Accessing the NDIS can be challenging. Our pre-planning services and process can support you to streamline things.
The NDIS is designed to provide eligible participants with the funding they need to engage key services and reach their goals. There are so many great options available under the NDIS, but getting access to the NDIS and those services can be easier said than done.
In this article, we outline a step-by-step process for you to follow when applying to access the NDIS, and how doing some pre-planning with us can make a world of difference to your experience.
What does ‘access’ mean?
‘Access’ is used to describe the very first stage of having your eligibility for NDIS assessed.
The NDIS is designed to deliver a person-centered, rights-based approach to funding for support. The NDIS is focused on equality and ensuring a smooth access process for those who are eligible.
While ease of access is a key focus, the NDIS is also a large scheme that relies on evidence and processes to support consistent decisions. This means that accessing the NDIS can be a complicated process. Sometimes the process can be made trickier by what is going on in our lives. With all of life’s juggles, there are some days when we just can’t squeeze another thing in! Sometimes some support to get oriented and understand what the process is and what it’s trying to do can help.
Often the really worthwhile things in life take a bit of effort and planning. While there might be important information to read and understand, forms to fill in, visits to the GP, allied and other health professionals – getting through it all can be so life changing for those who are eligible for the NDIS. If you’re eligible, it’s worth getting through it and getting access to the funding you are entitled to for the reasonable and necessary supports you need to live the life you want and achieve your goals.
With the right support in place and a chance to ask some clarifying questions, you can feel much more prepared for your access experience, and feel empowered and ready to engage with the NDIS for the first time.
NDIS access for psychosocial disability support
Let’s break things down step by step. A pre-access chat with someone who speaks NDIS can be an important initial step to make sure you have everything in place for a smooth, streamlined access request experience. This is sometimes referred to as ‘pre-planning’ or ‘pre-access preparation’ as well.
Below, we outline the general NDIS access process and what you need to do when you’re applying with a Psychosocial Disability
- Check your eligibility requirements on the NDIS website. A key indicator of eligibility is whether your disability impacts your daily functioning. You can download the access forms straight from the NDIS website. Alternatively, you can visit your local NDIS or LAC office to pick up hard copies.
- If you’re applying with a psychosocial disability, the NDIS requires an additional form with your application. This is called the Psychosocial Disability Evidence form. It is available on the NDIS website and needs to be filled out by a healthcare professional.
- On the request form, you’ll need to include your personal details, consents and communication preferences.
- The form also includes an evidence of disability section. This is the part you’ll need your GP or a health professional to fill out for you.
- Evidence and supporting reports may need to be submitted as additional documents with your access form.
- Submit your forms in person to your local NDIS office, online or via post.
Did you know that OG*D now offers free pre-access chats to those who want a bit of support with the process? Our dedicated NDIS Recovery Coaches can answer your questions and give you some high level guidance about the process and what to expect. If you think you might be eligible for NDIS support, we can assist you in taking the first steps here.
Things to remember about your NDIS application
There are several key things to remember before, during and after your access request that will assist you in the process.
Firstly, you will need a formal diagnosis of your psychosocial disability to submit with your forms. This diagnosis is what the NDIS needs as proof of your disability, and it assists them in delivering the right funding for you.
You can get a diagnosis from a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or GP. If you’re curious if your condition is covered by the NDIS, check out our recent blog post for more information (spoiler: there’s more to it than a list of diagnoses, because the NDIS is focused on each individual and the impact their disability has on their daily functioning).
Once you’ve submitted your request, it can take a while to hear back from the NDIS with a decision on your application.
Our advice? Don’t get discouraged. It’s a process which means we can just focus on one step at a time. Focus on what you can do to support yourself during this waiting period. Remember that you’ve done all you can in this initial phase.
If you’re concerned or have a question about your application, you can contact the NDIS to request an update.
Functional impacts of disability
When you’re applying and filling out the required forms, it’s good to focus on the functional impacts of your mental health condition. If your mental health condition has given rise to a disability, how does having this disability affect your day-to-day life? What does it prevent you from doing without support? How does it make certain things harder?
Be clear and specific about these examples. While we follow a strengths-based approach at One Good* Day and don’t like to focus too much on limitations, it is important to understand and brace for the reality that the NDIS needs to assess the things that are challenging to do without appropriate support in place. By understanding the impacts of psychosocial disability, the NDIS can provide accurate responses and support.
Mental health is episodic – at times you might feel great, while at others you might need a significant amount of support to keep moving forward. Make sure that you outline these challenging times in your application.
As much as we don’t want you to focus on the bad times, it’s important to outline exactly how your mental health impacts your life. If you can, try to be objective about this even though it is not always a nice experience. Take a step back and record them in your application knowing it will support you in the long run. This is another area in which chatting things through can provide some support to get through the process.
Next steps: Access Request Form or Verbal Access Request
Now you’ve got a better handle on how to access the NDIS, it’s time for the next steps: completing the forms. You can find the Access Request Form on the NDIS website under Applying > How to apply. You can also obtain a form via email to the NDIS or collect a hard copy at your Local Area Coordinator Office.
If you require Verbal Access Request, you can phone the NDIS directly on 1800 800 110. An NDIS team member will guide you through this verbal request, asking for the same information as the written form.
Interested in getting more support with your NDIS application? There are some great resources on the NDIS website to assist you.
We offer NDIS pre-access chats
Our Psychosocial Recovery Coaches can also support you in your pre-access preparations. If you think you might be eligible for NDIS Recovery Coaching and other support services, get in touch with our friendly team.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to your NDIS application. Remember that this is just one element in what should be an exciting next stage of your life. You are taking the first step towards getting the support you deserve in your mental health journey. You’ve come this far – why stop now?