News | 6 March 2015

The NDIS Dejargonator

Every new big policy comes with a whole new set of terms and jargon. Here we have tried to decode some that we’ve heard.


Let’s start at the beginning . It stands for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and is a new approach to service delivery and funding for people with a disability. The NDIS puts people with disability at the centre of the system for the first time – allowing them to determine their own future and receive funding which matches their needs and aspirations.


Not to be confused with the NDIS, the NDIA stands for National Disability Insurance Agency. It’s the body responsible for running the NDIS. So in other words, the NDIA is a bit like the organisation Cricket Australia, whereas the NDIS is like the actual game of cricket.

NDIS Access

Quite simply, access means qualifying for the NDIS. There is a tool called My Access Checker to help you work out if you qualify although you only really qualify right now if you are in a trial site.

In the long term you are eligible if you have a significant and permanent disability and meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have significant limitations in communication, mobility or self care
  • Have an intellectual disability
  • Have a condition for which early intervention would result in an improved level of functioning
  • Be a person for whom intervention would have significant benefits


Once you have received confirmation that you qualify for the NDIS, your planner is the first person you should speak to on your NDIS journey. Your planner is there to help you access the system, but you can help them help you by giving them as much information as possible about your situation and your goals. Check out our tips on the planning process.


A provider is a person or an organisation that delivers support to someone who has registered for the NDIS. It is the provider’s job to deliver the supports you require. See the current list of providers.

Participant plans

This is the plan for the type of supports and/or funding which you and your planner have designed for you. You don’t have to take a back seat and trust your planner to do all the work. You can take a more active role and manage it yourself. That’s up to you. There are several options for plan management. Remember that there are no right or wrong answers, and that every plan is different for each person. Take a look at some tips on the planning process from current participants.

Sector development fund

This is a special fund which the government has set up to help prepare for the NDIS. It will be used to fund activities including transition support, workforce planning and development. It’s basically there to make sure nobody is out-of-pocket as they switch from the old way of doing things to the NDIS.

Reasonable and necessary supports

Anything which is related to your disability is a reasonable and necessary support under the NDIS. This can include not just the basics like mobility equipment and therapeutic support, but support with transport, doing daily tasks, home modification, education, social participation and more. If you’re not sure what is “necessary and reasonable”, ask your planner.  But the basic rule is that it must be related to your disability, and it can’t replicate things that your family or community already helps you with.

Trial site

If we brought the whole NDIS into operation overnight, it would be extremely difficult to get everything right first time. That’s why the NDIS is being brought in step by step in a series of trial sites around the country. People at these sites are using the NDIS in a full capacity, just as you will be if you live elsewhere. There is currently at least one trial site in each state and territory.  The rollout of the NDIS to the whole of Australia is due to start in July 2016.

Find out more about the full NDIS rollout.


Quite simply, it stands for the Council of Australian Governments. It comprises the state premiers, territory chief ministers, the President of the Australian Local Government Association and the Prime Minister, and it meets twice yearly. The reason you might bump into this term from time to time is because state and territories have agreements with the Federal government to deliver the NDIS.

Productivity Commission Report 2011

When the Australian government wants detailed information to help it develop policy, it enlists the help of The Productivity Commission. The Productivity Commission’s 2011 report on how the NDIS would work, was a key document that led to the NDIS as we know it today.

Here’s how part of its summary read:

“The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports. The stresses on the system are growing, with rising costs for all governments.

“There should be a new national scheme – the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – that provides insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant disability. Funding of the scheme should be a core function of government (just like Medicare).”

UN Convention On The Rights Of People With Disability

It’s a big international treaty to protect the rights of people with disabilities which came into force in 2008, and which was one of the Productivity Commission’s (see above) driving forces behind the creation of the NDIS. The Convention contains more than 10,000 words. But if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, you can reduce what it says to three words: YOU ARE IMPORTANT.

Come across some other NDIS jargon and don’t know what it means?

Check out the full glossary National Disability Practitioners have pulled together or write it in the comments below and we’ll add it to our list.

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