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Expect a call: Plan reviews

The NDIA have a new plan review process. Here's what you need to know to help people get good outcomes.

By Dr Kylie Morgan

Updated 15 Apr 202411 May 2022
Illustration of a person taking a phone call

The NDIA has introduced a new plan review process. Instead of each participant attending a scheduled plan review when their plan is due to end, they will now receive a phone call to participate in what the NDIA calls a Participant Check-In. During this call, the NDIA representative will discuss the participant’s well-being and see if their supports are meetings their needs.

While the Participant Check-In is expected to occur close to a participant’s plan end date, there is no formal timeframe set out by the NDIA. A participant could receive a call at any time.

During the Participant Check-In, the NDIA representative will ask questions about how the current NDIS plan is going. They’ll also ask if the participant’s circumstances have changed since the last planning conversation. The responses to the representative’s questions will determine which one of the following review processes will take place:

  1. New NDIS plan with same supports
  2. New NDIS plan with minor changes (Plan Variation from July 1)
  3. A full plan review (Plan Reassessment from July 1)

What are the benefits of each option?

Choosing a new plan with the same supports is a great choice if the participant’s plan is meeting their support needs and goals. The participant won’t have to worry about attending a formal planning meeting or submitting reports and assessments. The participant will receive a default new two-year plan (unless they request otherwise) and even have their plan funds indexed.

The Participant Check-In also makes things much easier if a person needs only minor changes to their current NDIS plan. There may be a requirement to provide evidence to support the change depending on individual circumstances. However, there will be no need to attend a formal planning meeting.

If neither of these options is suitable, then a formal planning meeting will be scheduled to reassess the entire plan. As with all full plan reassessments, a person will need to provide any relevant reports, including allied health and Support Coordinator reports, and assistive technology quotes to the NDIA. In this circumstance, there is no guarantee of a plan’s budget outcome. It could stay the same, increase, or decrease, depending on individual circumstances. As in options 1 and 2, the default plan length remains two years.

Who is this likely to advantage?

Receiving a call from the NDIA seemingly out of nowhere to discuss an NDIS plan may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those who have previously been involved in the plan review process, it is not just the preparation of reports and assessments that is significant. The mental preparation needed is just as weighty.

Putting that aside, the new flexible plan review process is going to make the plan review process for some people much easier and less stressful. For example, people who have already been on NDIS for a few years, have a plan that is meeting their needs, and have stable support needs will likely benefit from a Participant Check-In.

For NDIS participants who don’t fall into this category, however, this adds an additional layer of complexity to the plan process. People in this group will now need to justify to the NDIA representative why their current plan does not meet their needs before being allowed to go to a full plan review. This is great if the person or their chosen representative is articulate and able to explain their needs against the reasonable and necessary criteria, but I do wonder what happens in situations where that is not the case.

Tips for getting the most out of check-ins

Here at DSC, we couldn’t possibly leave you with just the facts, so here are some tips and tricks to assist with managing the new plan review process:

  • Ask the NDIA representative to call back when a support person is present
  • Ensure that the functional assessment on file with the NDIA accurately reflects the current level of functioning
  • Let the NDIA know about any changes to a situation as it occurs rather than waiting until the end of a plan
  • Ensure that any communication requirements are documented in the participant’s NDIS file
  • Assess whether the current budget meets the support needs
  • Know how to use plan funds flexibly

You can read more about the planning process on the NDIS website.

Authors

Dr Kylie Morgan

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