With more and more Australians applying for NDIS funding, it is useful to know how to look for a qualified and fair NDIS service provider to help you and/or your loved one in the Liverpool area.

People with disability in Liverpool

Liverpool is found in the South West area of Sydney, around 27 kilometres from Sydney CBD. Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data indicates that approximately 4.2 million (18.5% of the population) of Australians have a disability, with approximately 6% having a profound disability. A disability is any condition that limits, impairs or restricts someone to perform everyday activities for a period of at least (or expected to last) six months. There is estimated to be around 400,000 Australians under the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), with the South West Sydney area having some of the highest active NDIS participant rates across NSW. Thus, the demand for NDIS supports in Liverpool continues to grow.

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Options for NDIS supports

The NDIS can provide Australians up to the age of 65 years old formal supports for a medical condition or disability that has considerable impact on their functioning in their daily lives. NDIS supports can be used to help a person complete and engage in activities that are affected by their disability, where they are not receiving other informal supports (i.e. assistance from family or friends). There are three main areas of supports that the NDIS can allocate funding:

  • Core supports: Assistance to complete activities of daily living, including supports disability support workers or transport
  • Capacity building supports: Therapy and interventions to help develop the person’s skills and independence
  • Capital supports: Funding to purchase equipment, assistive technology devices, home or vehicle modifications or accommodation

To obtain approval for NDIS funding, a person must present written evidence (e.g. reports, letters, assessments) from medical and allied health workers that demonstrate their disability and need for NDIS services. It is also important that during the application and planning process, the person has clear goals and purpose about what they want to use their NDIS funding for.

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Steps for finding appropriate NDIS supports in Liverpool

For many NDIS participants, looking for and securing an NDIS service provider to meet their needs can be a daunting and time-consuming exercise. The following can be used as a guide to help clarify and simplify this process.

  1. Understand your NDIS plan

This sounds basic and obvious, but often participants and their families can be overwhelmed or confused by their plan. It is useful to think about your plan in terms of the specific personal and health goals you would like to achieve, and where those goals fit into the different funding categories (described above). You also need to understand how your funding is being managed (if you have a plan manager, manage it yourself or if it is managed by the NDIS), as it may affect the service providers you can choose. For example, if your funding is managed by the NDIS (agency managed), you must engage with providers who are NDIS registered, while plan or self-managed participants can work with providers who are not registered under the NDIS. Also note that different areas of your NDIS plan can be managed in different ways (e.g., capital supports may be agency managed, while core supports may be plan managed). Lastly, as your NDIS budget is limited, be mindful of your plan end date.

  1. Identify and prioritise clear goals

Now that you have a solid understanding of your NDIS funding and how it is managed, the next step is to break down and identify distinct goals. It may be best to order your goals from most to least important, so that you can prioritise the areas that are most important to you. You then need to think about your goals, the types of supports you will need, and the funding areas they apply to. This will make it easier when you search for services, as you can more quickly determine providers that are most pertinent to your needs. For example, if you have a goal to learn how to drive, you will require a driver trained occupational therapist (OT) and driving instructor to help build driving skills. This falls under ‘capacity building’ supports. As most people have a few various goals in the same funding category (e.g. psychology and speech therapy supports both fall under the same ‘capacity building’ category), it may be simplest to try to engage in one provider that offers both services. Moreover, it is also important to have clarity about the logistics around the services you are asking for. For example, how often and/or how long do you need the supports? Of course, this will also be guided by your allocated budget.

  1. Start looking for NDIS service providers in Liverpool

These days, most people search online to find anything they need in all areas of their lives. Looking for NDIS support in Liverpool is no different. The most evident way of finding a service near you is to search for the specific support you need (e.g. you may search for “disability support worker” or “occupational therapist”), followed by your area (i.e. Liverpool NSW). You may also ask your NDIS local area coordinator to recommend potential services, or peruse the NDIS provider list which can be found on the official NDIS website. Further, your GP, health care worker or school teacher may be able to give you some suggestions. Your NDIS plan may also include ‘support coordination’, where you can allocate a service to look for and organise services on your behalf.

  1. Start contacting NDIS services in Liverpool

You can then start to call or email services in your area that seem to align with your requirements. It is important to enquire about the qualifications and experience of their staff; how they deliver services (e.g., do they have a clinic, or can they come to your home?); if they are NDIS registered (for agency-managed funding); their prices for services. You will need to also give them some basic information about your situation, needs and if you have any specific requirements, such as cultural or language considerations. As you may be calling several services, it may also be best to keep a list of who you’ve contacted and their relevant information. This may make it easier to choose between providers.

  1. Choose a service provider

Once you decide on a provider you feel best meets your needs, set up a time to meet and go through a service agreement and other relevant paperwork. Apart from being aware of the service’s price rates, it is also important to clarify their cancellation policies, if there are any set-up fees, and how you disengage from their service (e.g. notice you need to give). Remember that one of the key features of the NDIS is that you, as the participant, have the freedom and choice to direct your own interests and decide how your funding is used. Thus, it is important to properly understand and agree to your working relationship with your service providers.