Overwhelmed by the NDIS process? Here are some tips to help get you through the application and planning phases.
Going through the application and planning processes for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be daunting, but there are ways to make the process less stressful. Here's what we came up with.
Write it down
There are dozens of potential questions you might have surrounding the NDIS application and planning processes. Instead of them swimming around in your head, get them down onto paper. Perhaps even sort them out into a priority of most urgent to least urgent. Start having a go at them yourself – what do you think? What do you already know about the topic? Getting your thoughts onto paper can help to clarify what information you are going to need.
Talk to someone
Now that you have written down your questions and thoughts, it's time to talk to someone. Maybe you have a support worker who is working on your application with you. Bring your thoughts and questions to your next session and they can support you to find the answers. If you don't have a support worker, you may have a carer or someone you know who can act as 'support buddy' with you to help you understand the processes. Skylight has a Customer Relations Team that can be accessed over the phone or in person and they can talk to you about all things NDIS. Alternatively you might call the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for some answers. Waiting on the phone line is not everyone's favourite thing, but put your phone onto speaker, make a cup of tea or do the dishes while you wait and someone will be there to take your call. Make sure you note down the answers to your questions so that you can refer back to them in in the future.
One step at a time
When thinking about the NDIS application processes as a whole, it can certainly seem overwhelming. However remember that you need only to focus on the next thing. With your support worker, carer or support buddy, divide up the tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, make an application process action plan and even put tasks in a diary or calendar so that you know exactly when you are going to address each one.
Come to an NDIS café/workshop/talk
Feeling stuck? You're not the only one. Seek out NDIS information sessions in your area so that you can be part of the information sharing that is happening in your community. Skylight runs information sessions as well as an NDIS café in various locations – visit our website for more details or give us a call!
Research, research, research
The NDIA's website can seem like a lot to take in, however a little bit of searching might just lead to some fact sheets and FAQs that are relevant to you. You might want to go through them with your support worker, carer or support buddy – to get it straight in your mind. It's also important to get to know the language used by the NDIA to improve your chances of gaining access to the scheme. Phrases such as "psychosocial disability" "permanent and lifelong", "significant functional limitations" and "cannot do" are all phrases that will make sense to the NDIA when processing your application.
Organise your paperwork
Like with most administrative tasks, organisation helps. You might find it useful to keep papers in labelled folders, stick post it notes as reminders and make copies or scans of important documents. Whatever way you know how, keeping organised is a good way to alleviate anxiety and help you to feel less overwhelmed.
Stay focused on your goals
Ultimately, the NDIS process is about identifying what is important to you to get the support that you need. Keep focusing on what it is you want out of the NDIS and keep talking about these goals with anyone helping you to apply for the NDIS. Having a clear idea about what kind of services you need will hopefully help you to stay on track.