Our frequently asked questions about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can help make the way forward clearer for you and your family.

The NDIS is a new approach to disability support.  It is designed to provide people with disabilities, their families and carers with greater choice and control over the type and mix of supports and services that they need.  Funding will provide for reasonable and necessary supports to assist people to participate in life at home, in the community and at work.  The National Disability Insurance Agency will develop individualised plans and allocate funding to implement these plans to ensure supports and services assist people to achieve their goals.  People will still be able to access traditional disability support services and have access to a broader range of mainstream and community supports.

The NDIS has been operating since 2013 across a number of trial sites. From these trials:

  • 22,281 participants received individualised plans, helping them change their lives by accessing supports and services they need to live more independently.
  • We understand that participants with autism spectrum disorder and related disorders represented the highest proportion of approved plans overall at 30%. People with intellectual disability (including Downs Syndrome) represented the second highest proportion.
  • 70% of packages cost below $30,000 and 11% have packages over $100,000.
  • 95% of participants indicated they are satisfied with the NDIS.

Some of the positive outcomes people identified were:

  • making new friends
  • doing every day tasks
  • catching public transport
  • learning to drive
  • going to the library
  • using playgrounds
  • exploring new ways to live
  • joining the workforce
  • learning independent living skills
  • families and carers working/studying.
  • An early launch began on 1 April 2016 for eligible people in Townsville, Charters Towers and Palm Island. This is providing Queensland with an opportunity to test the scheme within the Queensland setting.
  • The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments agreed that from July 2016 the NDIS will progressively be rolled out for the rest of Queensland. This will be done over a three year period and be fully implemented by 1st July 2019.
  • Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 eligible people in the Ipswich, Lockyer, Scenic Rim and Somerset will transition to the NDIS.
  • The NDIS estimates that the scheme will support around 97,000 Queenslanders and will create 13,000 additional jobs by the time it is fully implemented in 2019.

People with a permanent disability that significantly affects their ability to take part in everyday activities or require early intervention may be eligible for the NDIS. (See NDIS Disability Access Checker at www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist)

In addition, they must be:

  • aged under 65 years when they first access the NDIS
  • live in Australia and be:
    • an Australian citizen, or
    • hold a permanent visa, or
    • hold a Protected Special Category Visa.

(If you are 65 or over when the NDIS starts and need support the aged care system is available for you. See www.myagedcare.gov.au )

You do not need to be registered with Disability Services, or any other Queensland Government department, to participate in the NDIS.

The eligibility for NDIS is different to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). This means some people will be able to access the NDIS even if they can’t access the DSP. The NDIS is not income support so people on DSP will not be affected if they become a participant of the NDIS except for mobility allowance as the NDIS includes transport.

If you already receive support from the Queensland Government or a funded service provider these will continue until the NDIS is fully introduced in your location. When it starts in Ipswich, eligible participants will move to the NDIS and have choice and control over their supports and services. The Queensland Government will work with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), service providers and people with a disability, their families and carers to ensure that disability supports and services continue during the NDIS transition.

  • The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) connects you with community and mainstream supports to help you pursue your goals and aspirations, and participate in daily life.
  • You will continue to have access to mainstream services, such as health, education, transport and housing.
  • There will be continuity of support provisions if you are not eligible for the NDIS and currently receive disability supports from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is responsible across Australia for implementing the NDIS.  The NDIA already has offices in Brisbane and Townsville with plans to expand these as the NDIS rolls out in Queensland.  When the NDIS commences in your area you can contact the NDIA Office. Under the NDIS, you are called a ‘participant’.

Once the NDIA has confirmed you can access the scheme as a participant, a planner at the NDIA office will arrange to meet with you.  Together you can discuss your needs, goals and aspirations and the supports you currently receive.  This may take more than one meeting and you can involve family, friends and community service organisations in these discussions.

Planning conversations will look at your whole life focusing on the following:

  • learning and applying knowledge
  • self care and health care
  • general daily tasks and demands
  • domestic life activities
  • communication
  • community, civic and social life
  • education and training
  • mobility
  • relationships

The planner will then use the information they got from meeting with you in the planning interviews to develop an individualised plan of supports that best meets your needs, aspirations and goals. This could include your existing supports if you are satisfied with these arrangements and they meet your needs, aspirations and goals. It can also include looking at alternative support options.

What are alternative support options?

  • Informal supports could include support provided from family and friends.
  • Mainstream supports could include support from the community such as the health and education system, therapeutic supports and more.

NDIS-funded support includes supports funded by the NDIS to achieve goals within an annual budget. If required the NDIS will also fund reasonable and necessary supports that help you achieve your goals such as therapies, equipment, home modifications, mobility equipment, taking part in community activities or assistance with employment.

The NDIS may provide funding for ‘reasonable and necessary’ support, services and equipment.


The types of supports that the NDIS may fund for participants can include:

  • assistance with daily personal activities
  • transport so you can participate in community, social, economic and daily life activities
  • workplace help to support you to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market
  • therapeutic supports including behaviour support
  • help with household tasks to allow you to maintain your home environment e.g. meal planning, cooking, cleaning
  • help from skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training e.g. Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist
  • home modification design and installation
  • aids and equipment, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids
  • vehicle and specialised equipment modifications.

The NDIS Act 2013 (The Act) and the rules made under the Act tell us which supports will not be funded by the NDIS.


A support will not be funded if it:

  • is not related to the your disability
  • duplicates other supports already funded by a different mechanism from the NDIS, such as Medicare or Department of Education
  • relates to day-to-day living costs that are not related to your support needs


  • is likely to cause harm to you or pose a risk to others.

Your finalised plan should include your individual goals and what funds have been allocated to you. You can choose how supports are given and which services you use.

You can manage your plan in five ways:

Agency-managed – this is where the providers claim directly from the NDIA.


  • can choose the NDIA to manage the funding of supports in your plan including the payment of service providers
  • can select your own providers and enter into agreements of how supports are to be delivered
  • will need to use registered providers for any supports provided through the NDIA. E.g. Focal will be a registered provider and available for participants to engage to meet their goals and aspirations.


Plan manager – A third party that you choose can manage the financial transactions in your plan.


A registered plan management provider, like Focal is an individual or organisation that undertakes the management of funds for the supports in a participant’s plan. It is similar to the existing ‘Your Life Your Choice’ arrangements in Queensland. A plan manager may be responsible for:

  • assisting participants to develop skills in this area
  • negotiating and coordinating the provision of support
  • sourcing and paying providers
  • processing expense claims for participants.


Self-managed – You (or your nominee) directly manage the funds. If you choose this option you are fully responsible and accountable for:

  • sourcing and arranging supports
  • making payments to your chosen providers
  • managing your plan expenditure
  • keeping records of all plan purchases and providing three to NDIA.


Combination – A combination of the above four options can be used together to meet your individual needs.


  • 63% of participants have chosen to have the NDIA manage their plans
  • 32% are using a combination of NDIA Management and self management
  • 5% are solely self-managed
  • 73% of participants are accessing mainstream services