Understanding NDIS plans Image of book with writing “A little space to be creative” START COURSE DETAILS Logo Description This training is for NDIS service providers who want to know what NDIS plans look like and how to interpret them. User Guide: Navigating this training module To begin this training module, click the 'Start Course' button located below the course title. Alternatively, you can navigate the course by scrolling down to each lesson heading. Please note that the lessons must be completed sequentially, starting from the first heading titled 'Training Objectives.' It's essential to follow the chronological order of the lesson headings within the module. You cannot skip ahead to later lessons using the menu. Completion of all lessons is necessary to receive the Certificate of Completion. Duration: Approximately 30 minutes (you can close the training and pick up where you left off at a later date). Module Disclaimer The information in this module is general in nature. Every organisation does things differently and has different policies and procedures, so please interpret the content in this module with your organisation in mind and discuss any discrepancies with your line manager. Content and links in this training were correct at the time of publication. We check these regularly. However, if you find broken links or errors, please contact in a new tab). Last updated: March, 2024
Training objectives Lesson 1 of 10 Training objectives By the end of this module you will be able to: Explain each part of an NDIS plan to a participant Identify the types of supports that can be purchased with an NDIS plan Understand how NDIS funding can be used flexibly Image of open book Assumed knowledge This module focuses on understanding NDIS plans, that is, working with people who have already gained access to the NDIS and have been through the planning process. It assumes an understanding of the NDIS and the principles of the scheme, as well as the processes a person has been through up to this point (e.g., access and planning). We have training modules on these topics, which you can find on the training page of our website(opens in a new tab). NDIS explained NDIS access and psychosocial disability Preparing for NDIS planning meetings Reasonable and Necessary in the NDIS
What's in a plan? Lesson 2 of 10 All NDIS plans include: Information about the person, their daily life and the people who are important to them A statement of goals The mainstream and/or community services the person accesses The NDIS support categories for which a person has been funded, and the amount they can spend in each category The plan management method The contact details for the NDIA planner or Local Area Coordinator, who will be the participant's main NDIA contact person. Watch the 'Your NDIS Plan' video below for an overview. Video here The NDIS have developed a sample plan which you can download here: Please note: this sample plan may not be in the latest NDIA plan format. sampleparticipantplan.pdf 320.5 KB Provider tip The information included in plans often vary from one person to the next. I always like to ask people if there is anything else they want to tell me about themselves when we are looking at their plan together. Goals Revision: Why is a statement of goals and aspirations always included in NDIS plans? The NDIS only fund services that assist people toward achieving their goals It helps providers to understand what the person would like to achieve with their plan Providers need to make sure that the services they deliver are in line with a person's goals. SUBMIT All of these are correct. The statement of goals and aspirations is a really important part of a person's plan. A planner will use the goals to determine which supports are reasonable and necessary to include for a person, and all services and supports accessed using the plan funding must align with the goals. Mainstream and community supports Revision: Stop and think Why will you see information about informal and mainstream supports (e.g., those NOT funded by the NDIS) described in NDIS plans? The NDIS is about holistic, wraparound services Image of rings in sand Remember, the NDIS is designed not only to provide individualised funding, but also to strengthen existing supports and/or link people into other service systems that can help them to achieve their NDIS goals. Click on the flip cards below to see what we mean by mainstream, community and informal supports. For a more in-depth look at how the NDIS works alongside these other systems, see our Reasonable and Necessary Training Module. Click to flip Mainstream: Supports available to all Australians through the public system - e.g., health, justice, housing, transport. Click to flip Community: Supports that are available to everyone in the local community e.g., sports clubs, library services and community centres. Click to flip Informal: Friends, family and carers. Viewing a plan NDIS plans belong to the participant so you can only view a plan with the person's permission. The person may choose to share their plan with you in person or via email. They can also choose to share their plan via the myplace participant portal. You can find instructions for this on the NDIS website under 'sharing your NDIS plan'.
NDIS funding overview Lesson 3 of 10 NDIS funding is grouped into a number of categories. Plans will include a summary of the categories a person has been funded for. You can then use this information to find relevant services to be purchased with this funding. Support purpose There are three support budgets (core, capacity building and capital) that can be funded in a plan. For each support budget, there are a number of support categories that a person may be funded for. To know how to use the support category funding, you need to know which support purpose it falls under. Support categories There are 15 support categories. NDIS plans are funded at the support category level. These are essentially different “buckets” of NDIS funding that a person has in their plan. Support items Support items (or line items) refer to the actual services and supports that can be purchased for each support category. These are not usually listed in plans. Instead, you need to use your knowledge of the funding categories (and how they can be spent) to find appropriate support items.
NDIS support categories Lesson 4 of 10 Support categories There are 15 NDIS support categories. Each category funds different types of supports and services. People only receive funding for categories relevant to their needs - this is based on the reasonable and necessary principles. The table below lists the 15 support categories and the types of services that can be purchased for each one. Table columns: Column 1: Support categories Column 2: Types of supports that can be purchased with category funding Begin table contents. 1: Assistance with daily living Assistance with personal tasks to live more independently. Includes activities inside and outside the home; eg support to cook, to do the shopping. Provider skills and knowledge to privide varies depending on the service provided. 2: Transport Generally a fixed funding amount to use toward the cost of travel eg, taxis. Usually paid upfront or as recurring payments, it is less flexible than other core supports. 3: Consumables Everyday items required due to a person's disability; eg. interpreting services, low-cost assistive technology. 4: Assistance with social & community participation Support to participate in community, social or recreational activities. Can be individually (for example, accompanying someone to the movies) or in group/centre settings (for example, day to day living activities). Provider skills and knowledge to provide this support varies depending on the service. 5: Assistive technology Equipment for items such as mobility aids, vehicle modifications, personal care or communication aids. 6. Home modifications and specialised disability accommodation Home modifications or specialist disability accommodation for people who require specific housing due to disability. 7: Support coordination Can only be used for support coordination services. Providers with the ability to support people with complex needs. 8: Improved living arrangements Supporting people to find and maintain an appropriate place to live. For example, assistance applying for rental tenancy. Providers include support workers, peer workers, social workers. 9: Increased social & community participation Increasing skills to independently participate in the community. Includes activities like public transport training, activities that build independence (eg. social skills development). Providers include support workers, peer workers, social workers. 10: Finding and keeping a job Employment-related supports, training and assessments to assist with finding and keeping a job. Focuses on employment challenges that result from disability eg. skills in time management. Providers include support workers, teachers, developmental educators. 11: Improved relationships For people with complex needs; assessments and behaviour management strategies, social skills training, training for carers. Providers require specific experience/qualifications, eg. allied health. 12: Improved health and wellbeing Support to address health impacts of a person's disability eg. diet/exercide advice/support. Generally provided by allied health, or exercise physiololgists/trainers with disability expertise. 13: Improved learning Supports that enable participation in learning opportunities; like finding and keeping a job but with an educational focus. 14: Improved life choices Can only be used for plan management services, providers are generally accountants or book keepers who can also build capacity around managing NDIS supports. 15: Improved daily living Skill building to increase independence in daily activities and community participation. Can be delivered in group or individual settings, eg. transport training, budgeting support, life skills. End of table contents. Here is an example of how a support category might be described in a plan. Improved Daily Living (CB Daily Activity) – This is the support category. You will see a section like this for each support category in a person’s plan. The text in brackets tells you how this category is names on the portal (sometimes it is different). Support to build my skills so I can achieve all of my plan goals – Description of the category - This describes how the funding can be used. The amount of information provided here may vary depending on the planner. This example is a very general description and doesn’t tell you much about how to spend the money – so you will need to use your knowledge of the support categories to find suitable services. My Improved Daily Activity funding will be: $2,000 Self-managed - $3,676 NDIA-managed – This is the funding statement - This describes how the money will be managed for this support category. In this example the person has a combination of self-managed and NDIA managed funding. Budget $5,676 – This is the total budget – This is how much money in total the person has to spend on services and supports that fall under the “improved daily living” category. Payment management The funding category tells you what kind of supports the person can access. The way the supports are paid for tells you who you can access these supports from. NDIA MANAGED This means that the NDIA will pay the provider directly for the support through the NDIS portal. The person must use a registered provider for these supports. PLAN-MANAGED This means that a plan manager will pay for services on behalf of the person using their plan funding. This allows the person to use registered and unregistered NDIS providers with the assistance of their plan manager. SELF-MANAGED This means that the person will pay for services and be reimbursed by the NDIA. The person can choose to purchase supports from registered and non-registered providers. Also, for self-managed services only, participants can negotiate the price of the service with the provider rather than using the price guide. FAQ What are the benefits of self-managed funding? People with self-managed funding can access unregistered providers. This might be particularly useful in rural or remote areas where there are fewer registered providers or if a participant wants to access a service that is not targeted toward disability - for example, a music teacher in a small community. People who are self-managing their funding can also negotiate with providers for the cost of the service (e.g., they do not have to stick to the prices listed in the price guide.) This can mean their funding can stretch further. See the NDIA guide to self-management for more information. Can people request a change to the way their funding is managed? Yes. To do this the person should contact the NDIA and request a change to the way their funding is managed. The NDIA will assess any potential risks, in line with the NDIS (Plan Management) Rules 2018, associated with self-managing funds before deciding if the change can be made. How long does the plan funding last for? All plans include the plan start date and the plan review due date at the top. Most plans will be reassessed every 12 months, although participants can request plan durations of up to 3 years. Plan duration can be discussed with a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or planner during planning or reassessment meetings. As plan length can vary it is important to check the reassessment date to be sure. The plan funding is to be used in the time between the plan start date and the plan reassessment date. After the plan reassessment, a new plan will be created with new funding.
Support purpose Lesson 5 of 10 Support purpose groups There are three broad support purpose groups: Core, Capacity Building and Capital. Core Core supports are functional supports which help people with everyday activities e.g., assistance with household tasks, self-care and leaving the house. Capacity Building Capacity building supports build skills and independence and are aligned with specific goals and outcomes, for example getting a job, making new friends, and learning money management. Capital Capital supports are items (e.g., wheel chair) or modifications (e.g., accessible ramp) required because of a person's disability. The 15 support categories are grouped into the three support purpose groups as shown in the table below. Image here of 15 support categories The support purpose groups are important because they determine the flexibility a person has in spending their funding.
Core and Capacity Building Supports Lesson 6 of 10 Participants typically have a lot of choice in utilising their Core and Capacity Building funding to access services that meet their needs. We will go through the rules for using these funding groups, based on a hypothetical scenario. Scenario Image of women sitting looking over river Claire is an NDIS participant, who has substantial difficulty managing her daily tasks, interacting with others and going out in public alone. Claire's mother is her main carer and helps Claire when she needs to leave the house. She also ensures Claire eats regularly, keeps her house clean and manages her money for her. Claire's goals are to become more independent at home, to learn how to manage her own money and to build her social skills and confidence going out in public. She would also like to start looking for work. Claire has just received her NDIS plan and is considering how she can use her funding. Using core funding Core funding is the most flexible funding type. The funding for the three Core support categories can be grouped together to create a total 'core budget', unless otherwise specified. Where there are exceptions to this, it will be stated in the plan. For example there are different rules for using transport funding. See the NDIS pricing arrangements for more information. Below showcases Claire's core budget. Clock on the question marks to learn more. Core Supports I can use my core support funding flexibility to help with my everyday activities, my current disability related needs and to work towards my goals. My core funding can be used flexibly across the following three core subcategories. Assistance with Daily Living Assistance with Social and Community Participation Consumables My Core Supports funding will be: $40,000 NDIA-managed. Budget is $40,000 - Flexible part of the core budget: The plan specifies how the core budget can be used flexibly. In this example the person can choose to spread the $40,000 across three of the four categories however they like (it excludes transport costs from the flexible budget). Transport Includes support to get to work or travel to participate in social and community activities. My transport funding will be: paid as fortnightly instalments into my nominated bank account. Budget is $2,472 – Exception to core flexibility: Often the transport category will not be as flexible as the other categories in the core purpose group. This is because the transport funding is often paid into the person’s bank account as cash instalments. So this money is not to be combined with the money that has been allocated to other core supports. It should state clearly on the plan if there is any flexibility with transport funding. You also can’t use the flexible part of the core budget (in this case, $40,000) to pay for additional transport costs. Total Core Supports = $42,472.00 Knowledge check A major goal for Claire is to become more independent on a day-to-day basis so she decides to allocate $18,000 of her $40,000 Core budget to services in the Assistance with Daily Living category. Can Claire use her funding this way? Yes No SUBMIT Correct Answer is Yes Claire can choose to use the funding in a way that suits her needs across the Core categories. In this instance, she chooses to spend more in one area, and that is fine. Later on, if Claire decides she wants to change the way she spends her funding within the core support category, she can. Using capacity building funding There are 9 capacity building support categories. Unlike the core categories, you cannot move money from one capacity building category to another. However, unless stated otherwise, the person can use the funding to purchase any type of service or support that falls into that category. Here are two of the capacity building categories that Claire has been funded for; increased social and community participation and increased daily living. Capacity Building Supports Increased social and community participation (CB social, community and civic participation) Supports to build my skills so that I can participate in community, social and recreational activities. My Increased social and community participation funding will be: $3,000 NDIA-managed Budget $3,000 – Flexibility within increased social and community participation – Capacity building funding can be used flexibly to purchase any supports that match that category. Here Claire has been given $3,000 to purchase any service that aligns with the increased social and community participation category. Improved Daily Living (CB Daily Activity) Support to build my skilols so I can achieve all of my plan goals. My Increased Daily Living funding will be: $2,472 NDIA-managed Budget $2,472 – Flexibility within Improved Daily Living – Capacity building funding can be used flexibly to purchase any supports that match that category. Here Claire has been given $2,472 to purchase any service that aligns with the Improved Daily Living category. Knowledge check Claire decides to use her Improved Daily Living funding to access some individual counseling to build her capacity to live independently and manage her daily responsibilities. After 6 months Claire has used all of her improved daily living funding, but she would like to continue the counseling support. Can Claire use some of the funding in her Increased Social and Community Participation budget to pay for Improved Daily Living Supports? Yes No SUBMIT Correct answer No Claire can't move money from one Capacity Building category to another. If this limits Claire's capacity to meet her NDIS goals, then she can contact the NDIA to discuss changing her plan. She could also explore supports available in other funding categories to achieve the same goal. FAQ Can I move money between core and capacity building categories? No, you cannot move money out of one support purpose budget (like core) into another support purpose budget (like capacity building) or vice versa. If you find that an allocated category lacks sufficient funds, contact the NDIA. How are core and capacity building funds allocated in plans? All funding is allocated based on the reasonable and necessary principles. This means that every plan will look different depending on the person and their needs. When determining how much funding a person needs in each category the NDIA take into consideration the cost of the supports, the skills/qualifications required to provide these supports, and the frequency that the support would need to be accessed. Why are core supports paid at a lower rate than capacity building supports? Core and capacity building supports have a different purpose and often different pricing structures. Capacity building supports are generally paid at a higher rate because they require providers to be able to build independence and capacity when delivering supports. There are also some Core supports that can be charged at a higher rate when the person has complex needs and requires a highly skilled or experienced provider to deliver the support. For a more in-depth look at how pricing is determined, check out the pricing arrangements on the NDIS website.
Stated Supports and Capital Supports Lesson 7 of 10 As you have seen, there is generally some flexibility regarding which services a person chooses to access with their funding. Capital and Stated Supports are less flexible and require a person to spend their funding as described in the plan. Using capital funding Funds within the Capital Supports category must be used to pay for specific items as listed on the plan and are not flexible. Plans will specify an amount of money to be spent on a particular item, or will ask the person to get a quote for a specific item and the NDIA will then approve the quote and allocate the money. NDIS video on How to - Capital Supports Budget Items Stated supports When a support is listed as ‘stated’ in a plan, you must purchase this support as described. You cannot swap ‘stated’ supports for any other supports. Image of table In this example $7,733.23 is set aside as a 'stated support' within the Finding and Keeping a Job category. This means that the stated part of the budget must be used to pay for supported employment services. The remainder ($6,505.97) is flexible and because it is a capacity building support, it can be used to purchase any supports that match the 'Finding and keeping a job' category in the price guide. Quote required For supports labelled as "quote required", further information, such as quotes and/or special reports, must be provided before funding can be allocated in the applicant's plan. Resources The NDIA has developed a series of fact sheets for participants to explain how the scheme works. "Using your NDIS plan" is a great resource for understanding plans and the rules for flexibility.
Support items Lesson 8 of 10 When you are helping someone to understand their plan it can be useful to 'translate' plans into services and supports that mean something to the participant. For example, I can look at a person's core funding and tell them that this could help them with everyday activities like cooking and cleaning - or it could be used to pay for some group activities in a community centre or help them attend a community event. Provider tip The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits To find the list of support items for each support category, you need to look at the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document (formerly the NDIS Price Guide). The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits describes the principles of charging for supports in the NDIS and any specific rules that apply to each support category. It also includes an overview of the types of support items that match each support category. Information you can find in this document includes: charging for rural and remote services charging for provider travel working with people who have complex needs provisions for shadow shifts or establishment fees billable and non-billable activities Download the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits The Support Catalogue The support catalogue lists the prices for individual supports including different rates for providers in remote and very remote areas. Image Click on image to zoom for an example. The most recent support catalogue can be downloaded from the NDIS website: pricing and payment. The price guides and support catalogue are updated at least every 12 months. You can find the most up-to-date version on the NDIS website. The Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and support catalogue are updated at least every 12 months. Next steps - plan implementation Image of feet walking up stairs This training has looked at how to read an NDIS plan so that you can help people to understand what they have been funded for. The next step is to use plan funding to purchase supports, this involves finding suitable service providers, setting up service agreements and ensuring people are connected with mainstream, informal and community supports. This is when someone is likely to get assistance from their Support Coordinator, or their Local Area Coordinator. Go to our training page for more on: Service agreements in the NDIS Support Coordination 101 FAQ What happens if the person doesn't spend all the money in their plan? When the plan is reassessed, the person will be provided with a new plan. Any money in the previous plan that has not been spent will be returned to the NDIA - it does not carry over from one plan to the next. What happens if the person runs out of money in their plan? It is important to think ahead and budget for how funding can be used across the year so that a person doesn't run out of money (providers and support coordinators can help with this). If a plan has insufficient funding to meet the person's support needs (and you have evidence to show that they need more, or that their circumstances have changed) you can contact the NDIA to ask them to reassess the plan. You can read more about unscheduled reassessments on the NDIS website. What if the plan doesn't include enough money for the person's needs? It is important to first explore budget flexibility, and availability of mainstream or local services to ensure you have exhausted all support options. If a plan still appears insufficient participants can speak to the NDIA about changing It. Do providers have to charge at the rate listed in the Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits? The Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits sets the maximum price that a provider can charge for a service. It is OK for providers to charge below the price set in the Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits document, but not above. The rules only apply to registered providers who are offering services to NDIA-managed or plan managed participants. Participants who are self-managed can negotiate their own price for services.
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