Proposed Changes to the NDIS

Proposed Changes to the NDIS thumbnail.

Do you want to understand more about the proposed changes to the NDIS?

Just in case you haven’t had a spare day to read the 75 pages across the three consultation papers issued by the NDIA , Down Syndrome Queensland have pulled together what we consider to be some of the key points from these papers.  The NDIA are asking for feedback on these papers by the 23rd February and we would encourage you to provide feedback on any concerns or questions you have.  You can provide feedback directly to the NDIA via their website, or you can provide feedback to the NDIA in a webinar we are running in conjunction with the NDIA on 11 February at 6pm where a team from the NDIA will outline these changes and then there is the opportunity for questions to be asked and feedback to be given.  Alternatively, you can provide feedback to DSQ directly and we will include it in our submission to the NDIA.

  1. Access and Eligibility Policy with Independent Assessments (for participants aged 7 – 65):
  • Access will not be determined by the disability itself; but rather confirmation that the participant meets requirements of age, residence, evidence of disability and permanency; and having an Independent Assessment (for people new to the scheme).
  • Independent Assessments are funded by NDIS; but not done by Planners (or LAC’s) they are done by specialised assessors who are not direct NDIS staff.
  • These Independent Assessments will guide how much funding a person receives; and will need to be re-done every 5 years (earlier if seeking a funding increase). If the Assessment shows significant improvement in function, this may lead to eligibility (and therefore ongoing access to the Scheme) being reviewed.
  • There will be some specific situations where an Independent Assessment won’t need to be done. Where they are done, you will be given a summary of the assessment and an explanation of the access decision.
  • The access decision can still be reviewed; but the actual results of the Independent Assessment cannot.


  1. Planning Policy for Personalised Budgets and Plan Flexibility (participants aged 7 – 65 years)
  • Independent Assessments will be used to develop a personalised budget.  Unlike current plans, most of the budget will be more flexible in how it can be used.  Other factors such as location; age; level of family / informal support; and functional capacity will all be taken into account with regard to the development of the budget. 
  • Whilst there will be greater flexibility, the usual Reasonable and Necessary principles will still apply. Some items / parts of the funding may still be fixed into particular categories and won’t be able to be used for a different purpose (See page 19 of the discussion paper for more detail).
  • Budgets will no longer be based on things like recommendations of a certain amount of supports from a provider but will now be based on the results of the Independent Assessment. 
  • The draft plan and budget will be shared with you and / or the participant before their planning meeting.
  • The planning meeting will focus on goals and how you might be able to use the plan to meet these across the next time period; which can be up to 5 years long.  However, money within such a lengthy plan won’t all be released at once; rather in set amounts across set time periods. The NDIA / LAC will still check in with you at set intervals.
  • In an emergency situation an NDIS delegate can add funds to a plan without an Independent Assessment. Other changes to an existing plan will only be able to occur under certain (limited) conditions.
  • Planning decisions will continue to be reviewable decisions, but not the results of the Independent Assessments. 


  1. Supporting young children and their families early, to reach their full potential  (ECEI paper 0-7 years)
  • The current ECEI approach is very different to what was originally planned for the early childhood part of the Scheme; and that this has led to much more funding being spent in this area than had originally been projected. The proposals focus heavily on returning to an evidence based best practice approach (central role of family, therapy within home/community settings, team-based approach, respect of cultural values, qualified professionals, strengths based approach to encourage families to transition out of the Scheme if support is no longer required)
  • The paper has a large number of recommendations for changes to the ECEI approach. Some key ones (by no means all) of these are:
  • Development of new Early Childhood Operating Guidelines
  • Development of better measures to ensure providers are operating to best practice & evidence based standards (including suggestions such as requiring all Early Childhood providers to be registered; better encouragement of providers to provide their support in the child’s natural settings)
  • A somewhat different Independent Assessment process for children aged over 1 (potentially different assessment tools than for older participants); which will be done by the Early Childhood Partners rather than Independent Assessors.
  • To increase the scope of what the Early Childhood partner does, such as better supporting vulnerable communities; providing short term early intervention support, and for longer periods; educate families further around how to recognise best practice / evidence-based providers; linking families to local community supports.
  • To increase the age that ECEI ends from 7 to 9 (this will assist in supporting families as they navigate the transition to school)