spend the money on their allocated support services, it’s not a blank cheque, but the funding is based on the needs of Australians with disabilities and not the providers.

People with disabilities are free to get the services they need from a range of different providers, which means that the person with a disability has more choice and flexibility in getting what they need, and the element of competition incentivises providers to offer better services.

However, it also means that the onus is on the person with a disability and their carer to communicate what they need in their meeting with the LAC, with a review usually not available for 12 months.

Flourish’s Murrumbidgee NDIS Officer Ash Credlin encouraged people who are apprehensive about this meeting to call him at 02 9393 9520 or 0400003407 to arrange a conversation, free of charge, to prepare for their LAC meeting.

They can also generally find out more about the NDIS or if they might be eligible due to their mental health condition.

They suggested preparing materials explaining:

  • List everything you do on a typical day, including things like getting up, showering, making a cup of coffee, etc.
  • What does a good day look like for you?
  • What does a bad day look like for you?
  • What help do you currently get? Go into details like how often they help you and exactly what help you receive.
  • What would you like to be able to do that you are not able to currently do?
  • If you have a mental health problem, does it come in episodes, and what does a bad episode look like for you?
  • What you do normally do during the week? What is your favourite thing to do during the week? What is your least favourite?

    People in Tumut have began receiving phone calls notifying them of their participation in the scheme, with this expected to continue over the next year.