As the NDIS rollout gained momentum, reports emerged of a huge list of participants waiting for plan reviews, sparking an investigation into the process. In 2018, the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s report into the NDIS’s plan review system revealed up to 8,000 people stuck ‘in limbo’ waiting for a decision. We take a look at the review process and how the introduction of a ‘light touch’ review may be opening opportunities for participants to create greater flexibility around choosing and hiring their own supports.
An NDIS plan review is intended to be a chance for you to check if your supports are working for you. While these usually take place twelve months after your plan started, the NDIS Act states that you are allowed to request a review at any time.
There are a number of reasons you might request a review; you’ve been allocated fewer hours of support than you think you need, or inadequate equipment. Perhaps you feel that the funding allocated is unfair, or insufficient to cover the specialised services you require. One of the more common reasons for requesting a review is around the initial choice a participant made about how to manage their NDIS funding.
Why is money management a large part of NDIS reviews?
In creating your plan, you will need to make a choice about how you manage your NDIS funding. You can choose one, or a combination of these three options:
Agency-managed – plans that are managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). This means the NDIA will hold your funds an you can only work with NDIS registered providers to access support.
Plan-management – A financial intermediary – like a plan management organisation – will manage the financial aspects of your NDIS plan such as paying invoices on your behalf.
Self-management – You self-manage your funds, which you hold yourself. It also means you may not need to adhere to NDIS cap rates.
This decision is normally made during an initial planning meeting with your LAC (local area coordinator). A LAC’s role is to help you create a plan outlining your goals and what supports you will receive to help you achieve them.
What can I do if I want to review my NDIS plan?
Those interested in a plan review can request one in writing, in person or over the phone. An NDIA staff member will conduct the review and advise whether they will retain the original plan, make some changes or completely replace.If you are still not happy after the internal review of the decision, you can apply for a Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) review, which is external to the NDIA. Last month, the federal government announced a $5.3 million additional funding for providers who help people challenge plan decisions in the AAT. However, as reported by Pro Bono, advocacy services are being swamped with people needing help appealing their NDIS plans – and waiting lists for plan appeals are mounting.
What is a light-touch review?
A light-touch review is an informal name given to a process for participants who want to make a small change, or switch the financial management of their plan. It’s designed to avoid extended delays you might face in requesting a full review.If you have an agency-managed plan and you are interested in switching to plan or self-management, then requesting a light touch review might be the best option for you. You can contact the NDIA directly to see whether this is possible.
Start searching for independent support workers in your local area today, and use your NDIS funding to engage with them directly.