NDIS and Empowered

At Empowered, we like to make things easy! There is so much to know about the NDIS so we’ve gathered some resources to assist you in learning about the NDIS and how Empowered Community Services can assist through the NDIS.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  The NDIS aims to ensure people (under the age of 65) with a disability are getting the care and support they need.  The NDIS also aims to give people with a disability choice and control over how they wish to be supported to meet their life goals.  

The NDIS is for people with a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to carry out, or take part in everyday activities.  Everyone has different goals and aspirations so the NDIS finds out about you and what extra support you need to live your life the way you want and progress towards your goals.  If you are eligible to participate in the scheme and you have needs required to support you living with a disability, you’ll then receive individualised funding to pay for identified reasonable and necessary supports.

Am I Eligible for the NDIS?

The NDIA makes decisions about who can access the NDIS based on the information they provide about their disability and how it impacts on their day-to-day life. To be eligible for the NDIS, you must:

  • have a permanent disability that significantly affects your everyday ability or a developmental delay
  • be less than 65 years old when you first access the NDIS
  • be an Australian citizen, hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa, and
  • live in a part of Australia where the NDIS is available. 

We’ve provided a tool below to help you assess your eligibility and you can also find more information here

Check Eligibility
Question 1
Are you aged between 7 and 65?
Yes. Go to the next question.

No. I have a child aged under 7. Find out more about Help for children under 7.

No. I'm over 65. You must be under 65 to access the NDIS. You may be able to access other supports. Find out about NDIS and Aged Care.
Question 1
Question 2
Do you live in Australia and have Australian residency?
Yes. I live in Australia and I am an Australian citizen or have a Permanent or Special Category Visa. Go to the next question.

No. You may be able to access other supports.The NDIS is only available to:
  • People who live in Australia
  • Australian citizens
  • Permanent Visa holders
  • Protected Special Category Visa holders.
  • Question 2
    Question 3
    Do you usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
    Yes. You may be eligible. Find out how to apply.

    No. Go to the next question.
    Question 3
    Question 4
    Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
    Yes. You may be eligible. Find out how to apply.

    No. Go to the next question.
    Question 4
    Question 5
    Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?
    Yes. You may be eligible. Find out how to apply.

    No. The NDIS may not be the best way to support you. You may be able to access other supports.
    Question 5

    I'm an Eligible Individual - Now What?

    Once you know that you are eligible for NDIS funding, you will need to have a planning meeting with a Local Area Coordinator, Planner or Early Childhood Access Partner. They will be responsible for creating your plan.

    Pre Planning Workbook for a Child

    Pre Planning Workbook for an Adult

    If you are a Carer, here is a great workbook from Carer’s Australia

    Before you go to your first meeting there are few things you should think about to help get a great plan, you can write notes on the following; 

    What is your life like now?  

    Education, work and social activities, what works well, what needs improvement or change, do you want to try something new (therapy, community activity or group), what things are you good at or enjoy doing, how often do you do activities, weekly activities and occasional activities, what do you do when help is in your home, what are your current living arrangements, who do you live with and what type of accommodation, is there anything you would like to change about your living arrangements to make life easier or more independent for you.

    What support do you currently have?

    Programs and therapies:  specific programs you access including local government, religious, community or support groups, any therapies including allied health professionals and behaviour support.  If you have providers already, find out a summary of what service they provide and how much this will likely cost in the next year.  

    Aids and Equipment:  special equipment such as a wheelchair, aids or hoists, how often do you use it, is it appropriate?  Does your home need to be modified, ramps, lifts, robust fittings etc?

    Activities:  what help do you have to carry out daily activities including personal care, work or study, transport, sports, day program or community access, managing money, respite etc; what formal support do you have through health, education, community centres, cleaners and personal helpers.  It is useful to think of everything someone needs to do for you, tie your shoes, pack a bag, cook and clean. 

    What are your goals?

    Things to achieve in the short term and long term, think about existing support, anything stopping you from reaching your goals, steps you need to reach your goals.  Think about employment/volunteering, education, social participation (events, friends, join a group), independence (what would you like to own your own or with less support), living arrangements (modify or find somewhere more suitable), health and wellbeing.  Goals need to be broad enough that you can make creative changes throughout the year and can use different types of services that would help achieve the goal. ‘To spend more time in my local community and develop skills so that I can be more independent’ is better than ‘I want to go to bingo’.  Every dollar in an NDIS plan needs to be used in a way that links to a goal written in the plan; your goals are used to make the plan and monitor the plan.  

    I Know Someone Eligible!

    If you are a loved one, friend or professional, you can refer directly to Empowered Community Services using our online referral form! Just click the button below. 

    What Happens after a Referral?

    The referral form will be sent to our Administration Officer who will then assign it to our Service Coordinator.

    Our Service Coordinator will then make contact with the participant, family member or Support Coordinator to organise an initial meeting. At the initial meeting, we will gather all the required information to develop a person-centred support plan. This may include gathering information about the participants NDIS goals, what supports they will be utilising, as well as information to assist us in staff matching. 

    This information will also assist Empowered to complete risk assessments, allocate support budgets and develop a service agreement. After gathering all of the necessary information we then build a participant profile on our Customer Reference Manager. Support Workers assigned to that participant are able to look up information about that participant including their likes, dislikes & goals they are working towards. This ensures that all staff are continuing to provide person-centred support. 

    After gathering all the information, we then create a service agreement which gives the participant information on a variety of topics including their rights and responsibilities, cancellation policies, schedule of supports and the total budget of the service booking. We will then schedule a meet & greet for the participant to meet with the Support Worker. This ensures that the participant is comfortable with the Support Worker and makes the transition to supports with Empowered as smooth as possible. 

    One the service agreement has been signed and the meet & greet has been completed, Empowered will then move forward with the implementation of the schedule of supports and you will be able to start work on your NDIS goals! 

    After the supports are in place a Team Leader will continue to provide assistance to the participant, family members, stakeholders as well as Support Workers to ensure that everything is on track and that the participant is continuing to work towards their NDIS goals.

    Plan Management

    Managing your funding budget can be confusing and exhausting – but there are different ways to manage your plan.

    You will be asked by your planner if you wish to be:

    • agency managed (NDIA handles everything and you have to use NDIS price guide),
    • plan managed (plan manager pays all your bills for you and you have to use the NDIS price guide),
    • self-managed (you do it all)
    • or a combination

    You have a choice!

    Agency managed 

    • You must use NDIS registered providers
    • You can only pay up to the maximum NDIS price guide rates
    • NDIS will pay your support providers directly

    Plan Management 

    • You can use anyone with an ABN
    • You can only pay up to the maximum NDIS price guide rate
    • Providers invoice you through the plan manager and the plan manager take funds from NDIS and pays your providers 
    • Extra funding is included in your plan to pay for plan management support
    • You need to ask for plan management in your meeting 
    • Some supports can only be NDIA (agency) managed

    Self Managed 

    • You can use any provider you wish and you can pay whatever you like
    • You will need a separate bank account and you will be responsible for claiming from the NDIS and paying your providers
    • Some start with plan management and learn how to self-manage from their plan manager
    What does Reasonable and Necessary mean?

    The NDIS funds a range of supports and services that will help participants to 

    • pursue their goals, objectives and aspirations
    • increase their independence
    • increase community and workplace participation, and
    • develop their capacity to actively take part in the community.

    But the support must be reasonable and necessary.  This means it should be provided if it is fair and it is needed by you.  To be reasonable and necessary the support:

    • must be related to a participant’s disability 
    • must not include day-to-day living costs not related to your disability support needs, such as groceries 
    • should represent value for money and be available in an NDIS plan budget
    • must be likely to be effective and work for the participant, and 
    • should take into account support given by other government services, your family, carers, networks and the community.

    If the support can be linked to budgets and goals of your current NDIS plan and related to your disability, is reasonably priced and good value compared to other options, can be afforded within your NDIS budget, will help you to participate in activities with friends and other members of your community, or help you find or keep a job, not provided by other government services such as education, housing or health, and the support is safe and legal, then it is likely that it will be deemed reasonable and necessary. 

    A support will not be funded if it:

    • is not related to the participant’s disability
    • duplicates other supports already funded by a different mechanism through the NDIS
    • relates to day-to-day living costs that are not related to a participant’s support needs, or
    • is likely to cause harm to the participant or pose a risk to others.
    What happens when my plan is about to end?

    You are notified of a plan review, this happens every time a plan is to be renewed.  The review looks at progress towards your goals, any new goals and any changes in your life that might affect supports you need.    

    Things to discuss at the meeting include:

    • What worked well in your plan?
    • Which goals do I need to continue to work on and which goals do I need to change?
    • What worked well in my plan? Did I achieve my goals or make progress towards achieving them?
    • What didn’t work as well?
    • Is there any change in your circumstances?
    • Will I need NDIS support in the future?
    • Would I like to change how some or all of my plan funding is managed?
    • What questions do you have about how your plan is managed? Would you like to change how you manage your funding?
    • What are your new goals for your next plan?
    • Do I have any questions?

    During your plan review, you will be able to provide feedback on what supports are working for you (or not) and how you are progressing in achieving your personal goals.  You can also explore and set new personal goals building on your previous achievements.

    Outcome:  You will be notified of the plan review outcome if there are changes the planner or a representative will discuss with you the changes made.  When approved the plan will be updated in NDIS Myplace participant portal and a copy sent to you via email or post. If you do not agree with a planning review decision, you can request a review.

    Remember the new plan replaces the old plan, unspent funding does not roll over to the new plan.  It is important you let your providers know there is a new plan, each new plan requires a new service agreement and its an opportunity to change support schedules or even providers if you wish.  

    If circumstances change significantly during your plan period, you can download a change of circumstances form and ask for an unscheduled review of your plan funding.  


    The NDIS is a new way of funding individualised support for people with a disability, including psychosocial disability, that involves more choice and control and a lifetime approach to a person’s reasonable and necessary support needs.

    The first step is to contact the NDIA either directly on 1800 800 110 or through their website (www.ndis.gov.au). You will then need to make sure you are eligible.

    Once you have made contact with the NDIA, you will work with a planner to map out what you do and don’t need to live life the way you choose. Your funding will be based on the services and supports you identify through this process.

    Only the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) can confirm your eligibility for the NDIS.

    In the NDIS you must:

    • Have a significant and permanent disability that affects your ability to participate in the community, you require care and support, or could benefit from early intervention requirement.
    • Be an NSW resident who meets the NDIS citizenship and residency requirements.
    • Be under the age of 65 years when you make the access request.

    You can contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in person at;

    Auckland Street, Newcastle or Shop 1, Hilltop Plaza, Charlestown.

    Or you can phone the agency on 1800 800 110.

    Once you are eligible for the NDIS you can start the planning and assessment process with your NDIS Planner. It is recommended that you prepare for this process by knowing what supports you require both formal and informal and what goals you have for you future. You will need to identify your goals and your current supports.

    This will establish with your Planner any additional supports you need are identified. You are able to have a support person with you during appointments such as a family member, friend, career or support worker.

    One of the great things about the NDIS is that it is designed to suit the needs of every individual. For most people, funding will cover things like:

    • Daily personal activities
    • Transport to participate in community, social, economic and daily life activities
    • Workplace support to gain or maintain employment
    • Therapeutic supports, including behaviour support
    • Help with household tasks
    • Assessment of aids or equipment, including setup and training
    • Home modification design and installation
    • Mobility equipment
    • Vehicle modifications
    • Supports that are not related to the persons disability
    • Supports received through other funding
    • Day to day living expenses
    • Are related to income replacement

    While the NDIS gives you choice and the control over the support you receive and the service providers you use, it also gives you a say in how your funding is managed. Your funding can be:

    Agency Managed – this is where your provider(s) claim directly from the NDIA.

    Plan Managed – funding in your plan is allocated to a third party to manage the financial transactions in your plan.

    Self-Managed – you (or your nominee) directly mage the funds

    Automated Payments (transport only) – funds are deposited into an NDSI bank account weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

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

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    Team Leaders

    Participants receiving Community Access and Capacity Building Supports will be assigned a Team Leader. Our Team Leaders can help with tracking participant goals, developing strategies to assist with support, communicating strategies with staff, and developing reports progress reports. Team Leaders will be charged under the Non-face-to-face line item as necessary.

    Establishment Fee

    Participants with more than 20 hours of support per month may be charged an establishment fee when entering the service.