Longer plans, less review meetings – this is the new norm for participants in the NDIS. So, what if you’ve locked in your plan and your support needs change?
In case you haven’t noticed, the government agency responsible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is undertaking some significant renovations, some are designed to make the scheme simpler, fairer and more predictable. One of them is the option to have your funding locked in for up to 36 months, rather than the 12 months that used to be the standard timeframe in the past.
Since 2020, the agency has gone full steam ahead with its plans to make 24-month plans or longer “the norm” for participants whose support needs are stable. You can read more about why the NDIS wants to make plans longer here.
How will longer plans affect you?
The new reality in the NDIS will consist of fewer plan reviews. The agency sells this as a win for participants who may have always seen the yearly plan review as a burdensome box-ticking exercise which takes up too much time.
What does this mean for you? If you opt for a longer plan, you may not need to undergo a full review for years unless your circumstances change.
Instead, you’ll be offered regular “check-ins” with your NDIA planner, Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator. These check-ins will be a more casual opportunity for you to discuss if your current supports are still working for you.
What if my support needs change?
It’s likely they will. Even if your unique disability allows you to predict which therapists and services you will need in the future (and as tempting as it may sound to lock in funding for those in advance), there is a risk that life turns out differently.
You may have an accident or need to move house. Maybe your primary carer is no longer able to work with you and you quickly need to find a replacement. Or maybe your goals in life have changed. Three years are a long time.
Maybe your teenage son with autism has gained so much confidence since you last received your plan that he feels ready to start a casual job at a disability enterprise. The NDIS could give your son funding to improve his work-related skills. But you would need to add an employment goal and you would definitely need new funding.
In all these cases, you would need to ask the NDIS to review your plan before its regular end date. This process is known as a Participant Requested Review (PPR) or an Unscheduled Plan Review. You don’t need to wait for the next check-in conversation, you can ask the agency for a plan review at any time.
The agency can refuse your request to review your plan outside the regular schedule. However, if you explain how your circumstances have changed and why it is reasonable and necessary for you to have your funding changed, the NDIS must act. It has committed to tell you within 21 days whether or not your request for a review is justified.
Challenge the NDIS if you think it made a mistake
Getting the funding you need is important. If you feel the NDIS is not making the right decisions to support your life with a disability, you have a right to intervene. There are a number of legal steps you can take to challenge an NDIS decision.
Our team has compiled a handy guide for you to help you master the review process. See how it works and what your options are by downloading our guide on Navigating NDIS Plan Reviews here.