NDIS explained

September 4, 2016

Precede: Cate McKinnon, project manager of the Continence Foundation’s 2016 project, Finding the answers; improving access to continence information, gives an overview of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and how it applies to people affected by incontinence that is the result of a disability.

What is the NDIS?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a new way of providing individualised support for people with a permanent and significant disability.

The scheme is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and is designed for individual control with greater flexibility and choice. Traditionally, funding was allocated to an organisation that provided the support services, with limited choice by the person with the disability. 

The aim of the NDIS is to support eligible people with a disability, called participants. Carers cannot join the NDIS. However, many carers of participants will benefit from the funded supports the participant gets from the NDIS.

If the person you are caring for is eligible for the NDIS (i.e. the participant), the NDIA will meet with them (and the family/carer if the participant chooses), to decide which supports are needed. Together the NDIS plan will be written, and funding will be allocated depending on the needs of the participant. Carers are given an opportunity to speak to NDIA with or without the participant on their ability to continue in providing care to support the participant’s needs.

Head to the Carers Australia website to find out more on where carers fit in the NDIS 


On the NDIS the providers are chosen, and how, when and where the supports are provided. Supports may help the participants to achieve their goals in many aspects of their life, such as independence, involvement in the community, education and employment.

What will be funded?

The NDIS will fund “reasonable and necessary” supports. A “reasonable” support is one that is fair and represents good value for money and a “necessary” support is one that the participant must have to live their life independently.

The NDIS pays for different supports for different people depending on their goals. Two people with similar impairments may have very different NDIS plans because their personal goals may not be the same. Examples of the supports the NDIS will pay for include:

  • transport

  • support workers

  • therapy

  • aids and equipment

  • workplace help

  • home or vehicle modification

Who is eligible for the NDIS?

To be eligible for the NDIS the person needs to:

  • be under 65 years of age

  • be an Australian citizen

  • live in a launch site or be in a launch age group

  • have a permanent impairment and

    • be unable to join in activities or do things without assistive technology, equipment or home modifications or

    • usually require help from others to join in or do things.

If the person is not eligible for the NDIS, the existing funding will continue.

How to find out if eligible?

The NDIS website’s Access Checker will give an indication of eligibility.  If the person you are caring for is eligible and currently receiving disability services through the Department of Social Services, or are on the Disability Support Register (DSR), the details will be sent to the NDIS when they are ready for the transition. Expect to be contacted three to six months before transition.

Keep up to date by going to information sessions run by the NDIS and disability agencies.  There will be a lot of support through the local NDIS branch office when the local area is due to transition.

If the person you are caring for is not currently receiving any disability services, then contact the NDIS at any time to apply.

Where is the NDIS?

From July, 2016, each state will roll out the NDIS differently so check the NDIS website (ndis.gov.au) to find out when it is coming to your area or age group.

What is the planning process?

Planning is essential for getting the best from the NDIS funding. Preparing for a planning meeting is vital, because “if it’s not part of the goal, it’s not part of the plan”.

If the participant and you are both happy with the current arrangements, you don’t need to change.  However, this is an opportunity to review the current services. The current service provider may be able to help with the NDIS plan and goalsetting.  There are also some excellent, helpful resources at My Learning Matters. 

What to think about when planning?

The participant needs to think about considerations such as:

  • their aspirations

  • their goals

  • their strengths and abilities

They also need to consider:

  • the type of supports they need

  • what and how much funding they receive now

  • plans that will help them achieve their goals

  • current providers they can speak to about current services

How can the plan be managed?

The plan can be managed by:

  • the participant (with or without family/friend/carer)

  • a registered plan management provider

  • the NDIA

  • a combination of above

Continence and the NDIS: How is continence products/aids funded under the NDIS? 

If the participant’s continence issues are due to their disability, all the continence products/aids should be supplied through their NDIS plan.  These products/aids must be included in their plan.

What needs to be considered when including incontinence in the planning process? 


  • Which products do they use now?

  • Are they happy with their current products?

  • Should they have their incontinence reassessed to make sure their incontinence is being managed effectively?

  • Is their incontinence preventing them from achieving their goals?  If so, what can be done to improve the situation?

  • Can their continence be better managed?

They may not be able to answer all these questions, so get help from a suitable health professional, including a continence nurse advisor, pelvic floor physiotherapist or GP.  Call the National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66) for information about local continence clinics and suitable products/aids.

If the person you are caring for is eligible for the NDIS, any CAPS payments for their continence products/aids will cease when their plan has been finalised and approved. If their continence issues are not due to their disability, they could still be eligible for CAPS.

How to get continence products?

Continence products will be sent to the participant at intervals of their choosing. Think about the storage of continence products and make sure delivery charges are included in your plan. 


Read more at http://www.continence.org.au/pages/ndis-explained.html

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