What is the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a life-changing Australian system. Established by the government in 2013, it provides funds to people with a disability. More specifically, it helps cover disability-care costs for:
- Aussies with significant and permanent conditions, and
- a wide range of supports and services that help improve their quality of life.
The NDIS marks a change in the way Australia provides disability support.
Previously, disability support services used a limiting one-size-fits-all model.
Now, eligible people (participants) access individualised supports and services.
This new system represents a shift towards a more person-centred approach. One that recognises the goals and needs of each participant. Not surprisingly, it’s a welcome life-line for those with a disability and their family.
The key goals of connecting eligible NDIS Participants with NDIS Providers is to:
a) enhance community participation
b) increase economic contribution; and
c) foster the availability of quality services and core supports.
Overall, this helps improve the quality of life of Australians with disabilities.
What is an NDIS Provider?
An NDIS Provider offers NDIS-funded services to participants. They have varying levels of knowledge and skill, and may be a:
- sole trader
- charity, or
- other type of organisation.
Primarily, NDIS Providers deliver support services to participants that align with:
These are regulated by the NDIS Commission, who oversees the NDIS scheme. All providers must adhere to these guidelines, whether they are registered or unregistered.
NDIS Providers must also meet quality and safety standards, which includes having:
- business insurance and certifications
- appropriate qualifications and experience
- NDIS Worker Screening Check, if necessary
- person-focused care practices.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) monitors and enforces these standards. They do so to ensure the safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants.
Benefits of being an NDIS Registered Provider
NDIS Registered Providers are considered gold standard. That’s because they meet all the registration requirements set by the NDIS Commission, including:
- suitability requirements,
- time-consuming, costly and complex audits.
Becoming a Registered Provider offers credibility and trust to participants and their families. It shows that the provider is invested in assisting these individuals under the NDIS.
Registered service providers receive:
- Advertisement on the NDIS website
- Increased business potential
- Recognition as being trustworthy and capable of providing quality disability services
- Opportunities to work directly with NDIA-managed participants
- Fast payments via the NDIS portal
- Ongoing support and resources provided by the NDIS
- Options to offer a range of products and services across various support categories.
This is in contrast to Unregistered Providers.
They do not complete the registration process. Nor do they receive the same benefits and business opportunities. For this reason, they may need to work harder to gain community trust and credibility.
However, Unregistered Providers can still offer services in some instances. This depends on the individual participant’s NDIS plan.
Avaana helps simplify the process for eligible businesses applying for NDIS Registration.
Who do NDIS Providers work with?
NDIS Providers work with a range of participants.
This includes young children through to older adults with a:
- neurological and/or
- psychosocial disability.
They offer help with everyday activities and personal care in the participant’s home. Also, they provide complex medical care in residential facilities or in the community. As a result, NDIS Providers must be adaptable, culturally aware, and responsive to a client’s needs.
To deliver effective support, NDIS Providers often collaborate with other stakeholders. This could be a healthcare professional, educator, or community organisation.
A provider may work with a child who has autism. In some instances, they may also work with the child’s speech therapist and teacher. This can significantly improve the participant’s independence and wellbeing.
Having strong communication skills is important for this collaboration and coordination process. This vital skill helps ensure:
- the needs and preferences of everyone involved are understood and respected
- trust between all parties
- minimal misunderstandings
- consistency in care.
Examples of NDIS support
NDIS supports are diverse, as they’re designed to meet participants’ varying needs. The main support categories are:
- Assistive Technologies
- Daily Life Activities
- Community Participation
- Education and Employment
- Health and Wellbeing
- Home Modifications
- Increased Community Participation
- Maintaining Relationships
- Personal Care
- Products and Consumables
- Social Participation
- Specialist Disability Accommodation
- Support Coordination
- Therapeutic Support
Funding for assistive technology may include wheelchairs, hearing aids, communication devices, and home modifications to improve accessibility. Funds support the assessment, purchase, and maintenance of these technologies. The purpose is to improve the independence, safety, and quality of life of the participant.
These supports and services help participants meet everyday lifestyle goals and long-term goals. Tailoring services assist people with disabilities to live an independent life.
To personalise services and funding, participants receive a support plan. There are 3 types:
- Self-managed plan
- Plan-managed plan
- NDIA-managed plan.
Participants can choose the funding management option that best suits them. However, it’s important to choose carefully as some plans restrict NDIS support access.
What is an NDIS support plan?
An NDIS support plan is a customised funding plan for NDIS participants.
It outlines participant’s goals, support needs, and the specific services they require. Involved in this process is the participant and their:
- family members
- support Network
- NDIS Planner or Support Coordinator.
Creating an individual plan involves:
- Identifying the participant’s goals, e.g. building skillsets
- Assessing the participant’s support requirements, e.g. assistance with daily life
- Assessing the resource allocation, e.g. funding, plan options, providers needed, timelines
- Periodically reviewing the plan to ensure it still meets the participant’s needs and goals.
NDIS Providers implement and adjust support plans as needed. Each plan impacts the type of support workers that participants can access.
Self-managed participants manage their own funding. Therefore, they’re responsible for selecting and paying their support providers.
Registered and unregistered providers can be used for most services.
Plan-managed participants have a plan manager. They collaborate with the participant to manage funding and support providers.
Unregistered and registered providers can be accessed for most service types.
Self-managed and plan-managed participants may only use registered NDIS Providers for:
- specialist disability accommodation settings
- supports or services related to a regulated restrictive practice
- some specialist behaviour supports.
Under an NDIA-managed plan, all participant activities are managed by the NDIA.
This is the most limited option as only registered providers may be used. However, in some cases having the NDIA fully manage a participant’s plan is necessary.
How many NDIS Providers are there in Australia?
There are thousands of NDIS Providers in Australia.
As of 31 March 2023, 19,124 NDIS Providers have supported participants so far.
This number has grown significantly since the scheme began in 2013. It’s expected to grow even more over the next few years. This is because predictions show an increasing demand for disability and community services.
Despite the growing number of registered disability support workers, participant demands are not always met. The availability of NDIS Providers between regions is a factor.
In some rural areas, there is a shortage of disability support providers. Participants in these areas are often placed on a waiting list. Unfortunately, this can impact quality of life while they’re waiting for an available provider.
Having a diverse, robust network of NDIS Providers is essential.
This is the only way to meet the growing demand for disability support services in Australia. It ensures participants access a range of support options tailored to their unique needs. It also promotes competition and innovation in the disability service business sector.
Interested in becoming a Registered NDIS Provider, but still unsure of the process?
Avaana provides expert business advice and specialise in helping eligible businesses get NDIS Registered with ease.