NDIS Q&A

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be confusing to navigate. We're here to help you through your concerns and make the transition as smooth as possible.

On this page you'll have the opportunity to ask us questions and we'll answer them. Every month, we'll posts the answers to your questions here.

Please note: your personal information will be kept private. All questions and answers will be posted anonymously. We ask you to fill in your contact details so that we can personally answer your questions and see if you need anymore help with the NDIS.


How will the NDIS affect me? How does the NDIS work?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme, known as the NDIS, is a national Government initiative for people living with a permanent and significant disability. The scheme can provide lifelong support, where people have more choice and control over how they receive services. Clients will be able to choose the providers they want to deliver the services they need. Supports may include therapy services, equipment, personal care, help at home and getting involved in the community (individually or in a group).

The first step to getting involved with the NDIS is to test your eligibility. This is done by completing an Access Request Form. You will need to attach evidence of your disability to this form. If you are found eligible you will then be contacted to have a planning meeting, where you will discuss your support needs and a personalised plan will be developed. The next step is activating your plan. You can get assistance with activating your plan from either the NDIS or someone called a support coordinator (if you have included this in your plan). Your plan will be valid for 12 months and then reviewed before developing the next plan.

We understand that this is a very different way of receiving the supports you need, so Merri Health staff will be available to help you throughout this process. Please feel free to ask questions any time. We are here to help!

How will the NDIS be good for me? Is it worth getting involved?

It is definitely worth registering with the NDIS for a number of reasons:

  1. If eligible, you will be able to receive a personalised plan which will cover key support areas in your life.
  2. You will have more choice and control over the services you receive- you will be able to select the service providers/organisations that best meet your needs.
  3. The NDIS provides lifelong support and is portable- which means you can use it wherever you live- even if you move interstate!
  4. Most of the supports/programs you are receiving now are moving to the NDIS, meaning you will need to try and access the Scheme to make sure you can keep receiving support.

Can I use credits (eg. allocated for food group) for a needed gardener? Are credit/money transferable?

The supports in your NDIS plan will be divided into 3 main areas:

  1. Core supports - for example, assistance with daily living, travel etc
  2. Capacity building - for example, improving relationships, increased social and community participation etc
  3. Capital supports - for example, assistive technology such as hearing aids or a wheelchair

Funds that have been allocated in your plan to a particular area cannot be moved into another area (for example, money for hearing aids cannot be used for travel costs). Within each area, funds may be allocated to specific purposes, called line items. For example, if your plan has a certain amount of money allocated to Improving Relationships, that money needs to be used for activities that fall under this category and cannot be used for something like a gardener. 

Will Exchange clients (clients who access our mental health services) be automatically eligible?

Unfortunately, clients who currently use our one-on-one support (PHaMs) and group activity (D2DL) program won’t be automatically eligible for the NDIS. They will need to test their eligibility by completing an Access Request Form and submitting it to the NDIA (the organisation that runs the NDIS). This form will require applicants to provide evidence of their mental health issue and how their day to day life is impacted. Staff will be there to help with this process, so you won’t have to do it on your own.

Will someone help me understand and work through the NDIS?

We understand that the NDIS is a big change and can cause a lot of worry and uncertainty. We also understand that it can be tricky to fully understand all the changes and what you need to do. Staff at Merri Health are here to help you and to make sure you feel supported throughout the process.

Keep asking questions and speak to staff about any questions you have. We will also be having regular information sessions, so keep an eye on this board for upcoming events.

When I start receiving NDIS services, what will happen to my New Start Allowance?

Any entitlements you have through Centrelink will not be affected by the NDIS. You also do not need to be receiving the Disability Support Pension in order to receive the NDIS. Centrelink and the NDIS are two separate services and do not impact on each other.