Choice and control in the NDIS

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Choice and control is a key principle to how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) should work for participants, but what does it mean?

Key points

  • Choice and control is integral to getting the most out of your NDIS plan
  • You can exercise choice and control by understanding how your funding can be used and deciding how it is spent
  • If you need support to use choice and control you can ask a family member, friend, Local Area Coordinator or advocate

NDIS participants should be able to exercise choice and control in what disability supports and services they receive because this is a way to protect the rights of participants.

Why is choice and control important?

You have the right to choose who provides your supports, how you receive supports and when you receive supports. You also have the right to control your own life, how you live, where you live and how you spend your time.

This means you don’t have to use a provider if you feel they aren’t acting in your best interests. You can also ask if a provider has a conflict of interest with the way you want supports delivered.

No provider can pressure you to buy services or supports you don’t want or need, you will pay for supports at a fair and reasonable rate and you decide what personal information you give to a provider.

When you have choice and control over your disability services and living situation, you get the most out of all of your supports and your rights to dignity and respect are upheld.

How can I exercise choice and control?

The biggest choice you can make in the NDIS is to choose how your plan is managed.

Think about whether you have the time and energy to self manage your plan, whether you would like a professional plan manager to handle the financials for you, or whether you want the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to manage it.

Remember that regardless of how your plan is managed you still get to choose which providers deliver your supports.

If there’s any part of your plan that you are not happy with take steps to change it. This could include changing providers, changing your goals or supports, or even requesting a review of your plan.

Have a handle on how much of your NDIS budget is being spent and how much you have left, so that you can make the most of your funding.

Understanding what your funding can be used for also allows you to decide where it is best spent. For example, your Core funding is flexible and could be used for consumables like continence aids, support to access recreational activities or transport to a workplace if you can’t access public transport.

Support for your rights

If you feel like you are not able to choose your supports or control your situation, you may want help to stand up for your rights.

First, try talking to your provider about how you’re feeling. If you want support to do this you could ask a trusted family member or close friend.

When the issue is something your provider can’t fix themselves they may be able to help you to take it further, for example, they may support you to communicate with the NDIA or another Government Department.

Your Local Area Coordinator can also provide support to take up an issue with your provider or the NDIA.

Another option for support is to go to a disability advocacy organisation, which can help you to build your own skills for advocacy or advocate on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected.

Advocates can help you to recognise when your choice and control is being impacted and teach you how to speak up confidently about what you want to change.

What other NDIS terms do you think need to be explained? Tell us in the comments below.

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