All NDIS plans are going to be reviewed and renewed at some point. No one’s life is set in stone and situations and circumstances change. Therefore, the funded plan supporting that life needs to be flexible enough to change when and as required.
Following the recent changes to the NDIS Act, the way plans are reviewed and renewed and the language used to describe what is happening, has changed.
The word ‘review’ had multiple meanings in the original NDIS Act 2013 and caused confusion to many people. The new NDIS Act 2021, has attempted to reduce this confusion by only using the word ‘review’ when an actual decision made by the NDIA is being challenged. The participant is then requesting a ‘review of a reviewable decision’. Not all plan changes come as the result of a decision challenge.
A plan can be changed at three main times during the life of the plan:
- At the end of the current plan
- If the participant is not happy with the content of their plan
- Any time during the life of a plan
New options for changing and renewing an NDIS plan
- New plan with the same supports
- New plan with minor changes – plan variation – allows for minor or ‘technical’ changes
- Plan reassessment – if more major changes required (usually involves change to funding)
- Reviewable decision – internal review of a decision made by the Agency
- At the end of the current plan
As the current plan approaches its expiry date, it’s a good idea to start thinking about the next 12 months or so and decide if anything needs to change. Plans can be of varying lengths depending on the age and circumstance of the participant. Children tend to have shorter length plans than adults, so a plan length can vary between 6 months, up to 2-3 years in length.
At this time, every part of the plan should be considered – from the Participants Statement, to the short term and medium to long term goals, the length of the plan, the plan management type, the form and intensity of support required and therefore, the allocated funding amount will likely change. Because of this, it is really important to go into this process well prepared.
About six weeks before the end date of a plan, in preparation for a meeting with an LAC or Planner, other things to consider are:
- the impact the disability is having. Has the impact increased, decreased or is it pretty stable?
- Is the person going to be starting something new i.e. work or a sport or a new recommended therapy?
- Are the person’s personal circumstances changing, i.e. they are wanting to move; has an informal support changed?
- Is the participant a child under seven years?
Having done this thinking will help to ascertain which option is the right one for the participant and their plan – new plan with the same supports; can it be a plan variation – as only minor changes are needed; or is a plan reassessment required, as support needs or circumstances have changed.
- If the participant is not happy with their plan
Even the best prepared participants can be caught out by a new plan that arrives full of unwelcome surprises.
This is generally due to two things.
Firstly, simple administrative mistakes do occur — dates are wrong, content is missing, the management type for the plan is incorrect. These mistakes can be rectified via a ‘plan variation’. In this instance, it is best to contact the person who conducted the review meeting and bring the mistakes to their attention. The mistakes can be corrected without changing anything substantive in the plan.
Secondly, decisions have been made by an NDIA representative that do not reflect your expectations. This is where a plan may not have specific support included that you were expecting, like therapy funding, or you were expecting some funding for consumables and they are completely absent. It may be that you don’t believe the plan reflects the evidence you provided at the time of the recent meeting and the subsequent support budget is totally inadequate. If this is the case then you will need to request a ‘review of a reviewable decision’ review.
This review must be requested within three months of a new plan being activated.
- At any time during the life of a plan
A significant change of circumstance can be a good reason to request a plan reassessment at any time within the life of a plan. It can be triggered by a number of factors such as:
- A change in support needs
- A change to informal supports
- A change to living arrangements
- Compensation you are applying for or have received
- A significant change of any nature
Evidence will be required to demonstrate what has changed and how the change is impacting the person in order to justify the request for a plan reassessment.
How to request a meeting
- Internet Relay users: relayservice.gov.au
- NDIS website: ndis.gov.au
- Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the NDIS National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110
- TTY users 1800 555 677
- Speak and Listen users 1800555727
- If you need help with English 131 450
Visit a Local Area Coordinator, Early Childhood Partner or NDIS office in your area.
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