If you have received your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan, it’s time to put it into action. In this section we will look at how to read an NDIS plan, and how to find services to provide the supports in your plan.
If you've received your NDIS plan, it will have a letter with it saying that your plan has been approved. It will have a date when the letter was written and will include:
- a reminder that funding for supports need to meet the criteria for what is considered ‘reasonable and necessary’. For more information, see the section of this toolkit
- how they developed your plan
- how your plan will be managed. If they have made a decision that is different from what you requested, they will explain what was considered when making this decision
- how to request a variation, reassessment or review
- what to do if your circumstances change
- the contact details of your NDIS contact
- the steps you need to take to put your plan into action
- how to read your budget.
How much funding do I have?
Your plan will tell you the amount of funding you have. It is important to look at the date when your plan begins and ends. This will tell you the amount of time the funding is meant to last. For example, if you have a 12-month plan, the funds in your plan are meant to cover the full 12 months.
Your plan will be split up into three budget areas. Under each budget heading there will be funds allocated to a specific NDIS support category. The support categories are linked to your goals. For more information about support categories, visit the .
Your plan will tell you what each budget area means and how you can spend your funds. The budget areas are:
Core supports that help you with everyday activities. Funds can be used for any of the four support categories in that budget.
Capacity building supports that help build your independence and skills. Funds can only be used for the support category it is attached to.
Capital supports that are for one-off purchases such as assistive technology, equipment, or home modifications. Funds can only be used for their specific purposes.
Your plan will tell you if your funding is a:
- ‘Stated’ support which means the funds can only be used for that specific thing.
- ‘In-kind’ support which means the service has already been paid for by your state, territory or the Australian Government.
There are many different types of supports available. Following is an explanation of some of the most common ones.
Support coordinator will help you to find providers, resolve problems with service delivery, and manage the services you are getting under your plan. They could have an allied health or administrative background. You may be able to choose a support coordinator that has a lived experience of mental health. There are three levels of support coordination. If you think you might need a higher level of support, it is important to request this. To learn more about support coordination and levels of support, visit the .
Psychosocial recovery coach is a support worker who has mental health knowledge. They can help you find out about different services and supports including mental health services. You may be able to choose a recovery coach that has a lived experience of mental health. To learn more about psychosocial recovery coaches, visit the .
Support worker (assistance with daily living) will provide assistance with everyday activities.
Support worker (capacity building) will help you with increasing your social and community connections.
When choosing these supports, you can ask the service provider if the person that will work with you has a background in mental health.
It’s important to recognise that finding a support or service that works for you can be overwhelming, time consuming and stressful. If you’re plan managed or self-managed, in most cases this responsibility is all up to you. You may find there are lots of options so it can be difficult to know what they are like and if they will be right for you. However, on the upside, you have more choice and control.
Try breaking this task down into smaller, more achievable tasks. Instead of trying to find all of your supports at once, try looking for one at a time. You can start with the ones that are the most important to you. Unless you need a support to start immediately, you can take some time to find service providers.
Before you start ‘shopping’ around for your supports, you will need to have an idea of how much your supports cost. This is so you can work out if the funds in your plan will cover them. Once you know how much funding you have, you can start searching for services or supports that can provide your support.
To search for services or supports, you can:
'Sometimes it can be difficult to put in place the right "support team" around you. I like to put out advertisements for support workers on platforms like Mable, because I feel like I have the most choice and control over the people who I work with.'
- speak with your local area coordinator (LAC)
- use your
- use the
- do an internet search
- contact your local council
- look online or social media
- speak to people who have an NDIS plan.
When you start interviewing and hiring services, you will need to be clear about what you want and need them to do. If you have a support coordinator, they will be able to do all these things for you. You can organise to do a meet and greet with services or supports to find out if they are a good match for you.
There may be limited services in your area. If this is the case, you can engage supports online or via the phone.
When you have decided which service providers you want to use, they will send you a service agreement.
A service agreement is a contract between you and the service provider. It explains what services they will provide.
It's important to read the service agreement before you sign it. It explains what supports the service provider will provide, the fees they will charge, and what their cancellation policy is. Therefore, it's important to make sure that it's accurate.
Some service providers can give you as little as 24 hours' notice if they intend to cancel a service. However, you may have to provide them with more time when making a cancellation.
You should only sign the agreement if you are happy with it, and make sure to keep a copy for your records.
The way you book and pay for a service or support will depend on how your plan is managed. On this page is an explanation of how to do this based on the different types of plan management.
Self-managed – this allows you to book services yourself. You can use your own money and claim it back from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) through your myplace portal. Or you can send a payment request to the NDIS through your myplace portal and wait for the money to be put in your bank account.
NDIA managed – the NDIA will make a service booking for you in the myplace portal. They will organise any payments that need to be made for you.
It is important to keep records of payments for services and supports. This is because:
- you will need them to demonstrate you are using the funding in your plan in an appropriate way
- they can be used as evidence for future planning
- they can be used as evidence when making a complaint.
What if my budget doesn't cover what I want?
If there’s something in your plan that you want or need that costs more than you have available, you can:
- try and negotiate a better price for the service or support
- use some of the funds from another support category where the funds are more flexible
- think about the service or support and how often you need it, and consider if you could have it less often.
If you're not happy with a service, you have the right to provide feedback, make a complaint, or change service providers. Here are some examples of common issues people have with service providers:
- The service has not met your needs.
- The person providing the service is not a ‘good fit’.
- You are not happy with the way your supports or services are being delivered.
- Your support worker does not turn up or is often late.
- You are being charged for things you haven’t received.
You may have a problem with a support or service that has not respected your individual rights. You have the right to services and supports that respect your culture, diversity, values and beliefs. Some examples of what this means in practice are:
- if you are a First Nations person you should receive culturally safe services
- if you are from a culturally diverse background, you should receive culturally aware services
- any person who doesn't speak English as their first language is entitled to an interpreter
- you have the right to be free from discrimination and have workers who respect your gender identity.
If you have a problem with a service, you can:
This means that you should have time to consider and review your options at any stage of support provision, from planning through to exit. You can choose who works with you. You may have a preference to work with a worker of a particular gender, or from a particular cultural background. You also have the right to exit a service agreement.
- access supports in a safe environment that is appropriate to your needs
- be protected from harm due to exposure to waste, infectious or hazardous substances produced during service delivery
- access supports free from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, or discrimination.
Reviewed 23 November 2022