Navigating the NDIS with Sunrise2Sunrise

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At Sunrise2Sunrise, we know just about everything there is to know about the disability sector and the NDIS application process. Our team’s combined knowledge and experience stretches back decades. Ravi, our Managing Director and Malvin, executive general manager, had been in the industry for years before they began Sunrise2Sunrise in 2018. Our goal is to spread this knowledge as far and wide as possible – not just to the suburbs we service, but beyond, to the wider community.

If you’re trying to secure NDIS funding and found yourself stuck, rest assured you’re not alone. There’s no doubt that the NDIS (National Disability Support Scheme) should be Insurance is a welcome and needed support framework for those living with a disability, but it’s not without its complexities.

Application been rejected? Don’t despair – reach out!

There are many stages at which people can become overwhelmed and disheartened when applying for the NDIS:

  • Deciding what support you actually need funding for
  • Knowing which assessments are required
  • Knowing how to approach the planning meeting
  • What to do when you receive less funding than you require

Unfortunately, too many people think they can only reach out for assistance once they have secured an NDIS plan. And because many aspiring applicants are rejected for various reasons, they never end up seeking help and instead continue with life as it is, struggling to get by without the funding they know they need.

However, more often than not, the reasons for rejection simply refer to an error in the application process. In other words, you are eligible for funding; you may simply have been missing a supporting document or some other necessary piece of information.

If your application has been rejected, then don’t despair. Instead, reach out! We can review your application and see what you can do to give yourself a better chance of securing the support you need.

You don’t have to be a potential client to get our assistance

We provide guidance and assistance to anyone seeking help with an NDIS application, even if they live outside the areas we cover.

Recently, we helped a Geelong mother secure funding for her son. Before she came to us, she’d applied for the NDIS four times, been rejected four times, and was struggling to determine the reasons why. Eventually, she reached out to us.

The first thing we did was what we always do – meet with the aspiring applicant for a one hour, face-to-face meeting to get to know each other and their particular needs. We then went over all the supporting documentation and found why her initial applications had failed.

Upon our recommendation, the mother took her son to an Occupational Therapist so they could carry out the necessary functionality tests. With the results in hand, we then guided her through another application, which was successful. We then provided support at the plan review meeting.

She is now with an NDIS provider that services the Geelong area, and we wish her and her son all the best.

The point of this anecdote is twofold. Firstly, a rejection isn’t the end of the story – even if you’ve been rejected multiple times. Let us look over your previous applications to see where things might have gone wrong.

Secondly, you don’t need to have a long term future with Sunrise2Sunrise to secure our help. If all we can do for you is provide guidance during the application process, then that’s what we’ll do. No strings attached. We simply want to share our vast knowledge and experience to help people get the support they deserve.

A quick look at the 4-step application process

Below, we detail the four-step process involved when applying to become an NDIS participant. Independent organisations like Sunrise2Sunrise can assist at every stage of this process, whether that’s helping you confirm your eligibility, filling out an access request form, or (most crucially) helping you prepare for the planning meeting.

Always remember – you can reach out for guidance and advice at any time. If you’ve received a “no” from the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency), it might not be the end of the road. It may be that you just haven’t ticked all their boxes. This is where someone with experience can make the difference.

What is the NDIS?

One in six Australians live with a disability. That’s around 4.4 million people. Of them, 32% have a severe or profound disability, meaning they need help with daily care, communication or mobility.

The National Disability Support Scheme (NDIS) provides support for these people, their families and their carers. This support is about empowerment; it’s about giving you the means to set and attain goals and to choose where your funding is allocated. It’s designed to help you live your life the way you want to.

Three types of NDIS Support

When it comes to funding, there are three types of support budgets that can be included within your NDIS plan. These are:

Core Supports – this is the most flexible category of support, helping you with everyday activities such as transport, purchasing consumables and participating in social and community programs.

Capacity Building Supports – this category is about helping you work towards your goals by funding endeavours such as skill building, education, training, accessing employment and improving your health and wellbeing.

Capital Supports – these cover one-off purchases for specific purposes, such as assistive technology, equipment and modifications to your home or vehicle.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

When applying for any sort of government funding, the first step is always to check your eligibility. To access NDIS support, you need to be:

  • An Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa or the holder of a Protected Special Category Visa
  • Aged under 65

You must also have a permanent disability that:

  • Means you need support for daily tasks or participating in activities
  • Hinders your ability to earn money and be a part of the social community
  • means you will likely need lifetime support from the NDIS.

Take a look at the NDIS eligibility checklist for more information.

The eligibility process can be different based upon your circumstances. For instance, if you are already receiving some form of disability funding, then the NDIS eligibility process can be more straightforward. If you are currently receiving no funding at all, the assessment process will be more detailed.

Remember, there are independent organisations that can guide you through every step of the process, like Sunrise2Sunrise. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve hit a stumbling block or are feeling a little overwhelmed.

Step 2: Make an NDIS Access Request

Once your eligibility has been confirmed, it’s time to fill out an Access Request Form. This is the formal application to become a part of the NDIS, and you’ll have to provide information about yourself such as:

You will also need to provide information on your disability and how it impacts upon your:

  • Mobility – in the home and out in the community
  • Communication – both in terms of understanding others and being understood yourself, whether that’s orally, through sign language or via the written word
  • Socially – making and keeping friends and managing your emotions

  • Learning – your ability to acquire and retain new information
  • Self-Care – How well you can look after yourself, including bathing, eating, dressing and toileting
  • Self-Manage – your ability to execute daily tasks, handle money and deal with everyday issues

The information you supply can be in a variety of forms, such as a letter or assessment from your doctor, a previous Client Support Plan (CSP), Health Support Plan (HSP) or Behaviour Support Plan (BSP), or a medical diagnosis.

The most important thing is that you provide as much detailed information as possible; that will give you the best chance of becoming an NDIS participant.

Step 3: Wait for a response

Once your Access Request Form has been submitted, there’s mothing to do but wait. There’s no set time that the NDIS has to make a decision on your request, but you should typically get an answer within a month.

Step 4: The Planning Meeting

Once you’ve been approved, it’s time for your planning meeting. The NDIA will get in touch with you to set a time for a meeting to discuss your needs.

When preparing for this meeting, the most important factor to keep in mind is that you can only get NDIS funding for supports that help you work towards your goals. Therefore, if there is something specific you want funding for, you need to explain how it will help you achieve a particular goal.

For instance, you might want funding so you can modify your vehicle to make it easier for you to operate. This would, in turn, help you achieve your goal of becoming more independent and more able to socialise and participate in community activities.

There’s a lot involved in the planning meeting. You will be required to provide a lot of detail on your everyday life, your activities and your needs. You will also need to decide how you will manage your funds. Will you do it yourself? Will you work with an agency? Will it be a combination?

This is the phase in the application process where guidance is particularly helpful. Independent agencies can help you prepare for these meetings by making sure you have everything you need and all your requests are goal-related, and can even provide support during the meetings. At Sunrise2Sunrise, we’ve been helping people navigate this process for years; we understand what the NDIA are looking for, how to present your funding requests and what information you’ll need to provide.

We’re always here to help and take some of the stress out of the process, so don’t hesitate to reach out.