NDIS what you need to know

The National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) is the new way Australia is providing support for people with permanent and significant disabilities. It will give people with a disability direct access to money, through the creation of an annual plan, to fund the supports they need to live life and achieve their goals. 

What do I need to do to prepare for the NDIS?

You need to answer the following three questions:

  1. Do I qualify for the NDIS?
    SCIA believes that all people with a spinal cord injury will be eligible for the NDIS. If you have any questions please call us on 1800 819 775. 
  2. When will the NDIS start in the region where I live?
    For suburb lists and more in-depth information on regions and the transition dates please see https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites.html.

    For a full list of all Australian NDIS rollout dates please visit: https://scia.org.au/ndis/ndis-rollout

    If you need any help, call us on 1800 819 775.
  3. Do you currently receive funding from your state government to support you?
    If you do, the NDIA will contact you to arrange a meeting. If you don’t, you will need to contact the NDIA directly on 1800 800 110. The meeting with the NDIA is called an NDIS Planning Meeting. SCIA is offering assistance to help you prepare for this meeting so please contact us on 1800 819 775 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more details.


What does the NDIS fund?

The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports you need to help you reach your goals, aspirations and objectives designed to:

  • Increase your independence
  • Increase your social and economic participation; and
  • Develop your capacity to actively take part in the community.

The types of supports the NDIS may fund include:

  • Daily personal activities
  • Increased social and community participation
  • Transport
  • Help with household tasks
  • Therapeutic supports such as OT, physiotherapy
  • Health and wellbeing activities such as personal training and exercise
  • Help to keep you, or get you into, employment
  • Aids and equipment, home and car modifications.

Under the NDIS, a participant’s reasonable and necessary supports take into account any informal supports already available to the individual (these informal arrangements are considered family life or natural connections with friends and community services), as well as other formal supports such as health and education.

How the NDIS Process works

Once you have been contacted by or have contacted the NDIA yourself, you can start the planning and assessment process which will include an NDIS Planning Meeting. At the NDIS Planning Meeting a plan will be developed which will set out in detail the supports you will need and who will be providing those supports. Plans will be reviewed every 12 months so if you forget to put something in your initial plan or if your support needs change you will be able to revise the plan at review time to include these changes.  

Preparing for your planning meeting

To help you plan for your planning meeting there are some key resources available to you:

  • SCIA has produced an interactive workbook that takes you step-by-step through the process of your first NDIS Plan. The workbook gives you checklists and relevant information on available supports, the questions to ask and how to access information available. The workbook can be downloaded here
  • The NDIS price guide provides detailed information about the supports that will be funded - Price guide for VIC, NSW, Qld, Tas. Price guide for WA, ACT, NT, SA.
  • The NDIS My NDIS Pathway helps you understand the path you will travel as the NDIS begins to work with you.
  • Also don't forget that SCIA can help you prepare for the NDIS Planning Meeting so please contact us on 1800 819 775 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  to discuss your needs in more detail.

Information to guide you when making your plan - the Support Categories

The NDIS has 15 categories for support that help guide you when making your NDIS plan so you include everything you might need for the 12 months ahead. These categories cover the range of areas in your life from personal care through to greater community participation. To help you prepare for your NDIS Planning Meeting it would be helpful to understand these categories so you add in everything you need in the first instance.

The support categories identified with the NDIS plan are listed below: (Download a copy of the support categories to print or take with you here)


1. Assistance with daily life

  • Is based around personal tasks of daily life to enable you to live as independently as possible.
    • Includes personal care - physical supports (carers) both at home and at work.
    • Covers the provision of supports to enable you to maintain your home environment. This may include essential household tasks that you cannot undertake yourself (e.g. gardening, linen service, house cleaning, preparation and delivery of meals etc).
  • Also includes assistance with and/or supervising tasks of daily life in a shared living environment, which is either temporary or ongoing.  This is about using shared care, in addition to your personal care, in shared accommodation. 
  • SCIA can formally engage personal carers or an agency on your behalf and ensure you continue to receive the level of care you need over time.
  • SCIA can do this by becoming your Plan Manager (Category 14) and/or Support Coordinator (Category 7) – see below. 
  • This includes paying your expenses, monitoring the financial and administrative parts of your NDIS Plan and supporting you in times of need, whilst you continue to make all the decisions to control your life.

2. Transport - to access daily activities

  • To enable you to access the community for educational, recreational and work purposes. 
  • The minimum amount of funding you receive should align with the Mobility Allowance payable by Centrelink and will be paid fortnightly in advance by the NDIS. 
  • When an NDIS plan is approved Centrelink will cancel your Mobility Allowance. However you will keep your Health Care Card if you have one. 
  • Funding for transport assistance is generally limited to people who cannot use public transport due to their disability and the NDIS will consider any relevant taxi subsidy scheme you are eligible for.  
  • SCIA can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Categories 7&14 below.  Note:  SCIA does not directly provide transport services. 
  • You are encouraged to think carefully about all the transport needs you will have to meet the activities that may be funded in your NDIS plan.  This is an area where people in the trial sites have often underestimated their needs, so cross reference your transport needs against what is approved in your plan before signing off.

3. Consumables

  • To assist you with purchasing everyday items you need such as continence products. 
  • Supports such as interpreting, translating, and home enteral nutrition (HEN) products are also included in this category. 
  • Note that some items may require a quote prior to purchase. 
  • SCIA can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Categories 7&14 below. Note: SCIA does not directly provide consumables.

4. Assistance with social & community participation

  • Provision of supports (such as personal care) to enable you to engage in community/social or recreational activities.  Supports may be provided in a centre or in open communities within this category. 
  • This category may be used for activities such as camps, vacation and outside school hours’ care, course or membership fees.
  • The intent of this Support Category is to provide support to enable participants to take part in community activities, particularly when the person is at risk of being socially isolated. 
  • SCIA can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through Plan Management, advice and support, organised events and learning new skills under Support Categories 7, 9 & 14 below.  Note: SCIA does not directly provide personal care services for social and community participation but can assist to source this for you.


5. Assistive technology - assessments and quotes may be required in this area

  • Includes all items and equipment you need for daily living and to help you to live more independently or to assist your carer to support you to do so. 
  • Covers things such as wheelchairs, beds/mattresses, transfer equipment such as hoists and slings, prosthetics and orthotics, equipment related to walking, specialised seating for wheelchairs, equipment for eating and drinking, specialist furniture, bathroom and toilet equipment, communication equipment, environmental control systems etc. 
  • Some items will need an assessment by an allied health professional such as an OT, physiotherapist or registered nurse. 
  • The assessment, fitting, training, customisation or other involvement by a professional will need to be included in your plan under Support Category 15 below.  
  • Equipment rental, equipment repairs and maintenance and any delivery costs also need to be considered and included in your plan.   
  • Vehicle modifications are also included in this category.  They can cover things that enable you to transfer to and from a vehicle, travel safely as a passenger and/or to drive yourself. It may also be possible to cover costs of a rental adapted vehicle for holidays etc under this category. 
  • There is a comprehensive list of items outlined in the NDIA Assistive Technology & Consumables Code Guide.  
  • SCIA has extensive experience in regard to assistive technology. 
  • SCIA has many professional contacts who specialise in assessing and recommending equipment for people with SCI and other physical disability and can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Categories 7&14 below. 
  • This can include sourcing the appropriate professional for you, organising assessments and paying all expenses as your Plan Manager. Note: SCIA does not directly provide assistive technology equipment or assessments. 

6. Home modifications - assessments and quotes will be required

  • Includes both minor and major changes to your home to enable you to live as independently and safely as possible.
  • Covers things such as bathroom, toilet and/or laundry modifications, ramps, handrails, stair climbers, lifts etc.  Can also cover costs like consultation with a builder, approvals and project management of any works.  There is a comprehensive list of items outlined in the NDIA Assistive Technology & Consumables Code Guide
  • SCIA has extensive experience in regard to home modifications and can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Categories 7&14 below.
  • This can include sourcing the appropriate professional for you, organising assessments and paying all expenses as your Plan Manager.  Note: SCIA does not directly provide home modifications or assessments.


7. Coordination of supports

  • Assistance to help you find appropriate supports and coordinate informal (family and friends) and paid supports, such as personal care. 
  • Often this is in the context where some of your supports may be complicated and/or your needs are changing.  You may require help and independent advice to ensure everything is working to your satisfaction. 
  • Coordination of supports includes helping you resolve points of crisis in your life, helping you develop your support networks, resolving service delivery issues (when things go wrong) and assisting in coordinating supports from a range of sources. 
  • Assisting people to build capacity for greater independence (categories 7-15) has always been a core focus for SCIA as a not for profit disability organisation.
  • SCIA uses its extensive knowledge and resources, developed over its 50 year history, to support people under their NDIS plan.  Employing experienced staff, many with a physical disability themselves, SCIA’s coordination of supports covers many areas  including assistance with engaging and monitoring personal care providers, advice and guidance in relation to aids, equipment, transport, allied health professionals and increased social and community participation.

8. Improved living arrangements

  • Supporting you to obtain/retain appropriate accommodation. This may include assistance to apply for a rental tenancy or to undertake tenancy obligations in line with your tenancy agreement.
  • SCIA currently manages shared accommodation facilities and has experience supporting people in tenancy obligations and can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support.

9. Increased social and community participation

  • Skill development to increase independence based on taking part in social and community activities. 
  • This may include lessons to enable you to try out a new activity and test your capability and interest in pursuing this activity further. 
  • Other activities such as public transport training, wheelchair skills training etc may be covered.  Mentoring and peer support are part of this category. 
  • SCIA has substantial experience in supporting people to increase their social and community participation by hosting a series of peer-led events to help people try new activities and increase skills and independence in a safe and supportive environment. 
  • SCIA specialises in mentoring, peer support and individual skill development to increase independence in the community.   

10. Finding and keeping a job

  • Designed to help you obtain and/or retain employment in the open market or in an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE).  
  • If you are eligible for the Commonwealth Government Disability Employment Service (DES) you may have limited access to NDIS funding. 
  • SCIA has extensive experience helping people with SCI and other physical disability to obtain employment both in the open and ADE market and supporting them to retain employment and/or re-train for a new role. 
  • SCIA is an approved DES provider and has a number of ADE contracts with government and non-government organisations (where people are employed by SCIA in administrative positions and paid full award wages). 
  • SCIA can offer employment advice and support to those eligible under this category.

11. Improved relationships

  • Includes social skills development and behaviour intervention supports, where necessary – mainly for people with behavioural issues.
  • SCIA can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Category 7.  Note: SCIA does not directly provide relationship services.

12. Improved health and wellbeing

  • Physical well-being activities - such as personal training and exercise physiology to support, maintain or increase physical mobility. Designed for you to participate in exercise specific to your physical needs. 
  • Dietetics - individual advice available to you in regard to managing your diet due to the impact of your disability.
  • SCIA offers the following exercise programs specially designed to meet the needs of people with SCI and other physical disabilities: 
    • health and fitness group classes,  for people with a range of physical disabilities, aimed at general fitness, health, wellbeing and social participation 
    • a strength and conditioning program, delivered in small groups of 2-3 people with similar physical abilities, which is more individually tailored and aimed at increasing overall fitness, strength and endurance.
  • Programs are delivered at specially designed and equipped facilities in Sydney (Lidcombe, Penrith, Bankstown, Liverpool, Zetland and Sutherland), Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
  • Qualified and experienced exercise physiology and physiotherapy staff who deliver these programs will undertake an initial assessment and recommend the best type of program for you, including options for a one-on-one program. 
  • You may even be able to be involved remotely via a tele-health model if this is deemed suitable by an SCIA professional and is available based on your disability, location and technology available.  
  • SCIA does not directly offer dietetics services but can assist you to achieve your goals in this area through advice and support under Support Category 7.

13. Improved learning

  • Based on provision of skills training, advice, assistance and orientation to assist you if you are moving from school to further education. 
  • SCIA can offer services in this category which are delivered by its experienced DES and peer support staff. 
  • SCIA can also assist you in relation to TAFE, University or other training and education options.

 14. Improved life choices

  • Based on plan management of supports and financial assistance. 
  • You have four choices to manage your NDIS plan: 
    1. use an NDIS registered plan management provider to undertake the management of some or all of the funding for supports in your plan.
    2. self-manage your plan (find and organise all your supports yourself, have a service agreement with each one, pay all your bills including wages and keep records required under the law, including tax requirements)
    3. use the NDIS to manage the funding for your supports (in this case you must use registered providers on the NDIS website), or
    4. use a combination of the above options. 
  • A registered plan management provider can provide you with just financial support, or both financial and service support activities. 
  • Financial support include things such as the organising of providers and their payment, processing of your expenses, development of monthly statements for you, and claiming from the NDIS. Service support includes liaison with you and your support providers in relation to the implementation and overall management of your plan. 
  • SCIA is a registered plan management provider under the NDIS. 
  • SCIA has experience in plan management helping people to manage their individual NSW Government support packages. 
  • To be able to use sole traders or other organisations who may not be a registered provider under the NDIS, you will need to either self-manage your NDIS funding or use a plan manager such as SCIA, or a combination of these options. 
  • Using SCIA under this support category will ensure you minimise the time you have to devote to the administration of your NDIS funding, whilst maintaining the choice and flexibility to engage and manage all the supports that you need.
  • All costs of using a plan manager, if you choose to do this, are covered by your NDIS funding and are in addition to other funding you may receive.

15. Improved daily living

  • Covers individual assessment, therapy and/or training (including assistive technology training) by a professional such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, registered nurse, podiatrist, psychologist, counsellor etc.  
  • This area also covers training for carers/parents, driver training and specialist therapy for early childhood intervention. 
  • SCIA directly employs physiotherapists who undertake assessments and offer specialist intensive individual exercise programs aimed at improving function and developing skills to lead a more independent life. 
  • SCIA has extensive experience with a wide range of professionals who support people with SCI and other physical disabilities and can provide advice and support in this area under Support Categories 7&14 above. 
  • This can include sourcing the appropriate professional for you, organising assessments and paying all expenses as your Plan Manager. 

What’s not funded by the NDIS?

The information we have tells us the NDIS will not fund the following:

  • Costs relating to the day-to-day living costs not related to supports needs;
  • Costs that are not related to the person’s disability;
  • Costs that are already covered by a different mechanism such as Medicare or Department of Education etc.


Contact SCIA on 1800 819 775 or 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  to speak to us about the NDIS.

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