National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way of providing disability related supports to Australians who are under the age of 65 and have a significant and permeant disability.

By 2019 the NDIS will be available throughout Australia and will support over 460,000 participants.


Blind Citizens Australia and the NDIS


BCA made the decision not to become a service provider under the NDIS. This decision means that as an organisation BCA can provide you with independent, unbiased advice on the NDIS as there is no financial incentive.

Delays in access to Assistive Technology and Home Modifications (ATHM)

BCA has been in close conversations with the National Disability Insurance Agency about issues that affect people who are blind or vision impaired. We have been given this response from the agency about some issues that we have raised regarding Assistive Technology. We will be providing further information and case studies on this topic, as it is developed.

Key Messages – 30 October 2018


  • The NDIA acknowledges that there have been issues with timeliness in decision making for Assistive Technology (AT).
  • The Agency apologises for the impact delays may have had on participant’s experience of the NDIS and their day to day life.
  • The NDIA recognises the transformative power of AT and remains committed to offering participants the opportunity to identify and purchase individualised AT that enhances their economic and community participation.
  • As the number of participants entering the NDIS has increased, some of NDIA’s processes and systems have resulted in an unsatisfactory experience for some participants and providers.
  • The NDIA has commenced a program of improvements to reduce the need for assessments and quotes where possible, and (where quotes continue to be required) improve the efficiency and quality of assessments during the AT planning process.

Key messages:

  1. Short term improvements
  • New low-cost AT policy: Up to $1,500 of funding for AT can be included in a participant’s plan without further assessments or quotes. Around 40% of AT participants are benefitting from this change, which applies to new and existing AT plans.
    (In place since May 2018) 
  • Timely replacement: This change will allow replacement items (particularly like-for-like) to be sourced quickly without needing reassessment or multiple quotes. This will positively impact participants who need to replace an aged and faltering item, and would also be applicable with some review for replacing retiring dog guides.
    (To be trialled throughout November 2018) 
  • Timely repairs: This change will enable timely repairs and maintenance by calculating an appropriate budget for comprehensive repair and maintenance coverage of more expensive items.
    (Workshop with sector and costing to be finalised in November 2018) 
  • Reducing quotes: Improved tools will calculate appropriate funding for reasonable and necessary AT or HM supports, replacing the current reliance on quotes. This is expected to reduce waiting and processing times. The new tools will be introduced progressively for different AT/HM support types.
    (From December 2018.) 
  • Improved assessment templates: Updated assessment templates will help ensure the right information is provided to inform planning. In particular this includes new templates for Dog Guides and ICT AT developed in consultation with participants and the sector.
    (Revised templates being validated with sector – release late November 2018)
  1. National ATHM remediation team
  • A national ATHM remediation team is being established to monitor and help resolve delays in AT planning and plan implementation across the NDIS network.
  • This team is designing a method to track participant and provider AT requests within the Agency’s business systems (CRM). When implemented, participants and providers will be able to monitor the progress of requests more efficiently.
  • In the interim, nationally-consistent AT email inboxes have been published on the NDIS website to assist participants and providers provide information, and to engage with the NDIA about specific, urgent cases.
  • A central team of senior NDIA planners and AT advisors is monitoring these emails and helping resolve escalations as quickly as possible. 3. Complex AT requests
  • Some participants requiring more complex AT and HM supports are currently experiencing delays related to receiving and processing assessments, and preparation of a suitable plan.
  • To address this issue, and to ensure that adequate funds needed for AT are included in a participant’s plan at the plan approval stage, the NDIA is preparing to pilot the use of specialised AT assessors. These organisations will include assessors with skill in different disability cohorts, including vision loss.
  • Aspects of the new approach will be tested from November 2018, and the full approach will be piloted in early 2019.
  • The approach will be refined in preparation for a national rollout from Oct 2019.
  • In the interim, improved guidance and training is being developed and delivered to NDIA planners and partners to improve planning for participants with complex AT needs. This will include updated Operational Guidelines and other guidance material for the sector.





For details on submissions made by BCA around the NDIS, see our Submissions page.


Future Work


BCA was recently awarded funding under the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grants program in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and in South Australia.

We are currently developing a project plan for these grants and will provide you with more information in the coming weeks.


Fact Sheets


Below, you will find a series of fact sheets and resources developed by Blind Citizens Australia that will provide you with blindness specific information on the NDIS.

If you are new to the scheme, it may benefit you to read through the fact sheets in order. Otherwise, simply access the ones that relate to your current needs.


Preparing for your Planning Meeting

Managing your Plan

Change of Circumstances Review

Scheduled Reviews

Internal review of a decision

Additional information for dog guide users

Accessing information in alternate formats

Complaints and Feedback

Glossary of terms

Helpful contacts


Other Resources


National Disability Insurance Scheme Website

For general information on the NDIS and a range of fact sheets and other resources, check out the NDIS website:


NDIS Price Guide

Pricing for NDIS approved services can be accessed on the NDIS website also. The current NDIS Price Guide is available HERE in Word format.


Reasonable and Necessary Checklist – The Growing Space

If you manage your plan yourself, or have a plan manager and are unsure about whether a support you want to purchase meets the NDIS criteria of ‘Reasonable and Necessary’, this checklist may help you come to a decision.

Reasonable and Necessary Checklist


Every Australian Counts

The Every Australian Counts website contains links to a number of resources developed by state and federal governments, disability service providers and related organisations as well as general information on the NDIS.


“Reasonable and Necessary” The Podcast – The Summer Foundation

Dr Taleporos of the Summer Foundation presents a weekly podcast on the NDIS, breaking down different aspects of the scheme for listeners. Podcasts are available through the iTunes app or at the link below.


Quality and Safeguards Commission


On 1st July 2018 the Quality and Safeguards Commission was launched in New South Wales and South Australia. Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will join the commission on 1st July 2019 and Western Australia on 1st July 2020.

The commission is now responsible for registering NDIS providers in those states. They also handle complaints about service providers and deal with reportable incidents of abuse and neglect.

The commission is not responsible for complaints about an individual’s plan; these must continue to be lodged with the National Disability Insurance Agency or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Complaints about the National Disability Insurance Agency can also be made directly to the agency or the commonwealth ombudsman.

As the commission is very new, there is not a great deal of information available about their work at the moment, we will continue to update you on this as it becomes available. In the meantime, information about the commission is available at their website:


For More Information

If you have questions about the NDIS, contact Blind Citizens Australia on 1800 033 660 or for more information.