Q1. How is the NDIS different to the current system?

The current system provides funding to organisations who then provide services to people with disability. The NDIS now gives control of the funding directly to the person with disability, who can then access the services they choose.

Q2. What is the difference between the NDIS and the NDIA and why is the NDIS called an ‘insurance’ scheme?

The NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and the NDIA is the National Disability Insurance Agency that implements the NDIS.

It’s an insurance scheme because every Australian contributes to it in a way that enables us to provide for everyone and anyone who is born with or who acquires a disability. This works to help improve whole-of-life outcomes by building skills, capacity and, most importantly, independence.

Q3. What support is available for someone who is blind or has low vision?

Support available under the NDIS is designed to enable you to connect with your community, gain employment and live an ordinary life.

The support must relate to your disability and help you achieve your goals and needs. It may include things like: travel (to get to employment or school, or access the community); support around the home (gardening, learning how to cook meals independently); or improved daily activities, which may include training and therapy on orientation and mobility, or occupational therapy. You may also be able to access assistive technology, such as magnifiers, long mobility canes, or CCTVs.

You may be entitled to have Support Coordination in your NDIS plan to build your independence. Vision Australia provides limited Support Coordination to NDIS participants in certain locations, and we can support you to understand your NDIS plan.

Q4. How do people access NDIS?

If you already receive support from a State or Territory disability service, you will receive a phone call or an email when you’re able to access the NDIS. Alternatively, feel free to call the NDIA and request access information and an Access Request Form.

If you don’t currently receive support, call the NDIS and request an Access Request Form, or speak to a Vision Australia representative who can provide you with additional information and support.

Q5. What is an NDIS plan?

An NDIS Plan sets out the individual support services for a participant in the scheme. It is based on the results of your planning meeting, and should reflect your goals and the support you need to achieve them.

After the planning process is complete, you will be provided with an NDIS plan, which outlines the support and funding available to you for the time of your plan (typically one year). You may use this funding to buy services directly or through the support service you choose.

Q6. With the individual NDIS planning process, what is goal setting and why is it important?

When you have completed your Access Request Form, a meeting will be scheduled with an NDIA or LAC planner. You can request this to be in person or by phone. In this meeting, you will discuss the support you currently receive, your goals and your needs, and the support you need to meet these goals.

Goal setting is important because it will determine the types of support included in your plan. For instance, if your goal is to independently travel to your community activities, the planner will work with you to identify the support you need to achieve this. It may mean you receive funding for transport, orientation and mobility, along with some assistive technology to help navigate your way around the community. It’s important to remember that every individual plan will be different, even where goals are similar.

Q7. How should people get ready for the NDIS?

Find out when the NDIS is coming to your area (www.ndis.gov.au). There is also an access checklist to see if you’re eligible. Then take some time to think and prepare: feel free to use our planning guide, or talk to one of our NDIS experts for some advice.

Make sure to think about your goals, what you want to achieve, and what sort of life you want to lead.

Q8. How is the NDIS rolling out nationally and what happens if I am in an area where the NDIS is not yet available?

If you are in an area where the NDIS is not yet available, remember that you may submit an Access Request Form six months prior to the roll out reaching your area. You’ll then be at the top of the queue to access support through the NDIS once you have an approved plan.

In the meantime, you can continue to access services from organisations such as Vision Australia.

FAQ's on the NDIS

Vision Australia has answered some common questions on the NDIS below.

Q. Will existing clients of Vision Australia who are not eligible for NDIS funding still be able to access our support services for free?

Vision Australia will continue to provide services to people who are blind or have low vision free of charge. We are able to provide these services through government funding and generous donations from the Australian public.

To find out if you are eligible for Vision Australia services please call us on 1300 84 74 66 or visit our website at www.visionaustralia.org.

Q. What services and equipment will the NDIS provide?

The NDIS will provide funding for ‘reasonable and necessary’ support, services and equipment. There are guidelines to what can be funded through the scheme, but as a general rule the supports and services should help a you to:

  • achieve your goals
  • do things on your own and become independent
  • develop skills for day to day living
  • take part in the community
  • work and earn money.

Here are some examples of how the NDIS can help you.

  • Getting out and about – moving around safely in your home or local community, equipment and advice for your home, guidance on living with low vision or blindness, training on how to use an identity or long white cane or being matched with a Seeing Eye Dog.
  • Communication and keeping in touch – product recommendations and training to use devices to assist with reading and writing.   For example: scanners, refreshable braille displays, magnifiers, portable and desktop CCTVs, and screen reading software such as JAWS. We can also support with general communication technology like a smart phones and tablets.
  • Independence at home – strategies, training, tips and equipment to organise your home and assist you to live independently.
  • Staying connected in your community – services and activities to help you connect with your local community, and support to help you participate in recreation, cultural and sporting activities.
  • Education and learning – services and equipment to help you to learn new skills throughout your life.  For example, vocational education, training in how to use adaptive technologies and how to access accessible features on your personal devices, access to books and information in large print,  electronic, audio or braille formats and transcription services.
  • Working and contributing to your community – support to help you find meaningful employment and fully participate in the community.

Q. What if I do not want NDIS support but still want services from Vision Australia?

If you are eligible for NDIS support, but choose not to participate, you may still be able to receive services from Vision Australia free of charge. Vision Australia is able to provide services through both government funding and generous donations from the Australian public.
To find out if you are eligible for Vision Australia services please call us on 1300 84 74 66.

Q. What does the NDIS mean for people over 65 years old with blindness or low vision?

People over 65 years of age are not eligible for NDIS support. There are some exceptions:

  • People who are eligible to access NDIS before they turn 65 will be able to choose to continue to receive NDIS support or opt into the aged care system.
  • Some people aged over 65 years old who currently access programs at Vision Australia are funded through Victorian Government disability funding. In relation to Barwon, if an individual aged over 65 years old who lives in the launch site, but is already on the Disability Support Register (Victoria), they will continue to get support from the block funding at the Agency’s disposal.

Q. What is Vision Australia doing for people in the over 65 age group who aren’t eligible for the NDIS?

Vision Australia is advocating for the critical need for funding of specialist services for people in this age group. We have made submissions to government and worked with other organisations in the disability and aged care sectors to get a better outcome for seniors dealing with blindness or low vision.

Vision Australia’s aim is that seniors with blindness or low vision are able to get the support they need:

  • To feel physically and emotionally safe.;
  • Remain connected to and engaged with their local communities, families, and friends.
  • Remain living in their own home for as long as possible doing their own everyday tasks.

Q. Where can I find more information about the NDIS?

You can find more information on the NDIS website, including details on the national rollout. Visit www.ndis.gov.au or call the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110 between 8am and 8pm (EST) weekdays.

You can also contact Vision Australia by calling 1300 84 74 66.