Frequently asked questions

Yooralla has developed a list of frequently asked questions and their answers to provide greater information on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

As we learn more about the NDIS, and the impact it may have on Yooralla's service delivery, we will continue to update you with information. 

If you have any questions that are not answered in this list please contact us.

What is the NDIS?

What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is all about choice and control.

It is designed to empower people with disability to work towards achievements, to identify the disability related support they need, and to choose where they would like to buy their supports.

The NDIS is a national no fault insurance scheme designed to change the way that disability services are delivered in Australia. It aims to do this by:

  • recognising that disability related support is an entitlement
  • acknowledging the right of all people to an ‘ordinary life’
  • matching funding to the support needed and placing control over the funding with the person and their support network
  • ensuring that providers discuss the service they will deliver with the person who will receive it through negotiation of individual service agreements
  • supporting a social model of disability support where the community sector contributes to support as they do for all community members, and
  • facilitating choice of provider in an open market.
Who does the NDIS support?

The NDIS is in place to support:

  • people with a permanent disability, their family and carers, by funding reasonable and necessary support for each person’s unique needs
  • other community, health and social services, by ensuring people are connected to the right services, and
  • all Australians, by providing a safety net for anyone who acquires a disability in the future.

The NDIS is expected to provide funding to around 460 000 Australians once it is rolled out across the nation.

What is a Local Area Coordinator?

A Local Area Coordinator (LAC) is someone who will work with many NDIS participants to confirm or assess eligibility, undertake planning, and review supports in plans when they require updating.

An LAC might be an employee of the NDIS or someone who is employed by a service contracted by the NDIS to deliver LAC services.

You first contact about the NDIS might come from an LAC.

Who is the Local Area Coordinator for north east Melbourne?

In north east Melbourne, the Brotherhood of St Laurence is providing Local Area Coordinator services. The Brotherhood of St Laurence is supporting people with disability in Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Yarra, Darebin and Banyule to access the scheme or access community and mainstream services.

You can contact the Brotherhood of St Laurence NDIS team by phone, email or visiting one of their offices.

Phone: 1300 BSLNDIS (1300 275 634)

Banyule and Nillumbik: 65 Main Street Greensborough
Darebin: 293 High Street Preston
Whittlesea: 1/1 Latitude Boulevard Thomastown
Yarra: 95 Brunswick St Fitzroy

When is the NDIS happening?

When is the NDIS happening?

The NDIS is already happening – it’s been operating in trial sites across Australia since July 2013.

These trials have proved to be a great way to see what works with the scheme and areas for improvement before NDIS is rolled out across the country.

The NDIS has been trialled in:

  • The Barwon region of Victoria since July 2013
  • The Hunter Region of New South Wales since July 2013
  • Tasmania for young people ages 15-24 since July 2013
  • South Australia for children under 14 since July 2013
  • Australian Capital Territory since July 2014
  • Perth Hills and Lower South West in Western Australia since 2014
  • Barkly Region of the Northern Territory since July 2014
When is the NDIS coming to my area?

This NDIS is being rolled out across Victoria over the next few years.

From 1 July 2016, people who live in the local government areas of Yarra, Banyule, Darebin, Nillumbik and Whittlesea will be able to access the scheme.

Following years will see more areas transitioning to the NDIS:

  • 2017: Wimmera South West, Central Highlands, Loddon, Inner Gippsland, Inner East Melbourne, Outer East Melbourne, Ovens Murray
  • 2018: Hume Moreland, Brimbank Melton, Western Melbourne, Bayside Peninsula, Southern Melbourne
  • 2019: Outer Gippsland, Mallee, Goulburn

When the NDIS comes to your area, it is likely that you will be contacted by the NDIS, or a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) who is endorsed by the NDIS, to start working on your plan.

Learn more about when the NDIS is coming to your area.

Download the NDIS rollout in Victoria flyer

How do I access the NDIS?

Who is eligible for the NDIS?

Eligibility for the NDIS depends on where you live and the nature of your disability.

To access the NDIS, you must:

  • live in an NDIS trial site or transition area
  • have a permanent disability that
    • reduces your ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions, unless you have support, and
    • affects your capacity for social and economic participation, and
    • means you are likely to require support under the NDIS for a lifetime.

You must also be:

  • an Australian citizen, or
    • the holder of a permanent visa, or
    • hold a Protected Special Category Visa, and
  • be aged under 65.

Early childhood intervention

Children under 6 years old will be assessed against the NDIS criteria for early intervention. As with other early intervention programs, this assumes that there is some capacity to develop skills with the right services and supports delivered at the right time. If children require ongoing support across their lifetime they can transition into the disability stream of the NDIS.

A child may meet the early childhood intervention criteria if they are aged under 6 years of age with developmental delay which results in:

  • substantially reduced functional capacity in one or more of the areas of self-care, receptive and expressive language, cognitive development or motor development and
  • results in the need for a combination and sequence of special interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment or other services which are of extended duration, and are individually planned and coordinated, and
  • those supports are most appropriately funded through the NDIS, and not through another service system.

Download the access and eligibility booklet:

What happens if someone is aged over 65?

People aged over 65 currently accessing funded disability support will continue to receive support under legislated continuity of support agreements, unless they choose to move across to aged care or health services or support.

People who acquire a disability after the age of 65 are not eligible for the NDIS and will be supported by aged or health care services, consistent with current arrangements.

What happens if someone is not eligible?

The NDIS is committed to continuing support arrangements for people currently accessing disability services and support.

There are internal and independent review processes for people who want to appeal decisions made about accessing the NDIS.

For more information on eligibility, please visit the NDIS website or contact the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110.

How does someone find out if they are eligible?

People can find out if they are eligible for the NDIS funding through an online tool called theNDIS Access Checklist.

This tool asks questions that can help you to work out if you are eligible for NDIS support.

For more information on eligibility, please visit the NDIS website or contact the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110.

Download the access and eligibility booklet:

Will Yooralla carry out eligibility assessments?

NDIS access or eligibility processes will be managed by the NDIS and conducted either by NDIS or LAC staff.

People who have not accessed disability support before the NDIS will need to provide information about their disability, how it impacts their daily life and what support they currently access (if any). It is a good idea to start thinking about what information you have to support this process.

People who are currently accessing funded disability support services and support will transition into the scheme after being contacted by the NDIS to advise that it is their turn to develop a plan.

Yooralla has developed a booklet that can help you to prepare for access to the scheme.

Download the preparation and planning booklet:

Do I have to register with Yooralla to get the NDIS?

No. If you are already receiving disability support funding your service provider will have provided your details to the NDIS who will be in contact with you when the scheme is available in your area.  

If you do not currently access disability services, you will need to be assessed for eligibility to access the NDIS. You will have to complete a more detailed assessment process to provide the NDIS with information about you and the level of support you need if you have a permanent disability.

Yooralla has developed a booklet that can assist you to prepare to access the NDIS

Download the access and eligibility booklet:

How does NDIS planning work?

What is an NDIS plan?

An NDIS plan outlines a person’s goals and the disability related services and support that will be funded to achieve those goals. Goals are matched to support categories and each category included in the plan will have a budget to purchase supports.

What should I plan for?

When it’s your turn to plan for transition to the NDIS, you should think about what is important to you. You could start by thinking about:

  • what supports you currently access and whether these meet your needs
  • what you want to learn
  • where you want to live
  • what sort of work or community activity you want to do
  • whether you have enough support to do these things.

Yooralla has developed a guide that can help you to prepare and plan for the NDIS that takes you through some of these questions and helps to identify the supports, services and activities that are important to you.

Think about ways that you can gather information about things you want you do. Make lists, gather flyers and pamphlets or perhaps take photos with your phone or tablet so you can prioritise what is important to you.

Download the preparation and planning booklet:

What services and support can people access under the NDIS?

The NDIS will provide funding for ‘reasonable and necessary’ support, services and equipment. The supports and services provided should assist a person to:

  • do things independently
  • participate in the community
  • access educational opportunities
  • get a job and earn a wage
  • achieve goals
  • develop skills for daily living.
What does 'reasonable and necessary' support mean?

NDIA staff make decisions about what is ‘reasonable and necessary’ based on the rules within the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act).

To be considered reasonable and necessary, a support must:

  • be related to the participant’s disability
  • not include day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s disability support needs
  • represent value for money
  • be likely to be effective and beneficial to the participant, and
  • take into account informal supports given to participants by families, carers, networks, and the community.
Who are planners?

Planners are staff nominated and endorsed by the NDIS who work with you to identify your goals and the supports you need to achieve your goals.

These staff could be called planners or Local Area Coordinators (LACs).

You have the right to provide feedback and if you do not feel comfortable with your planner, you can ask for another person to work with you instead.

Is the NDIS means tested?

No, the funding under the NDIS is not means tested. Support is related to a person’s disability and the supports they need, not their capacity to pay for support.

Are there set package amounts?

No, there are not set package amounts. Unlike an individual support plan (ISP), you do not plan to the value of the package and then prioritise your needs.

An NDIS plan aims to give you the supports you need to be as independent as possible, reducing your need for support over time. The cost of the package is determined only by what you include in it. This might change each time you plan.

Is there enough funding for everyone?

Yes. The NDIS has run on time and to budget since the trial began in 2013. Before the NDIS trials started, the government asked experts to develop a model of how the funding would be used and how much would be required to run the insurance scheme properly. The NDIS reports on this every quarter and you can see these reports on the NDIS website.

Can I choose how I plan?

Yes, you can discuss your preference for the way your plan is developed when you are contacted by the NDIS. This may mean meeting face to face, over the phone or online, for one meeting or several meetings.

Can I change my plan?

Yes, if your needs or circumstances change, you can ask to review your plan at any time. The NDIS or an LAC can help you through the process to request a change to your plan.

What does the NDIS fund?

The NDIS funds the reasonable and necessary, disability related support that participants require under three categories:

  • Capital funding – for purchasing one off items such as equipment, technology or modifications
  • Core funding – for day to day support required, such as personal care
  • Capacity funding – for skill building, training and learning.
What doesn't the NDIS fund?

The NDIS doesn’t cover daily living expenses – things like rent or board, food or your mobile phone bill. These costs will continue to be paid for from your usual source of income from work or the disability support pension.

The NDIS does not replace funding that is more appropriate from other sources such as education, health or transport. These supports will continue to be funded as they are now.

Will I get the same level of support as I get now?

Yes – there are rules built into the NDIS that make sure people currently receiving support, who are eligible for the NDIS, will not be ‘worse off’ when they transition to the new scheme.

To make sure you continue to receive the supports you need, it’s important to understand what you receive now and talk about these supports in your planning meeting.

Does the NDIS fund medication?

Medication is not usually funded in people’s plans. Medication falls under the responsibility of the health system and therefore would not be an NDIS funded item.

Does the NDIS fund transport?

Yes, under the NDIS, the Centrelink Mobility Allowance will be replaced by funding for transport needs related to a person’s disability in individual plans. There are special provisions for travel for participants and providers in remote and very remote communities.

Make sure that you think about your transport support needs in the planning process. Transport support might include funding for taxis or buses, or travel training to build your skills and reduce the need for support in the future.

Does the NDIS fund equipment?

Yes, assessment to identify the appropriate equipment or technology, writing reports and prescriptions and fitting of equipment when delivered are all funded by the NDIS.

You will also need to consider repairs and maintenance of equipment and whether people working with you will require special training to use the equipment or technology.

The full cost of equipment is funded, and supply is currently managed via the State-wide Equipment program (SWEP). The NDIS will work out a national strategy as the scheme rolls out across states and territories, this will consider how equipment and technology can be managed efficiently and address issues such as supply time lines.

The NDIS has a focus on providing equipment and assistive technology that increases independence for people with disability. You should ensure that you discuss all options in the planning process.

Does the NDIS fund specialist disability accommodation?

The NDIS funds the shared component of support in shared supported accommodation. The funding is based on an assessed level of need, from low to standard or complex, and the number of people sharing the accommodation.

Any extra individual support would need to be specific to a person’s goals, as part of their plan, and be considered reasonable and necessary support.

You should discuss your accommodation options with your planner. The NDIS also funds support that people require to live independently in the community. Whilst there are not many options currently for affordable accessible accommodation, this will change over time as more people are looking for options in the community.

Does the NDIS fund respite?

The NDIS aims to increase people’s independence, including support for activities at home or in the community that result in less reliance on family members or housemates.

For example, previous in home respite accessed through Home and Community Care (HACC) programs, often provided respite at a time specified by the program, for a specified number of hours on a regular basis, and funded one staff member regardless of the number of people in the household who required support. This is because the respite is perceived to be for the carer and not the person with disability.

Under the NDIS and with the aim of supporting the person with disability and their family, ‘respite’ hours become more flexible and more purpose or goal oriented.

Facility based respite can be funded in an NDIS plan where this is the best option to meet the needs of the participant and their family or carers. Facility based respite is funded as a shared support cost per day to replace the current block funding model for respite providers.

What support can I get?

Who can support me in the planning process?

When you start your planning journey, it’s a good idea to identify whether you need support for the process. If you do then think about a person or group of people who know you well and who can assist to develop your plan.

This might be a family member, friend or an advocate – someone who knows you well, can provide some background about your needs and can make sure your voice is heard. Some people have chosen individuals or groups such as circles of support or micro-boards to support the planning process.

While service providers or staff may know you well, it is better to have someone by your side who knows all parts of your life and your needs.

If you cannot think of someone you already know who can support you, perhaps you could think about getting to know an advocate now so you can be comfortable with them when it is your turn to plan.

Remember you have the right to information in a way that is right for you. You should ensure that you know what is in your plan and make sure that you see the plan before it is finalised by the NDIS.

Who can support me to implement my plan?

When you develop your plan with the NDIS, let them know if you’d like some support to implement your plan.

You can access three levels of support coordination, if you need it:

  • support connection – short term assistance to find services and develop service agreements
  • coordination of support – can also help you to find services and develop service agreements, but there may be some extra complexity
  • specialist support coordination – for participants with very complex needs, that requires coordination by specialists.
Can I self-manage my NDIS package?

Yes, you can self-manage you funding under NDIS. This is actively encouraged by the NDIA. You can also access training and support from advocacy organisations that can help you to manage your own package.

Can I get support to manage my plan?

Yes, you can ask for a financial intermediary to be funded in your plan. This is someone who can manage the invoicing and claims on your behalf. You can also have a significant person in your life identified as the plan nominee. This means that person can manage the invoicing and claims for you. This person does not have to be a legally appointed guardian or administrator so could be a trusted family member or friend. They do not get to make decisions on your behalf.

You can also choose to have the NDIS manage you plan, this means the providers that you engage have a service agreement with you about how support is delivered but claim for the services they provide directly from the NDIS.

Can I employ my own staff?

Yes, if you self-manage your funding you can employ anyone - but you need to ensure that you make arrangements for insurance and staff entitlements such as long service leave.

There is information available from NDIS about how to self-manage a plan and there will be more information about how you can employ your own staff in the Quality and Safeguards framework when it is finalised and published.

Who can help me find appropriate providers in my area?

The NDIS has a list of registered providers available on their website. You can search for a provider by choosing the support type you want and entering your postcode. The list will show you which providers are closest to where you live.

Can I choose any provider?

Yes, you can choose who delivers your support and services under NDIS. Many providers are registered with the NDIS. This means they have had to meet criteria set out by the NDIS including demonstration of business registration and insurance and a commitment to meet quality and safeguards standards. In Victoria these standards are currently the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) standards to ensure that all services and support are of the same standard during transition to the NDIS. You can find registered providers on the NDIS website and search for your requirements by entering your postcode and the service type you are looking for.

Can I use the same providers I have now?

Yes, you can continue to use your current provider for all or some of the support you choose to put in your plan. You might want to talk to your current provider about more services or changes to way in which you support is delivered. Service providers can be registered with the NDIS; this ensures that they are required to meet quality and safety standards that are consistent with current requirements.

What if I don’t like my provider that I choose – what can I do?

You can choose the provider that delivers your support. You will negotiate a service agreement when you choose a provider and this may include how you change providers or cease services if you are not happy. If you choose to change providers, then you will be responsible for engaging an alternative or talking to the NDIS about changing your plan.

You are responsible for advising providers that you engage of any changes to you plan, when your plan is reviewed, when you want to access more or less service or support, when you want to change how support is delivered or want to start or stop accessing services.

I am a carer of a person with a disability – what does the NDIS mean for me?

The NDIS acknowledges that families and carers need support to continue to support a person with disability.

The best way to ensure that carers are supported is to ensure that the person with disability has the support they require so that family and carers can live their lives. This may mean additional support at times when family or carers could be at educational options or work, ‘respite’ for the person at times they can undertake activities independently of family, building capacity to ensure the person’s needs reduce over time or provision of equipment or technology that increases independence and reduces reliance on others.

NDIS plans focus on the whole of life support a person requires, this includes maximising outcomes for the person, their family and carers.

More information for carers is available on the NDIS website.

What will happen to my home and community care (HACC) service?

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolls out in Melbourne’s north-eastern region, changes will be made to home and community care (HACC) services. 

If you are currently receiving HACC services and are under 65 you may be able to access the NDIS. 

If you meet the NDIS edibility criteria, you will continue to receive your existing HACC supports and services until you transition to the NDIS. When you plan with the NDIS, you should talk about the support you receive from HACC to ensure you receive funding for this assistance in your plan.

If you do not meet the NDIS eligibility criteria or are over 65, your HACC service will be replaced by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). 

The CHSP will largely replace HACC services and will fund a similar range of services currently provided under HACC. You will continue to receive HACC services until you transition to CHSP.

For more information, contact the Department of Health and Human Services HACC Transition Team at or contact your local council: 

  • Nillumbik Shire Council – (03) 9433 3111 
  • Banyule City Council – (03) 9490 4222
  • City of Whittlesea – (03) 9217 2170
  • City of Yarra – (03) 9205 5555
  • City of Darebin – (03) 8470 8888

Feedback and complaints

What if I am not happy with a decision made by the NDIS?

If you are not happy with a decision made by the NDIS, you should firstly appeal via the NDIS directly through their internal reviews process.

If you are still not happy following that process, you can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

What if I am not happy with the NDIA, my plan or my planner?

If you are not happy with the service or support received by the NDIA, or with your plan or planner, you should firstly follow the NDIA’s complaints process.

The NDIA complaints procedure states that you will be called about your complaint within two business days and that it aims to resolve all complaints within 21 days. If you are still unhappy with the outcome of the complaints process, you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman.  

You can also contact the Disability Services Commissioner if you have a complaint about your plan or planner.

What if I am not happy with the supports I’ve been funded to receive through my NDIS plan?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from a disability or mental health provider, or any other service you have been funded for under your plan, the first step is to follow the provider’s feedback and complaints processes. If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can take your complaint to:

However you if you have complaint about your service provide you can go directly to the Disability Services Commissioner first. 

If you are unsure who to contact, you can always contact the Disability Services Commissioner.


For NDIS enquiries or to purchase services using NDIS funding, please contact us:

Phone: 1800 966 725

To find out more about  the NDIS, please contact our Community Engagement team:

Phone: 03 9666 4500

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