Glossary and Terms – Defining roles and goals in the NDIS

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The NDIS can be a confusing world to navigate, especially with all the jargon and abbreviations used. We decided to break it all down for you so you can be more prepared when navigating through the NDIS. 

Learning these terms and abbreviations is ideal to help you understand what exactly your plan means and can assist you when talking with NDIA staff or other stakeholders. 


Access Request Form –  This form provides the NDIA with the information they need to work out whether a person can become a participant in the NDIS. An Access Request Form must be completed to apply to become a participant in the NDIS. 

Capacity building – improving someone’s or something’s ability to carry out an activity or function.

Carers family members or friends who provide support to a person with a disability

Choice and Control A participant has the right to make their own decisions about what is important to them. This notion is at the core of the NDIS and all plans are developed around a participants choice and control 

Coordination of Supports – The NDIA defines Support Coordination as: ‘Assistance to strengthen participants’ abilities to coordinate and implement supports and participate more fully in the community.’

Disability Care Australia – the old name for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) – The NDIS  provides support to children with a disability between 0-6 years of age ECEI

Eligible – being able to become an NDIS participant, not all people with a disability will be eligible.

Funded supports – types of support that cost money and that the NDIS pays for.

Guardian someone (e.g. a carer or family member) who has the responsibility to make decisions for a person who is not able to make their own decisions.

Individual support plan – a document that lists a participant’s goals, what services and supports they already receive and what funded supports they can receive through the NDIS. Every participant has their own support plan.

Informal supports any unpaid support that is provided by a family or friend carer and not a paid service provider or formal volunteer.

Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) – used to be known as ‘Tier 2’, aims to build the capacity of the community, people with disability and their families and carers.

Insurance Scheme the NDIS is called an insurance scheme because it is designed to reduce future needs by providing support and increasing capacity. 

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) contracted providers who undertake NDIS planning meetings and link people with disabilities to service providers and build the capacity of individuals, carers, and the community to support people with disabilities. 

Mainstream services – services that provide support to a range of people and not just people with disabilities, such as education, income support, public housing, employment, public transport, or health services.

Manage – be in charge of, for example, finding service providers, keeping records and receipts or paying support workers.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – an agency set up and funded by the Australian Government to run the NDIS.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – the National Disability Insurance Scheme is the new system of disability support that is being introduced across Australia and aims to give people with disability and their carers more choice and control over their supports.

NDIS Access Checklist – a checklist to help people find out whether they can join the NDIS.

Nominee – a person who can act or make decisions on behalf of a participant.

Operational Guidelines – guidelines that are designed to assist the NDIA in making decisions and performing functions.

Participant – a person with a disability who has an individual support plan and their support is paid for by the NDIS.

Peer Support where a person with a lived experience helps a person new to that experience through sharing information about their journey.

NDIS Planner – a person who works for the NDIA and whose job it is to help participants put together their individual support plans.

Planning meeting a conversation where a planner, a participant and any other person supporting the participants work together to develop an individual support plan for the participant.

Price Guide A list of supports developed by the NDIA that contains the maximum prices service providers can charge for particular supports. Each state and territory have a different Price Guide.

Reasonable and necessary supports – supports that are related to the participant’s disability. ‘Reasonable’ means something that is fair, and ‘necessary’ means something you must have in order to go about your daily life. 

Regional Support Officers NDIA staff who help participants access local supports after they have received an individual support plan through the NDIS.

Respite – a short break from the caring role that can include in-home respite, day care and residential respite.

Significant or permanent disability – a disability that a person will have for the rest of their lives and that makes it difficult for the person to do everyday things without assistance. This includes both physical and mental illnesses’.

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