Miranda & Mary

Changes to NDIS planning process and participant plans

 Last week, the NDIA released information around future changes to early intervention, access and the planning processes, including 3 consultation papers due in February 2021.

The focus of this blog is to highlight the changes to the access and planning processes.   

                 CURRENT                                 FUTURE


  • A person with disability makes an access request and provides evidence of age, residency and disability including likely to be permanent. 

  • A person with disability makes an access request and provides evidence of age, residency and disability including likely to be permanent.
  • The person also provides evidence of significant impact on functional capacity

  • NDIA makes a decision if person with disability meets the access criteria.  
  • NDIA makes a decision based on all evidence provided if person with disability meets the access requirements. 
  • If yes, then person is referred for an Independent Assessment based on agreed tools, by a qualified allied health professional.  A report is provided to the NDIA to confirm person meets the significant functional capacity requirements.  


  • Once access is approved, a planning meeting is scheduled to discuss the participant's goals, informal, community and mainstream supports and any unmet need.  

  • A NDIA delegate uses the information provided within the report (from the Independent Assessment) to develop the participant's budget and considers any other supports required.
  • After the meeting the LAC/NDIA Planner generate a Typical Support Package and make adjustments to the budgets based on reasonable and necessary criteria and a NDIA delegate approves the plan. 

  • The participant receives a draft NDIS plan and a meeting is scheduled to discuss their goals, community and mainstream supports and how the budget can be used.  
  • The participant's NDIS plan includes funding across Core, Capital and Capacity Building budgets. 
  • The NDIS plan is finalised either during or after the meeting with any additional supports required.  Funds are allocated to a "fixed" or "flexible" budget with agreed intervals to release the budget. 
  • A copy of the NDIS plan is provided to the participant. 

  • A copy of the final NDIS plan is provided to the participant. 

Some observations...

  • Independent Assessments will become part of the Access process and will have a major role in influencing the planning process as well.  However, there will be an increased focus on not just the "functional capacity", but also the "physical, social and attitudinal environment" in which a person with disability lives.  
  • A funding level, allocated on a participant's NDIS plan, will be recommended based on the outcome of an Independent Assessment.

  • There will no longer be core, capital and capacity building budgets.  There will only be budgets that are "flexible" and "fixed".  
  • Funding will not be available to draw down based on evidence of expenditure e.g. receipts, service bookings etc. Funding will be released either on a monthly or quarterly basis.  
  • Participant plans will be ongoing, as they will not "end" or "cease" but continue until they are replaced by a new plan after an Independent Assessment.  Plans can be anywhere from a minimum of 3 months up to a maximum of 5 years, before another Independent Assessment is required.
  • A "Check in" is a new term to describe checking in on a participant to see how they are managing their plan without the need for a formal review.
  • A participant may initiate a check in, or the NDIA may identify a check in is required sooner based on circumstances changing in a participant's life e.g. leaving school, a change in living or informal support arrangements, or a participant is identified as being at risk or vulnerable.  

The proposed changes are due to occur in Mid 2021 for people with disability applying for Access.  By the end of 2021, participants will be required to undertake an Independent Assessment as part of their plan review process.

At this point in time, it is absolutely UNCLEAR how this will impact on the Support Coordination role, as nothing has been mentioned in the Consultation paper around how participants with high and complex supports needs, will be supported to implement their NDIS plan and achieve their goals.  I guess it is more of Watch This Space!

Have a look at the consultation papers available on the NDIS website for more information, and to find out how you can "have your say".  
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