The NDIS is rolling out in new areas around Australia from 1st July. This means that those phone calls to set planning appointment dates will start coming in slow dribs and drabs and then in a tsunami like wave. Whether your planning meeting is with the NDIA Planner or an LAC here are a few things to remember about the meeting.
- If the phone call to set a meeting date comes at an inconvenient time don’t feel pressured into making an appointment time then and there. Get a phone number and call them back when you have your diary in front of you and a clear head to make the arrangements.
- Make sure you insist on a face to face meeting. Most people find this a whole lot better experience than trying to have the discussion over the phone.
- Prepare what you want to say to the planner before the day so that you are clear about what you want to achieve in your first plan, the goals you want to set and the support you require to achieve those goals. There are plenty of planning resources in the files section of this site and the pinned post also provides you with some guidelines about how to prepare a plan.
- Take a trusted person with you to help you tell your story. Sometimes the NDIA Planner or LAC might try to discourage you from having someone else with you. Don’t listen to them. It’s always great to have someone else there to help you out when you get a little flustered.
- If you are a Plan Nominee for a participant, make sure that they are present for as much of the meeting as they can manage so that the planner gets to meet them and gets to know a little bit about who them.
- A planning meeting can go for as little as one hour or up to three hours in some cases. Most planning meetings seem to go for about two hours. Make sure you have plenty of time before the meeting and after so you’re not worried about other things you have to do and you can focus on what you need to say.
- Don’t allow yourself to be rushed by the Planner. It is important that explain your situation, the goals you have and the supports you require so that the planner fully understands. The person who accompanies you can help slow down the meeting if the Planner is trying to rush through all the questions.
- Before you finish the meeting make sure you ask the Planner the goals they have recorded for you and the supports they believe are reasonable and necessary. Check these off against the supports you documented in your preparation and ask for clarification if the Planner is not willing to recommend some supports you believe are reasonable and necessary. Make sure you don’t forget Supports Coordination and Plan Management or Self management if you want those options. Some planners will try and convince you that Self Management and Plan Management are too difficult for someone starting their first plan. Challenge them on this assumption if you want one of these options.
- Provide a copy of any planning documents and supporting information you have prepared. Do not hand over originals under any circumstances.
- Ask to see a copy of your plan before it is submitted for approval so you can provide feedback. Being able to review your plan before it is submitted is part of the new “Participant Pathway” that is currently being tested so it’s worth pushing this because the NDIA already knows this is necessary and save a lot of unnecessary heartache.