Find focus on the NDIS journey
Regardless of your circumstances, there is a good chance that you or someone you know in Western Australia has come into contact with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
As of March, 38,893 Western Australians were engaged in the program. More than half of them – 19,839 – received NDIS support for the first time.
These are many people, each with individual stories, needs, and support networks who want to navigate their way through a nationalized disability service that provides funding but can pose challenges.
Unlike the previous federal system, which ran through the end of 2017, the NDIS provides urgently needed funding to people with disabilities in all states and territories across Australia.
Erin (not a real name) is a Western Australian uniquely positioned to comment on the challenges of nationalized NDIS support coordination provider MyIntegra.
Erin said it was easy for people to get lost while trying to navigate the NDIS, and this could be of concern at a time when clarity and focus were particularly important.
“The system is a lot less personal than it used to be – sometimes you feel like calls are going into one big pool for all of Australia,” she said.
“In the past we have had a direct local area coordinator who has become known over time, but this less personal experience can be quite daunting for people.
“If you already have a lot of stress in your family and you have family members with disabilities and the extra problems that come with them, this can be really difficult to train.”
Another common challenge for those new to NDIS is figuring out where budget allocations can and cannot be spent.
“I find that even though I work for a support provider, sometimes it’s still pretty blurry,” said Erin.
“You have to discuss with people what is considered appropriate and necessary because there are pretty strict criteria in NDIS, and I think there are still some shades of gray in that too.”
It is sometimes the case that a trusted network of people or vendors who are experienced in using NDIS can really help people find clarity and a way forward.
Informed support is important
NDIS funds are awarded annually, with a budget being set in a telephone or face-to-face meeting. The way your case is presented will have a huge impact on the funding you will receive.
Erin’s child was cut much of its funding during the move to the national system – which led to a fight for recovery.
While this is not always possible, Erin said it was important to request this face-to-face meeting and ensure that support is available. This support can be anyone you want to bring with you, including legal services. Or when you have a support coordinator who can help you prepare for the planning process.
“Very often, people have to go to NDIS now if they are lucky enough to have a face-to-face appointment,” said Erin.
“I would also suggest that they take someone to stand up for them.
“A lot of people need support during the trip if they don’t know exactly what NDIS is about.”
MyIntegra, a national organization headquartered in WA, is an NDIS plan management and support coordination provider that aims to reduce the confusion surrounding NDIS in order to help people free themselves for the more important aspects of their lives. Find out more.