Local Area Coordinators (LACs) explained

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) explained

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) play a major part in your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) journey. For many people, LACs are the main contact point for the NDIS. 

This article will help you understand what LACs are, what they do and how they can help you get the most out of the NDIS.

Key points

  • LACs are often the main contact point for the NDIS 

  • Once you’re approved for the NDIS you will have a planning meeting with a LAC

  • LACs gather data and information from people in their planning meetings and pass the information onto the NDIA to be turned into a plan.

What is a NDIS Local Area Coordinator?

The NDIS is delivering the best support possible to assist people with disability in exercising their right to choice and control.

One of the ways this is done is through a partnership with local community organisations called LACs who assist the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in working with participants to access NDIS supports. 

LACs are organisations with a deep understanding and knowledge of disability and its impact on individuals, families and carers. They have highly developed one-on-one and public communication skills, relationship building, planning, negotiation and interpersonal skills.

What does a LAC do?

LACs have three key roles:

  • linking you to the NDIS

  • providing you with information and support in the community and

  • working with your local community to make sure it’s both welcoming and inclusive for people with disability.

LACs work with participants aged seven years and older to develop their plan, implement it and provide support to achieve their goals. Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Coordinators support children under the age of seven.

Once your request to be part of NDIS has been approved, you will be notified and a LAC will contact you to arrange a planning meeting. The LAC will work with you to put your plan together and will send it to the NDIA for approval.

Once approved, the LAC also helps you put your plan into action, known as plan implementation and they will ensure you maintain the supports in your NDIS plan while helping achieve your goals.

The LAC will help you understand your plan, choose and connect with service providers, explore and link you with community and mainstream options and re-assess your supports with you and your family as your plan progresses.

LACs are your key contact in discussing your NDIS plan and answering any questions you may have and they will help you evaluate your current supports during your annual plan reviews.

They also play an important role in helping people find culturally appropriate support services and connecting communities in rural and remote areas to NDIS support.

Difference between a LAC and the NDIA

LACs meet with you to get an understanding of your personal circumstances, the supports you need in your daily life as well as any goals and ambitions you have. The information they gather during your planning meeting will be passed on to the NDIA to be turned into a plan. A LAC puts your plan together and submits your plan, they don’t approve them. This is the responsibility of the NDIA.

LAC’s are not part of the NDIA. Because the NDIA can’t conduct every planning meeting themselves LACs share some of the load so people aren’t rushed through the system.  Many people will have their first planning meeting with an LAC, not a NDIA planner. 

NDIA planners are employed directly by the NDIA and can approve participant plans. This means they make informed decisions about supports with regards to NDIS legislation.

Difference between a LAC and support coordinator

Support coordination is  NDIS-funded assistance for people who need extra help implementing their plan. 

Support coordinators are responsible for helping you to build the skills you need to understand and use your plan, connecting you with providers you want to work with, and making sure the supports you access are relevant to your goals. 

You are free to choose your own support coordinator, whereas there are specific LACs for each State and Territory.

To learn more, read our guide on support coordination here.

Have more questions about LACs? Tell us in the comment section below. 

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