Use of program funding to obtain functional assessments for NDIS access requirements

25, January, 2018

25th January 2018

This outline is provided by the Department of Social Services (DSS) to assist organisations transitioning to the NDIS.  QAMH has taken the opportunity to add further to the information, with a focus on the needs of community mental health service providers working with

For further reading on Accessing the NDIS, specifically for Commonwealth-funded community mental health service provides, click here.

Multiple organisations across Queensland are funded to support the transition of eligible clients to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Program arrangements for the transition period allow organisations to use ‘reasonable’ funding to support clients in the NDIS access process.

Evidence of a disability

It is important to note that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) accepts evidence of disability in the chosen format of the potential participant or their representative and does not require the provision of specific documentation.

NDIA access request needs to contain the following information:

  • Information from treating clinician (usually GP or Psychiatrist) confirming that
    • Disability has resulted from a mental health condition (specific diagnosis is not required but helpful if available)
    • The impairment/s resulting from the mental health condition are likely to remain across the person’s lifetime. Details of past, present and future treatment will assist the NDIA to understand whether the impairment/s are likely to be present on an ongoing basis;
  • Information about how the impairment/s affects the person’s everyday life on a day-to-day basis (functional impact)
    • It is important to include details of what a person can do as well as self-care and self-management.
    • Generally, the best way to provide evidence of how an impairment/s impacts on a person’s everyday life is through the provision of a functional assessments such as the LSP16 and WHODAS.
    • Functional assessments provided by an appropriately qualified mental health professional (including an AMHOCN trained support worker), together with qualitative information provided by a mental health professional, family member, carer (and/or the person themselves if they are willing and able to do so) really assists the NDIA to gain a clear picture of how the person’s impairment is impacting their life.

The NDIA also notes other information relevant to NDIS access which can contribute to the provision of evidence of disability:

  • Assessment information provided by the participant and/or the participant’s carer to Australian Government agencies such as Centrelink (e.g. for the purpose of Carer Allowance, Carer Payment or Disability Support Pension);
  • Assessment information provided to state/territory government agencies when applying for support and specialist services;
  • Assessment provided to or prepared by participant’s existing service providers, e.g. PIR assessment or recent (within 6 months) Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMS) Eligibility Screening Tool; and
  • Other assessment-related information in the participant considers is relevant and useful in describing their support needs.

The NDIA does not prefer one type of evidence over another, but is seeking to be provided with the most appropriate evidence possible to build a picture of whether the impairment is attributable to a mental health condition is likely to remain across a person’s lifetime, and the impact of the impairment on the person’s everyday life (between acute episodes of being unwell).

Hard to Reach strategy
The NDIA is also currently developing a Hard to Reach strategy, which will assist in reaching people with psychosocial disability who may have limited engagement with clinicians/MH system, and is committed to assisting people in the group according to the Scheme.

When the strategy and further information becomes available, QAMH will release an overview for our stakeholders.

 Use of program funding to purchase functional assessments – How will this impact you?

  • Given the information above, organisations should not utilise program funding to purchase functional assessments.
  • Instead, organisations should consider accrediting PIR and D2DL staff to use the LSP16 and WHODAS assessment tools to prepare functional assessment if required.
  • Organisations currently using program funding for functional assessments, should transition out of this arrangement as soon as possible and instead, implement LSP16 and WHODAS training/accreditation for program staff.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this advice, please contact Simone Finch, Acting Director – Engagement and Partnerships at or phone 07 3252 9411.

Webinar on National Service Provider Benchmarking Survey

9, October, 2017

AbleInsight is conducting a webinar that will include important information about the National Service Provider Benchmarking Survey on the 13th October 2017 at 2pm AEDT.

Webinar participants will be able to ask questions, in real time, of our panelists (including representatives from AbleInsight, Mental Health Australia (MHA) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)).

The webinar will provide you with information about the survey and what is involved in completing the form, as well as the level of support available from AbleInsight and the benefits that are expected to accrue to Survey participants.

In short, the customised benchmarking reports that participating providers will receive will be valuable in assisting with their transition to a more open and competitive disability support services market under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Also, de-identified aggregate data from the survey will assist the NDIA to make well informed and transparent decisions in its NDIS market stewardship role.

Both the survey and the webinar are open to all disability service providers; you do not need to:

* be NDIS Registered

* have NDIS participants accessing your services

* have already registered to participate in the Survey


Register for the webinar.

There is still time to register to participate in the survey and receive free customised reports. There is not charge to providers the benchmarking reports or for any of the tailored survey support services (onsite and/or telephone consultations, website access). See the survey manager website  for more details or register directly.

Please do not hesitate to contact AbleInsight on 1800 959 665 or use their contact page should you have any questions.

*Posted for the AbleInsight Benchmarking Team.

Appointment of NDIS ECEI and LAC Services in Rockhampton

13, September, 2017

NDIS logo

An NDIS Partners in the Community Program Grant Agreement for Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) and Local Area Coordination (LAC) services in Rockhampton has now been executed with BUSHkids for the delivery of ECEI services and Carers Queensland for the delivery of LAC services.

In line with the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments’ announcement of an agreement to bring forward the NDIS start date in Rockhampton, the NDIA and its Partners in the Community in Rockhampton will work together to ensure early access for Queensland Government disability clients from November 2017 is provided. While prioritising early access for Queensland Government state clients; six months in advance readiness activities will also occur in order to prepare for other eligible people to enter the Scheme from January 2018.

Details of the Agreements:

  • ECEI services: Royal Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme trading as BUSHkids
  • LAC services: Carers Queensland
  • Date of execution: Monday 04 September 2017
  • Service Area: Rockhampton
  • 2011 Local Government Areas: Banana, Central Highlands, Gladstone, Rockhampton (including Livingstone)


Please note: The Local Government Areas of Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall Tambo, Diamantina, Longreach, Winton, Woorabinda in Rockhampton Service Area given the classification of remote or very remote, will be supported by NDIA staff using Community by Community approaches, in line with the Agency’s rural and remote strategy.

All remaining Queensland services areas, Robina, Beenleigh, Brisbane North and South, Maryborough, Caboolture/Strathpine, Maroochydore and Cairns will be released in the NDIA’s next approach to open market (Round 3 – NDIS Partners in the Community program).

For further details, see the NDIS website.

New NDIS Translation and Interpreting Services Policies

13, September, 2017

NDIS logo

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released new policies relating to translation and interpreting services within the Scheme. NDIS has developed a MOU with TIS National to support participants to access supports and implement their plans.

This is an interim solution to fill the gap for translation or interpreter services for people who speak English as a second language (ESL). Further work is being undertaken with DSS to resolve the issue of addressing barriers for participants with ESL to implement their plans in the longer term.

Summary of the new process

Participants who speak English as a second language will be supported by either a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Support Coordinator.  The LAC or Support Coordinator will assist the ESL participant to:

  1. Access supports in their primary language – usually by a provider who speaks the same language;
  2. Access mainstream National Translation and Interpreter Services (TIS) and coordinate informal language assistance through supports such as their local Migrant Resource Centre; and
  3. Access mainstream and community English learning and development opportunities.

Where the above solutions are not available, a LAC or Support Coordinators will support the participant to access TIS via TIS National for funded supports.

Funded Supports using TIS National

When deciding when to access TIS National, the LAC or Support Coordinator considers:

  1. What is expected to be provided through mainstream and/or universal services
  2. Informal/community/family supports available to assist
  3. Whether the TIS support is fundamental to support the achievement of the ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports funded under the plan
  4. Supports that assist long-term development
  5. Supports that improve functioning.


A significant point to note is the improved integration of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse considerations into the participant pathway – specifically with NDIA Staff, Local Area Coordination or Support Coordination to assist participants who have English as a second language.

TIS National supports can only be used for accessing/implementing funded supports in the participants plan.

There have not been any changes to how participants obtain TIS when engaging directly with the NDIS and Partners in the Community.

Our regional teams and Partners in Community have received initial communications to advise them of these changes, our internal resources have been updated to reflect them and further education will occur over the next few days.

Practice guidance about assisting communication has been provided to Agency staff and Partners in the Community.  This practice guide will also be supplemented with a further internal communications and training to strengthen Agency staff in their understanding of the needs of people from a CALD background.

To support future understanding of the need for interpreter services, we have also incorporated reporting requirements for TIS National to the NDIA on usage data and statistics. This data will inform future CALD initiatives undertaken by the NDIA as well as future reviews of TIS.

To capitalise on the reporting from TIS National, the NDIA will be seeking to work with and inform the market about opportunities for diversification with CALD providers moving into the disability service provision space and disability providers moving into bilingual and ethno specific service delivery.

There are also a number of resources available on our internet page NDIS Translation and Interpreting Services

NDIS Provider Information Sessions in September & October

11, September, 2017

The NDIS is rolling out across Gold Coast, Ipswich and Redland from 1st July, 2018. This notice is to inform both NDIS providers or interested providers about upcoming NDIS information forums in Gold Coast, Ipswich and Redland run by the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Outline of session locations and venues

September: Provider Readiness and Provider Registration Forums

October: Provider Support Coordination and Allied Health and Early Childhood Forums

Event flyers

Provider Readiness Forums

Logan Provider Readiness Forum in September

Gold Coast Provider Readiness Forum in September

Redland Provider Readiness Forum in September

Provider Registration Forums

Logan Provider Registration Forum in September

Gold Coast Provider Registration Forum in September

Redland Provider Registration Forum in September

Provider Support Coordination Forums

Logan Support Coordination Forum in October

Gold Coast Support Coordination Forum in October

Redland Support Coordination Forum in October

Allied Health and Early Childhood Forums

Logan Allied Health and Early Childhood Forum in October

Gold Coast Allied Health and Early Childhood Forum in October

Redland Allied Health and Early Childhood Forum in October


Inquiries and specific accessibility requirements

Please direct any forum inquiries or specific accessibility requirements to

* Please note: the NDIA will require five days’ notice if an interpreter is required.

NDIS request for further data

If you have time it would be greatly appreciated if you could email to advise which LGAs you service (or would like to service):

  • Redland
  • Gold Coast
  • Logan
  • Toowoomba
  • Ipswich
  • Somerset
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Scenic Rim
  • Northern New South Wales
  • South West (Shires of Maranoa, Paroo, Southern Downs, Bulloo, Quilpie, Balonne, Western Downs, Goondoowindi)


In addition, please tell the NDIA if you are:

  • A discrete specific Indigenous service provider
  • A discrete culturally and linguistically diverse service provider
  • A mainstream provider.

Further event information

Further information about each of the forums can be found on the Eventbrite website by searching “NDIS” or on our NDIA website

Podcast of The NDIS – One Year On: Spotlight NDIS

17, July, 2017

17 July 2017

To mark the first anniversary of the national roll-out of the NDIS, Pro Bono Australia’s Wendy Williams looks back at the highs and lows of the last 12 months, and whether the scheme is on track to deliver on it’s promise in a podcast entitled The NDIS – One Year On.

The episode, produced by Wendy Williams and Rachel McFadden, features:

  • Maryanne Diamond, the General Manager of Community Linkages and Engagement at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
  • Minister for Social Services Christian Porter
  • El Gibbs,writer and disability advocate
  • Natasha Hudson, founder of Coforte Consulting, assisting organisations affected by the NDIS
  • Fran Connelley, founder of FC Marketing and The NFP Accelerator Toolkit and author of How to Thrive Under the NDIS
  • Ken Baker, the Chief Executive at National Disability Services.


List to the podcast The NDIS – One Year On.

*Information sourced from Pro Bono Australia.

NDIS Price Guide 2017 – 18 Released: Spotlight NDIS

17, July, 2017

NDIS logo

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the prices for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded supports for the 2017-18 financial year.

As has been the case in previous years, service values in participant plans will be adjusted automatically in the system to match the new prices.

This adjustment will be made in the coming weeks. The indexation of participant plans will be backdated to 1 July 2017.

Key changes to maximum prices include:

  • 4.5% increase for daily activity and community participation supports
  • 1.9% increase for capacity building supports
  • 2.1% increase for capital-related supports
  • No change for therapy services.


For further details, see the NDIS website news or access the 2017-2018 Price Guide for NDIS service providers in the Pricing and Payments section.

Outcome of NDIS 2017 Price Review: Spotlight NDIS

28, June, 2017

28 June 2017

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has recently conducted their annual review of price controls for services and supports. Based on a range of sources, including 82 submissions that were made to this review, the NDIA has approved changes to pricing in the following areas of support, which will take effect from 1 July 2017.

  • 4.5% increase for ‘Daily activity and community participation’ supports (4.5 per cent)
  • 2.1% increase for Capital-related supports
  • 1.94% increase for Capacity building

SBS News has reported (Concerns NDIS pricing could hit quality, 12 June 2017) on concerns expressed by National Disability Services (NDS) that these increases are not adequate.

In addition to the increases that will take effect on 1 July, the NDIA has commissioned an independent pricing review, to be undertaken by McKinsey & Company, in order to address the wide range of issues that were raised during the 2017 Price Review, and to gain a deeper understanding of the key dimensions of pricing for the Scheme.

The CEO of the NDIA, David Bowen, has sent a letter to service providers detailing the outcomes of this Price Review, which can be read here.

Breakthru Workshops: Spotlight NDIS

28, June, 2017

28 June 2017

breakthru_logoA leader in their field, Break Thru have been offering specialist employment, community participation and training programs for over 23 years. Workshop details can be found via the links below:

Drawing on their extensive experience in the delivery of NDIS services in transition sites, Breakthru has designed two workshops – Bringing A Plan to Life, and Coordination of Support, to provide guidance to local businesses looking to successfully engage with NDIS participants, and to assist other service providers in understanding the opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of NDIS.

Productivity Commission Releases Position Paper on NDIS Costs: Spotlight NDIS

14, June, 2017

14 June 2017

On Tuesday 14 June, the Productivity Commission (the Commission) released its position paper on National Disability Insurance Scheme Costs. The Commission invites written submissions in response to its position paper. Further information on how to provide a submission is included on the study website.

The final report will be prepared after further submissions have been received. To view the position paper and participate by making a submission on the position paper, visit the Productivity Commission’s webpage on the study.

Submissions on the position paper are due by Wednesday 12 July 2017.