After you've successfully applied to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), you will get to set goals and work on your NDIS plan. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will offer you a time to attend a planning meeting. To prepare for your planning meeting, see the Setting my goals section of this toolkit.
A planning meeting is held with a local area coordinator (LAC) or NDIS planner. They will ask you questions to find out what supports and funding should go into your NDIS plan.
Each NDIS plan goes for a specific period of time. At the end of each plan, you will have a reassessment meeting which is similar to a planning meeting. Your plan can then be varied or reassessed to see if the supports you're receiving are still working for you. It also provides you the opportunity to set new goals.
In this section we will explore what happens at a planning meeting and help you to prepare for it.
The planning meeting is where you will meet with an LAC or NDIS planner. It can be quite casual, like having a chat with someone. This is an opportunity to speak about your goals and support needs.
Is the planning meeting important?
Yes. Even though the meeting can be casual, it is important to understand that it is an assessment. The information you provide at this meeting along with your application will decide how much funding you receive. The LAC or NDIS planner will be assessing if the supports you are advocating for link to your goals. They will consider if what you're asking for meets the criteria for 'reasonable and necessary'. They will work out which categories to assign your supports to.
How long is the meeting?
Planning meetings vary in length. You can expect it to last approximately 1.5 hours. You can take breaks whenever you need to or at pre-arranged intervals. If you feel you haven't been able to talk about everything you wanted to then it is important to let the planner know. You can work out a way to address this, such as having another meeting. You can also reschedule the meeting to another date and time if you become tired or distressed.
What if I don't understand something?
They will ask specific questions and your answers in their own words. Some people find it helpful to ask the planner to repeat back what they have said. By doing this you can work out if there is a shared understanding of what you have said.
The planning meeting is about you! It's important to use the time to ask them any questions you might have. If the planner says something that doesn't make sense you can ask them to explain it in a different way. You can also request an interpreter. You can ask to see a copy of the plan before it is submitted to the NDIA. However, it is up to the planner to decide whether they will grant your request.
They will ask you questions about your:
- personal details
- current support network
- daily life
- involvement with community groups and how they support you
Some examples include:
- Are you able to choose what you want to do?
- Do you need support and does the support you receive enable you to be as independent as possible?
- Are you happy with how often you see your family or friends?
- Are you happy with your home environment?
- Do you experience problems accessing health care services?
- Do you currently take part in education, training, or skill development?
You will be asked how you want the funds in your plan to be managed.
There are three different ways your plan can be managed. They will ask you to decide which option you'd like. You can even have a combination of how you want things managed within your plan. The NDIA will decide if your request for how to manage your funds could cause an 'unreasonable risk' to you. If they think it does, they may override your decision. For more information, visit the web page.
Here are the options.
Who organises payment? The NDIA manages your plan. This means the NDIA pays your providers on your behalf. The NDIA will have complete control and responsibility for payment.
What services can I choose? You can only use NDIS registered service providers for your supports.
What are the benefits? This option can be a good one if you don’t have a lot of energy or struggle with organisation because the NDIA will take care of everything.
Who organises payment? You will pick someone to manage the funds in your plan. This person will be your plan manager and they can make claims for services and use the money in your plan to pay for your supports. You can choose a plan manager by using the , ask your LAC, or someone you know that has a plan. If you choose a plan manager the cost for this will be in your plan.
What are the benefits? This option offers a combination of flexibility and support. The plan manager will take care of paying for your supports and services and other administrative tasks which means you can spend more time on the things that are important to you. Choosing this option gives you more flexibility because it allows you to choose both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.
Who organises payment? You will manage the funds in your plan by yourself. You will need to understand how to make a budget and keep records. If you have a they can help you manage your funds. You can consider employing a bookkeeper – someone who can do this for you. The has information on self-management.
What services can I choose? You can choose any support providers as long as the cost is under the maximum price that registered providers can charge participants. The lists the maximum prices. You can choose both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.
What are the benefits? This option offers you the greatest amount of flexibility but requires you to pay for your supports and services and other administrative tasks. You will need good budgeting skills, a good understanding of the and how to use the .
The planning meeting is an opportunity for you to explore your goals and the supports you need to achieve them. It also provides you with the chance to advocate for the things you want and need. It is important to note that like any important meeting, it can be stressful.
The following information will help you prepare for the planning meeting.
What would you like to know beforehand?
You can ask:
- who will be conducting the meeting
- if they have mental health experience
- for a list of the questions they will ask at the meeting
- whether the meeting will be held in person or over the phone. You can make a request to have it in person or via video.
What would be helpful to take with you?'In my planning meeting they asked me to comment on what challenges I face on my "worst day". I was told to pack tissues because it can be a confronting conversation. It's important to think about the supports that you may need to have in pace when you are at your meeting, but remember that you are not defined by these experiences. It can help to think creatively about how your NDIS plan can help you to achieve your goals.'
You can take along any information that will help you to advocate for what you want in your plan. Some examples are:
- your goals and supports that you need to achieve them. You can refer to the section of this toolkit
- your NDIS application and supporting evidence
- quotes for supports
- any medical reports or assessments that support your request for supports. These could be a letter from your general practitioner (GP) or an allied health assessment
You can get an allied health assessment from an occupational therapist, psychologist or social worker. This sort of assessment can provide you valuable information about your functional capacity. It can also help you explore the type of supports you need and help secure the funding to pay for them as part of your NDIS plan.
You can ask for practical things that can help you to feel less stressed such as:
- when and how often you want to take breaks
- making sure there is water available
- making sure everyone introduces themselves, explains their role, and the purpose of the meeting
- the room being set up in a way that makes you feel safe
- making sure your support person or advocate is sitting next to you
'In my planning meeting they asked me to comment on what challenges I face on my "worst day". I was told to pack tissues because it can be a confronting conversation. It's important to think about the supports that you may need to have in place when you are at your meeting, but remember that you are not defined by these experiences. It can help to think creatively about how your NDIS plan can help you to achieve your goals.'
Would I like someone to support me?
Talking about the things you have difficulty with can impact you. You can consider having someone at the meeting to support you. You could also have an advocate at the meeting to help you express what you want.
You have the right to request:
- a local area coordinator (LAC) who has experience working with mental health or psychosocial disability
- an NDIS planner who has experience working with mental health or psychosocial disability
- a face-to-face meeting
- for you planning meeting to be at a time and location where you feel most comfortable. For example, your home, LAC office, NDIA office, or elsewhere
- to have a support person with you at your meeting
- to have language such as acronyms and jargon explained to you in a way that you can understand.
Reviewed 23 November 2022