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Chapter 12 Section E: Services and Supports


A service provider is a person, business or organisation that delivers funded services and/or programs. Service providers have different areas of experience and expertise, so it is important to work out what you want. It is important to find the right providers for what may be a range of different services to best meet your needs and achieve your goals.

Providers could be:

  • large privately operated companies;
  • community managed organisations (sometimes known as NGOs);
  • sole traders; or
  • any other types of business.

All supports and services delivered to NDIS participants should enable people with disabilities to have access to the same things in life as other people in the community. This might include a place to live, a job (whether voluntary or paid), access to learning and interest/hobby activities, social and community events as well as the company of families and friends. The NDIS is designed to be flexible. NDIS funded supports should generally assist you to carry out daily activities which form part of your community life and work.

This section will provide information about:

12E.1: The types of services funded by the NDIS

Once you have gone through an assessment process and are accepted as an NDIS participant, you will receive support for as long as you need it. The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports and services to help NDIS participants to play a part in the community socially and economically, and to pursue their aspirations and goals. Reasonable and necessary supports are described by the NDIS as being effective and beneficial in supporting your disability support needs.

Some supports and services which the NDIS may fund include:

  • daily personal activities;
  • transport to community, social, economic and everyday life activities and appointments;
  • assistance to finding and keeping employment;
  • assistive technology for mobility, personal care and communication;
  • home and vehicle modifications;
  • independent living support (for example, household cleaning and/or yard maintenance; support to find and maintain an appropriate place to live; assessment, training or therapy to increase independence);
  • financial management;
  • assistance with social and community participation (for example interpreting services; a support worker; training, assessment or therapy to increase capacity and skills in building and maintaining social relationships);
  • assistance with planning and decision making;
  • exercise, nutrition or dietary advice; and
  • Support Coordination and NDIS plan management.

If Local Area Coordination or Early Childhood Early Intervention planners are not available in your area, or you would like more help coordinating your supports and services, the NDIA may fund a Support Coordinator as part of your NDIS plan. A Support Coordinator will help you build the skills you need to use your plan to achieve your goals, live more independently, increase your skills and be included in the community of your choice and in employment. Support Coordination is included in your plan if it is seen as reasonable and necessary for your support needs.

Support Coordinators will work with you to assist in:

  • identifying options for community, mainstream as well as funded NDIS supports;
  • explaining how to choose providers and create service agreements with your providers; and
  • plan management, for example providing information about how to book a service.

Participants can decide where and how they can access their funded supports. For example, they may access supports through centre-based services, in-home, day services, community access and outreach services.

The NDIS Psychosocial Recovery Coach

The NDIS Psychosocial Recovery Coach (Recovery Coach) is a new support item made available in 2021 to participants with psychosocial disability. Recovery coaches are there to support participants in numerous dimensions of recovery. These dimensions include increased independence, social participation, economic participation, self-control, and management of daily living. They support a participant through developing a recovery-enabling relationship with them. It is achieved by dedicating specific time with the participant, and the people important to them, to develop an understanding of the participant, and their needs and desires. Collaborating with the broader system of supports is also part of the role. The goal of recovery coaches is to support the participant by finding out about different services and supports, and how these may be of assistance. All recovery coaches are required to have certain competencies to successfully fulfil their role in supporting participants such as:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of psychosocial disability and recovery, including trauma informed practice, supported decision-making, and family inclusive practice
  • Ability to facilitate access and coordination of community resources, services, and other government service systems. This includes collaborating with mental health services in planning and coordinating supports to implement the person’s plan and any plan review, and to ensure support responses are coordinated
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with participants to build a trusting, coaching relationship that motivates and builds their capacities to problem solve, review progress, reflect and learn, and provide and elicit feedback
  • Understands the episodic nature of mental health conditions and collaborates with relevant services to plan and maintain engagement through periods of increased support needs; and
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to use lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery to provide support and enable recovery.

12E.2: What you should consider when choosing service providers

Here are some things to consider when choosing a service provider:

  • Which of the providers in my area can offer the kinds of supports that I need?
  • Do the supports offered by the provider meet my personal needs and help me to achieve my goals?
  • Will the provider support me as an individual with rights?
  • How will the provider ensure I have choice and control over how it supports me?
  • Can the provider be flexible in their support so that fits my lifestyle?
  • What skills and experience do their staff members have?
  • Does the provider charge a fair price?
  • Can the provider show me that it delivers high quality support?
  • Can I complain to someone who works for the providers other than the person who provided the service to me?
  • What do other people with disability or carers say about the quality of the support the provider delivers to them?

12E.3: Choosing the right service provider

Providers are individuals or organisations who provide a support service to help you achieve your goals. If you choose not to self-manage your plan, your providers must be registered to provide support services. Being an NDIS registered provider ensures that the services meet the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding standards.

The NDIS Commission manages the registration and quality assurance of NDIS providers under a nationally consistent framework.

To find out what is expected of registered providers, click here.

The NDIS have compiled a list of all their NSW registered providers here.

Your Local Area Coordinator or your Early Childhood Early Intervention partner are available to help you find services that best meet your needs. It is important to think about which services will meet your needs, charge an appropriate fee, and which will best support you to fulfil your identified hopes and aspirations.

You may already have used some service providers before you joined the NDIS and you may choose to work with them again. You may also want to try new providers when you become an NDIS participant.

When considering a service provider, talk to them about your goals and discuss how they can help you work towards them.

Once you choose your service provider, you will create a service agreement. A service agreement is a written contract which makes clear what will be provided to you and the guidelines of the service.

Service agreements might include information about:

  • what support or service the provider agrees to deliver;
  • the cost of the support or service;
  • how, when and where you would like your service to be provided;
  • how long you require the support or service;
  • when and how your service agreement will be reviewed;
  • how any problems that may arise will be handled;
  • your responsibilities to the service provider (for example letting your provider know if you can’t make an appointment);
  • your provider’s responsibilities (for example working with you to deliver your support or service in the right way);
  • the provider’s cancellation policy; and
  • how you or your provider may change or end the service agreement.

Sometimes a service provider may already have a standard service agreement that you may like to use, or you can create your own service agreement to meet your individual needs.

It is important to consider which support or service will most effectively help you to achieve the aspirations and goals set out in your NDIS plan and improve your social and economic participation in your local community when choosing your service providers.

12E.4: Carers and the NDIS

12E.4.1: Can my carer receive NDIS services and supports?

The NDIS aims to better support families and carers in their caring role. While the NDIS cannot create individual plans for carers, as a participant you may choose to include funded-supports which may have direct or indirect benefits for your family members or carers.

In addition to the government-funded programs available to support carers, an NDIS participant might use funding in their plan to facilitate respite. Respite gives carers short breaks from their caring responsibilities and gives participants time away from their families. For carers, taking some time off can help them better manage their own health and improve their wellbeing.

  • For a participant, this might mean:
  • joining a new community group;
  • having a short stay out of home to try new things, make new friends or develop new skills;
  • temporary periods of extra personal support so that the participant can remain at home when families and/or carers are not available; and/or
  • support to participate in community activities, resulting in a break for carers.

Supports that may have a direct or indirect benefit to your carer may include:

  • family support and counselling related to a family member’s disability;
  • building the skills and capacity of other family members to manage the impact of a participant’s disability on family life;
  • supports that increase the participant’s independence, as well as supports that enable the participant to enjoy social and community activities independent of their informal carers;
  • supports aimed at increasing the sustainability of family caring arrangement, including personal care and domestic assistance related to the person’s disability;
  • personal care to support an individual in their home or the community;
  • supported employment services and help for work programs that prepare people with disability for work; and
  • training related to the caring role that may enhance your carers ability to provide care.

The NDIA or Local Area Coordinators can also help connect carers to mainstream services such as support groups, respite services or counselling to help with their self-care. Carers can find information about helpful mainstream services here.

Carer Gateway
Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers. The interactive service finder helps carers connect to local support services. You can find more information on the Carer Gateway website.

Carers Australia
Carers Australia is a national organisation that supports Australia’s carers. They work to improve the health, wellbeing, resilience and financial security of carers. You can find more information on the Carers Australia website.

For more general information about carers for people with mental health issues, click here.

12E.4.2: Can my carer be my service provider?

NDIA will not fund parents or family members of participants to provide personal care supports, except in the most exceptional circumstances.

12E.5: Resources to support navigating the NDIS

12E.5.1: Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) Online Resource – is an online resource developed by the Mental Health Coordinating Council which was funded by the NDIA. This resource assists people living with mental health conditions and their support persons to better understand the NDIS and what it can offer people living with psychosocial disability resulting from a mental health condition. provides information about how to apply for the NDIS and how to choose the right service providers to deliver the services a person has identified will meet their aspirations and goals. also presents information with a recovery focus particularly in its strengths-based approach toward decision making and developing strategies to maintain health and wellbeing.

12E.6: National and State NDIS Resources

The National NDIS website and NSW NDIS website provide information in online booklets and fact sheets. The national NDIS website has developed the NDIS Access checklist for people to test if they might be eligible for the NDIS.

12E.7: Resources supporting diverse communities to navigate the NDIS

12E.7.1: NDIS Complex Support Needs Pathway

The NDIS Complex Support Needs Pathway provides specialised support for participants living with a disability who experience many challenges impacting on their lives such as mental health conditions, incarceration or homelessness, and need a higher level of specialised supports in their plan.

NDIA Complex Support Needs planning teams and a network of specialised planners have extensive experience in high level coordination and/or allied health expertise. NDIS participants are identified for the Complex Support Needs Pathway based on the complexity of their situation, and personal factors such as being homeless or returning to the community from living in residential aged care. Involuntary or voluntary involvement with government systems such as justice or a mental health inpatient setting will also be factors which would facilitate entry to the Complex Support Needs Pathway.

12E.7.2: Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds

The NDIS website has provided information about the NDIS in many languages other than English, including Arabic, Auslan, Chinese (Simplified or Traditional), Filipino (Tagalog), French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan and Vietnamese. To access translated fact sheets, click here.

NDIS providers may not be able to speak the participant’s (or their parents/carers) primary language. In these circumstances, your NDIS representative (NDIA planner, Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator) will assist you to access interpreter services through the National Translation and Interpreter Services (TIS National), or through local mainstream interpreter services.

To assist in delivering information about the NDIS, there is a free interpreter available to call on 1800 800 110*.

*Mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

12E.7.3: Rural and Remote Access

Local Area Coordinators tell people with disabilities living in rural and remote communities about the types of supports are available under the NDIS through the knowledge of staff local to their community.

You can find a list of NSW Local Area Coordinator (LAC) partner offices here.

The NDIA is designing and developing a range of digital services and channels to support communication and engagement of rural communities with the NDIS.

To read the NDIA’s Rural and Remote Strategy, follow this link.

12E.7.4: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The NDIA has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy which focuses on supporting quality engagement, service delivery and leadership to ensure the effective provision of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

To read the engagement strategy and learn more about the NDIA’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, follow this link.

For factsheets, videos, referral information and tools that have been co-designed with Aboriginal people, click here.

12E.7.5: The NDIS and people living with co-existing conditions

The NDIA mainly looks at the impact of a condition or conditions (that is, the psychosocial disability) rather than the condition itself. If you have a co-existing condition, this does not mean you cannot get a NDIS package. Your plan should be tailored to support all the areas of functional difficulty you experience as a result of your condition.

Where co-existing alcohol or drug dependency issues are present, it must still be shown that your impacted functional capacity is the result of a mental health condition and not because of a co-existing substance use difficulty. A person can meet the NDIS access requirements regardless of any co-existing substance dependency issues. However, clinical treatment services for these issues are not funded by the NDIS.

12E.7.6: NDIS and the criminal justice system

Persons with disability who have been in custody are able to access the scheme and to plan to receive supports after being released from prison. If an existing NDIS participant is remanded in custody, the NDIS will continue to fund reasonable and necessary supports once they are released.

What the NDIS funds

  • Reasonable and necessary supports on the same basis as all other people in relation to a person not in custody.
  • Reasonable and necessary supports in relation to the participant’s functional impairment required while the person is in custody. Reasonable and necessary supports must not replace the supports provided by the justice system under reasonable adjustment and universal service obligations.

In some cases, people in custody can be assessed if and when they are eligible for parole. They can be appointed a Coordinator of Supports and NDIS may provide supports to transition into the community. For example, a core supports agency may accompany someone on leave as part of an approved transition plan.

The current NDIS operational guidelines states that the NDIA is permitted to prioritise the preparation of plans within six (6) weeks of being granted eligibility into the scheme for persons who are returning to the community from being released from prison or custody.

The NDIS will fund supports where the person is on bail or on a community treatment order (CTO) while on parole, which places obligations on the public health system to support the person to comply with a care and treatment plan for a set period of time and support the person’s recovery goals and aspirations in the community whilst managing any risks to the individual or the community.

Staff members in correctional facilities can assist correctional patients and inmates with disability with referrals to the NDIS. The State-wide Disability Services (SDS) addresses the additional support needs of offenders with disabilities. SDS is a multidisciplinary team that works with all offenders with a disability whether in custody or in the community.

More information about this can be found at this link.

NDIS participants can access NDIS ‘for life’. If a person had access to NDIS before going into custody, they can re-active their plans after discharge. If they have a strong relationship with their Coordinator of Supports, participants could have their phone number approved on their contact list and call them when appropriate.

12E.7.7: NDIS and forensic patients

A forensic patient is a person who has been charged for committing a crime but is found unfit to stand trial or the act was proven but they are not criminally responsible because of a mental health impairment and/or cognitive impairment. Access to the NDIS for forensic patients is an area which is improving as time progresses and the scheme becomes more established.

Forensic patients have the right to apply for the NDIS if they believe their psychosocial disability is significant and permanent, and they believe that the NDIS could alleviate their functional impairment/s. Forensic patients can apply for the NDIS and complete an Access Request Form with supporting evidence at any point in their stay in hospital with the assistance of hospital staff.

If your access request is successful and you are considered eligible, it is recommended that you include Support Coordination as part of your plan. A forensic patient may need to request specialist support coordination and find out if there is a complex support needs pathway in their area.

Using a NDIS package while a forensic patient is on conditional leave requires negotiation with the NDIS, and a patient will need to establish that a particular service for their disability support needs is necessary to support functioning when on leave.

If a forensic patient wants to discuss any aspect of the NDIS, they can ask to speak to the NDIS Transition Lead who may be a member of the nursing staff or a social worker at the service where they are currently detained.

Updated February 4, 2021