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Frequently asked questions

What is WA NDIS My Way?

WA NDIS My Way is a model of supporting people with disability to exercise more choice and control over their supports and services, participate in the local community and build on natural supports such as friendships, neighbours and local community groups.

At its core is the My Way approach, which was developed in consultation with more than 1,300 people and builds on the strengths of the Disability Services Commission’s tried and tested Local Area Coordination (LAC) program, in operation since 1988.

WA NDIS My Way is flexible, responsive and person-centred and places choice and control in the hands of people with disability, their families and carers. There is also a strong focus on building positive partnerships between the government and the community sector and maintaining close connections with mainstream supports and services.

Although WA NDIS My Way is based on WA’s current disability services model, key aspects are aligned with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) including eligibility requirements, determination of reasonable and necessary supports and access to additional resources.

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Why is Western Australia trialling two different NDIS models?

When the State Government negotiated WA’s participation in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), it was determined to retain the best features of WA’s existing disability services system. These include early engagement in good planning processes, decision-making at a local level, a focus on natural support networks and inclusion in the community.

By implementing its own state-based NDIS trial, WA is able to continue building on these positive features, whilst staying true to the insurance principles and practices required of an NDIS.

WA NDIS My Way is being run by the Disability Services Commission on behalf of the State Government in the Lower South West (from 1 July 2014) and Cockburn and Kwinana (from 1 July 2015).

At the same time, the Commonwealth Government’s National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) NDIS model is operating in the Perth Hills area (from 1 July 2014).

The end of the current trial is approaching and the Commonwealth and State governments are in discussion about the future of the NDIS in WA. Designing the future of disability services in WA is not a simple choice between the two NDIS trial models, rather it will involve drawing out the best features of both models, to ensure a sustainable approach that delivers the very best outcomes for people with disability in WA.

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How were the areas for WA’s trial of the NDIS chosen? 

The agreement between the Commonwealth and State Governments required that the two NDIS trial sites have similar sized populations with relatively similar demographics to ensure comparability in the evaluation of the two approaches.

The Lower South West and Cockburn-Kwinana areas combined include a total of approximately 4,100 people who are potentially eligible to participate in the WA NDIS My Way trial. The Perth Hills area has a similar number of potentially eligible people in the National Disability Insurance Agency’s NDIS trial site. Collectively, these areas also represent a regional and metropolitan population of the State, which will be important to feed into modelling work on the future of disability service provision in WA beyond these trials.

Furthermore, all three areas were part of the State Government’s My Way project, which was implemented prior to the introduction of the NDIS, so it made sense to continue building on this work and to minimise disruption for people with disability, their families and carers.

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How are the two trials being monitored and evaluated?

An independent comparative evaluation is being undertaken by Stantons International throughout the two-year trial period. The evaluation objectives, which were drafted in consultation with people with disability, their families and carers, disability and mental health advocacy organisations, services providers and State Government representatives, are as follows:

  • Compare and contrast the two trial site models;
  • Identify any implementation issues for each model which will require attention during the two-year trial;
  • Monitor and track modification that are being made to both models during the trial period and determine the reasons for the changes;
  • Provide information on the processes and outcomes of each model to the extent possible within the available timeframe;
  • Identify and discuss the implications of the evaluation findings for the future of the disability reform agenda in Western Australia and nationally.

This evaluation is overseen by the WA Joint Steering Committee, which consists of senior officials from First Ministers’ departments, disability and mental health departments and consumers. The evaluation interim and final evaluation reports will be submitted to the WA Joint Steering Committee, who will determine how the reports are disseminated.

Important lessons have been learnt in both trial sites that have strengthened the delivery of services to people with disability, their families and carers. The State Government is committed to running the full two-year trial and to the completion of the independent evaluation which will inform future decisions about full rollout of the NDIS in WA.

In addition to the formal independent evaluation, the Commission has employed a number of strategies to ensure that the WA NDIS My Way trial is being monitored at the local level. These include, for example, independent consumer satisfaction surveys, independently facilitated forums and the establishment of various governance and advisory groups. Feedback received through these forums has been invaluable in ensuring that the WA NDIS My Way model is responsive and supporting people on the ground to achieve good outcomes.  

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What is a My Way Coordinator?

Being part of the WA NDIS My Way trial means individuals will have access to a My Way Coordinator to help guide them on their journey.

My Way Coordinators provide ongoing support to individuals, their families and carers to assist them in areas such as accessing information, planning for the future, participation in their community and identifying local supports and services.

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What is My Way planning?

One of the key features of the WA NDIS My Way model is the focus on early engagement in individualised planning. WA NDIS My Way planning enables people with disability to increase their involvement in the planning process and focus on achieving their goals.

People with disability are supported in this process by their My Way Coordinator, who can help in areas such as accessing information, exploring opportunities in the local community, identifying goals and linking in with local supports and services.

The resulting plan incorporates strategies tailored to the individual’s skills, strengths and need for support. Planning is flexible and responsive to challenges and changes in each person’s life.

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Can I change my plan?

Of course. It’s your plan. If you have particular issues around the progress of your current plan, changes have occurred in your life or you just want to adjust your goals, then you can review your plan with your My Way Coordinator. The Commission recognises that people’s lives aren’t static and WA NDIS My Way planning supports that.

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What is the difference between Local Area Coordination (LAC) and WA NDIS My Way?

WA NDIS My Way builds on the strengths of the LAC model. The key differences are that WA NDIS My Way offers:

  • more intensive, individualised planning
  • local decision-making and funding allocations to better respond to people’s needs
  • additional resources and funding
  • greater flexibility, choice and control to access supports and services based on people’s individual goals and strategies identified in their plan, rather than being limited to programs
  • additional My Way Coordinators to support people to access services, including My Way Coordinators with experience in mental health 
  • alignment of Commission funding allocations with the NDIS reference packages and principles of reasonable and necessary support
  • access to supports and services for people with psychosocial disability.

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I live in a WA NDIS My Way trial site. Am I eligible to participate?

The WA NDIS My Way trial in the Lower South West commenced on 1 July 2014. Cockburn and Kwinana joined the trial on 1 July 2015. Eligibility criteria for the WA NDIS My Way trial aligns with the NDIS eligibility requirements and includes age, residency and disability or early intervention requirements.

You may be eligible if you:

  • are under 65 years of age on 1 July 2014
  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • have a disability that is permanent, or likely to be permanent
  • permanently reside in a WA NDIS My Way trial site from 1 July 2014
  • have a psychiatric condition which has proven to be unresponsive to treatment and likely to be permanent.

These are the basic eligibility requirements only.  You can also use the online Am I Eligible? tool to carry out an initial check of your potential eligibility.

In most cases, if you are already engaged in My Way and connected to a Local Area/My Way Coordinator you are automatically eligible to take part in the trial and your coordinator will guide you through the process.

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I have been asked to contact a My Way Coordinator. Why?

To determine if you are eligible for WA NDIS My Way, you will be asked to contact a My Way Coordinator in your area for further assessment.

My Way Coordinators may need to do the following to help determine your eligibility:

  • meet you and talk about your needs
  • talk to family members, informal carers and other people important to you (where appropriate)
  • ask for reports from health and/or educational professionals
  • ask for relevant medical records.

Additional supporting information may be requested in order to make an eligibility decision. The information requested should be the minimum required for the decision to be made.

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I have been asked to contact the Central Eligibility Team. Why?

Because of the medical complexities and variations in intellectual disability and autism, My Way Coordinators do not carry out eligibility assessments in these two areas.

The eligibility determination process for intellectual disability and autism is undertaken by the Commission’s Central Eligibility Team. Autism is determined by a multidisciplinary team specialised in the assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

All other eligibility determinations will be made by the WA NDIS My Way team.

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I live in the Perth Hills area. Am I eligible for the NDIA NDIS trial?

To find out about eligibility for the NDIA NDIS trial in the Perth Hills, please visit the NDIS website and use the My Access Checker tool.

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How do I contact the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)?

The WA NDIS NDIA trial in the Perth Hills commenced on 1 July 2014. For more information please visit the NDIS website or contact the National Disability Insurance Agency using the details below:

Email: enquiries@ndis.gov.au
Phone: 1800 800 110

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I don’t live in a NDIS trial site. What supports and services can I access?

If you are already receiving supports and services from the Disability Services Commission these will continue.

If you are not already connected to the Commission and would like to discuss your possible eligibility to access Commission provided and funded supports and services, you can contact the Local Area Coordination office in your area by using the 'Your local support' search function.

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I have a psychosocial disability. Am I eligible for NDIS supports and services? 

The broadened eligibility criteria for the NDIS means that increased numbers of people will be eligible to access supports and services, including those with a psychosocial disability. A person with psychosocial disability has impairments that can be attributed to an enduring psychiatric condition which has proven to be unresponsive to treatment and likely to be permanent.

To be eligible for support from the NDIS, the impairments must substantially reduce a person’s ability to undertake routine daily activities.

WA NDIS My Way provides non-clinical supports and services that focus on supporting people with psychosocial disability to undertake daily living and participating in the community – both socially and economically. For more information, read the WA NDIS My Way Fact Sheet: People with psychosocial disability.

There are some supports and services that will continue to be provided by the WA health and mental health system, such as diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions and mental illness. This includes medical and clinical services; care while admitted in hospital, in-patient and residential care; and medications and pharmaceuticals.

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How does the WA NDIS My Way planning approach align with mental health recovery principles?

Eligible people with psychosocial disability in the WA NDIS My Way trial work together with My Way Coordinators who have highly developed person-centred planning skills. My Way Coordinators can support individuals to develop their individualised plan which outlines their personal goals and the strategies they will use towards achieving these goals.  The planning process builds on a person’s skills and strengths and identifies specific support needs.

WA NDIS My Way promotes the recovery of people with psychosocial disability throughout this process by:

  • Focusing on the person’s goals and aspirations, not the limitations of their illness;
  • Outlining the person’s own role, the role of family, community and other natural support networks, such as neighbours and friends and other supports needed to assist them to achieve their goals;
  • Focusing and building on the person’s capacities, strengths and interests;
  • Emphasising engagement within the community and facilitating access to mainstream services such as education and employment.

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What does ‘reasonable and necessary’ support mean?

When an NDIS My Way Coordinator develops a plan with a person with disability, families and carers, they will take into account the ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports needed for that person to achieve the goals outlined in their WA NDIS My Way plan.

For example, ‘reasonable and necessary’ may include:

  • assisting the individual to pursue goals and undertake activities which facilitate independence, social and economic participation
  • supports which develop an individual’s capacity to actively take part in the local community
  • supports which represent value for money and are likely to be effective and beneficial for the individual
  • supports which are most appropriately funded through WA NDIS My Way (rather than through other service systems)
  • supports which are directly related to an individual’s needs and are beyond what is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide.

NDIS My Way Coordinators will assist people with disability, their families and carers to determine what is considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ throughout the planning process.

For more information, please refer to the WA NDIS My Way operational policy titled Funded supports in the plan – Reasonable and necessary.

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What does self-management of my plan involve?

Self-managing your plan means you will be responsible for things like receiving and managing any funding provided, purchasing supports (including payment of indirect costs such as taxes), implementing safeguards, acquitting funds and meeting other accountability requirements.

It’s a big responsibility so your My Way Coordinator can help you decide whether this is the best option for you. There is also the option to have your plan managed by your preferred disability service provider or to share management responsibilities with your chosen provider.

For more information, please refer to the WA NDIS My Way operational policy titled 'Plan management decisions' and the Self-management Guide for WA NDIS My Way.

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What happens if I move into a WA NDIS My Way trial site?

If you move to a WA NDIS My Way trial site after the trial period commences (1 July 2014 for the Lower South West and 1 July 2015 for Cockburn-Kwinana), you will need to demonstrate that you meet the qualifying and ongoing residence requirements.

You may also need to provide evidence that you have moved to the area for reasons other than accessing WA NDIS My Way (for example education, employment, health care or family support).

Exceptional circumstances may also apply and will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, please refer to the WA NDIS My Way operational policy titled Portability.

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What happens if I move out of a WA NDIS My trial site?

Temporary absences

An individual who has a plan in effect may be temporarily absent from Australia for six weeks without affecting their plan. This six-week grace period is automatically applied and commences from the person’s date of departure.

Individuals can request that the Commission extend the grace period beyond six weeks if deemed necessary and this will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

If an individual remains overseas after the end of the approved grace period, the plan is suspended from the end of the grace period until they return to Australia. The effect of suspending the plan includes placing funding amounts on hold and individuals cannot request a plan review.

Permanent relocation

People who permanently relocate (within Australia) will not be disadvantaged as a result of this transition. Eligible people with disability are provided with security and flexibility when moving residences, ensuring continuity of funded supports.

For permanent relocation out of a WA NDIS My Way trial site, staff will work collaboratively with other jurisdictions and programs to ensure a smooth transition and minimal impact on individuals.

There is a guarantee of portability of funding under the Intergovernmental Agreement for the NDIS. Individuals will receive similiar support and 12 months funding, as per their existing plan.

This allows people time to secure supports, services and funding at their new residence, with the assurance of continuity of existing levels of support for up to 12 months.

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What happens to people once they turn 65 years of age in the WA NDIS My Way trial?

The age criterion for the WA NDIS My Way trial relates to initial eligibility, people who turn 65 after entering the trial at a younger age continue to participate in the trial.

If a WA NDIS My Way participant who turns 65 years after entering the trial at a younger age has increased support needs, these may be considered and approved if they meet the funding parameters. NDIS My Way Coordinators will consider whether the increased support is related to the person’s disability or could be better met by another system such as aged care. For further information, you can read the WA NDIS My Way Fact Sheet: Eligibility for people aged 65 years or older

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What happens after the two-year trial?

People with disability, their families and carers in both comparative trials are benefitting from the increased funding and choice and control that the NDIS provides. The State and Commonwealth Governments remain committed to completing the two year trials and to providing continuity of support for eligible people in the trial sites when the current trial period ends in June 2016.

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I am not happy with my services. How do I lodge a complaint?

People with disability, their families and carers have the right to make a complaint about the supports and services they access through WA NDIS My Way. Complaints can be lodged by the individual or a nominated representative.

Initially complaints should be raised with the provider of the specific support or service you receive, as this offers the organisation the opportunity to address the issue and usually results in a speedier resolution. Please contact the relevant organisation’s complaint office in order to lodge a complaint in this way.

If this proves unsatisfactory, then a complaint can be made as follows:

For complaints about Commission-funded service providers you can lodge a complaint with the Disability Services Commission or contact the Commission's Consumer Liaison Officer on:
Phone: 9426 9244
Email: CLO@dsc.wa.gov.au

For complaints about other service providers you can lodge an online complaint with the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) or contact the office on:
Phone: 6551 7600
Email: mail@hadsco.wa.gov.au

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How does my organisation become a service provider in the WA NDIS My Way trial?  

To provide services in a WA NDIS My Way trial site (Lower South West and Cockburn-Kwinana), organisations need to be on the Disability Services Commission’s Panel Contract for Individually Funded Services and / or Panel Contract for Individually Funded Therapy Services.  The type of services offered by a service provider will determine the type of contract required.

Existing service providers not currently contracted to provide services in WA NDIS My Way may be able to negotiate a contract variation with the Commission to enable them to operate in a trial site.  If not, they will need to respond to an open tender process on the Tenders WA website.

New service providers (who do not already have a contractual arrangement with the Commission) will need to respond to an open tender process on the Tenders WA website. The Commission will be conducting periodic tenders, dependent on community need and prospective service provider interest.

Providing services in the NDIA NDIS Perth Hills trial site
Organisations wanting to provide services in the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) NDIS trial site in the Perth Hills must comply with the WA quality assurance system. In order to do that, organisations need to be on the Disability Services Commission’s Panel Contract for Individually Funded Services.

Organisations must also register with the National Disability Insurance Agency.

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How do I provide feedback?

Your feedback will help us to ensure the WA NDIS My Way model is working in the best way possible for people with disability, their families and carers, service providers, community-based organisations, mainstream organisations and other key stakeholders.

Please let us know what is working well (so we can keep these things going into the future) and what can be improved (so we can problem-solve and make changes). You can provide feedback by emailing MyWay@dsc.wa.gov.au or free call: 1800 996 214, TTY: 9426 9315.

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