NDIS participants work with the NDIS or their representatives to develop their NDIS plan. An NDIS plan talks about what goals the person with a disability has, their current supports (the help that they get), and the type and amount of funding the NDIS will give to them for the next year.
This article will cover NDIS plan reviews, including why you need regular reviews, and how to prepare for them.
Why do I need an NDIS plan review?
Because people with disability usually have a lifelong relationship with the NDIS, it means that over time the support needs of the person can change. Because of this, the NDIS gives you the chance to review your plan regularly and make changes if things aren’t working out as well as they could.
Some people think that an NDIS plan review is a bad thing. This could be because the word “review” sounds like you have done something wrong. However, this is not the case; instead, the NDIS reviews your NDIS plan regularly to:
When will the NDIS contact me about my plan review?
- Make sure the supports in the current plan are working well for you
- Check if you are receiving the right type and the right amount of funding
- Regularly give you a chance to make changes and request different supports
In most cases, the funding in your NDIS plan is available to be used within 12 months from the date it has been approved. For example, if you receive your plan in October, it should have enough funding in it to last you until October next year.
Usually, the NDIS or a representative will contact you a month or two earlier than a full 12 months to organise your NDIS plan review. This is to work out the details for your plan review, giving you and the NDIS enough time to have a new plan ready before your old plan expires.
Preparing for your NDIS plan review
To prepare for your NDIS plan review, it is important to ask your therapists, including support coordinators, physios, speech, and occupational therapists, etc - to write a letter talking about how they have supported you during the year. If they write a letter about the support, they provided you, it will give the NDIS an indication of why this support was important, and whether you need more or less of it in your next NDIS plan.
If you have leftover money in your NDIS plan to purchase supports, have a think about why. Is it because you didn’t need that much of the support, or perhaps you struggled to find a provider who was available to provide the support? The reason why you didn’t use any leftover money for supports is more important than the fact that you have money left over. This is because your explanation as to why you haven’t used the money for your supports gives the NDIS a better idea as to how much of that support they should include in your NDIS plan for next time.
An NDIS plan review is also a great time to request assistive technology, which is a category of products that allow you to independently do more for yourself, with the help of technology. Talk with your occupational therapist before your NDIS plan review to see if there is any assistive technology that could help you achieve your disability-related goals.
What will the NDIS ask me?
Like your original NDIS plan, the NDIS or their representatives will ask you some questions about your life and your individual circumstances. The conversation will be slightly different to your initial NDIS planning meeting, for example, when you are discussing your NDIS plan review they will ask questions like:
- Have you been able to do the things you wanted to do in the past year?
- What were the barriers related to your disability that made things difficult for you?
- Were you happy with the supports you received in the past year?
- Have you been trying new things or learning new skills?
The NDIS asks these types of questions to make sure the funding given to you in your NDIS plan is helping you achieve your goals. If the funding isn’t helping you achieve your goals, then your NDIS plan review is a good chance to think about what else could be done. This could perhaps include funding for different things in your plan or looking at trying different providers of supports.
Is there anything else I should know?
The NDIS is also starting to space out plan reviews for a longer period of time for some people. This means some people could have a plan review every two years, instead of every year. This could be useful if the person with disability is happy with the supports they are currently getting through the NDIS, and they don’t expect there to be many changes between plans, meaning they do not need frequent reviews.
Don’t be scared!
While an NDIS plan review can seem like lots of work, it is important and worthwhile. Because your life changes, so should your NDIS plan. Each year there may be new things you want to do, new ideas and goals. Your NDIS plan should reflect your changing life, so think hard about how you want to improve things and make sure your voice gets heard during your NDIS plan review. Good luck!