There are far too many details to read and understand about coordination and support, whether you are an NDIS worker or participant. Although the NDIS provides information on the same, it may not be enough to capture all the intricate details. For instance, the roles of local area coordinators and support coordinators are clear, but it is still challenging to differentiate between those two.
As a result, we have carefully gathered most of the information in order to separate their roles and understand where they fit in an NDIS plan. Moreover, this article will help you understand what LACs are, what they do, and how they can assist you in making the most of the NDIS.
NDIS Local Area Coordinator: Who Are They?
An NDIS Local Area Coordinator is someone who works with people with disabilities in a specific area or community. They can be publicly or privately funded. An NDIS local area coordinator’s role is to assist people with disabilities in gaining access to NDIS coverage and other services in their communities. They collaborate with other professionals such as psychologists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists to provide assistance to the participants with whom they work.
LACs come from a variety of backgrounds and typically have qualifications in the disability sector, as well as lived experience or awareness of the impact of disability on individuals, families, carers, and the community, or a combination of the two.
LACs are employed by a wide range of organisations throughout Australia. Local Area Coordination or Early Childhood Early Intervention services are provided by a variety of organisations in each state and territory.
What does a Local Area Coordinator do?
Local Area Coordinators work with NDIS partner organisations to provide ongoing support to participants from age 7 and above. Community partner organisations, such as Auspire Care, collaborate with the NDIA to provide services to people with disabilities.
A LAC oversees the coordination of services for Australians with disabilities and performs five essential tasks:
- Assisting participants through workshops and conversations to comprehend and access the NDIS supports in their neighbourhood
- Working to develop and support an inclusive environment for all individuals with disabilities in their local community.
- Establishing connections between disabled people and community resources, including health, education, and transportation.
- Assisting some participants with the development, implementation, monitoring, and plan reviews of their strategy.
- Supporting participants’ informal networks of support, such as their families, friends, and neighbours.
A LAC will be your primary point of contact for NDIS participants, and you can enquire about different supports available even if you are not eligible for an NDIS support plan. It is important to note that they do not provide case management and cannot approve an NDIS plan because the NDIA does.
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What is the significance of NDIS LACs?
NDIS LACs play an important role in the NDIS system. They give people with disabilities the resources and support they need to access the services and support they need to live fulfilling lives. They also help to streamline the NDIS application process and can assist in resolving any issues that may arise.
The NDIS LACs also contribute to a more inclusive society in which people with disabilities can fully participate in their communities. They collaborate with individuals to develop a support plan that is tailored to their specific needs and goals, promoting independence and social inclusion.
What Is the Difference Between a Local Area Coordinator and a Support Coordinator?
The various terms used for people working under the NDIS can be confusing, and their responsibilities may even overlap. One of the main reasons for the confusion is not knowing the differences between the terms used in NDIS, for example, Local Area Coordinator and Support Coordinator. Both are there to help participants and get them what they need, but they do so in different ways.
If you live in an area where an NDIS partner organisation is available, then you will primarily work with a LAC, who will assist you with the general identification and implementation of available supports. If you live in a remote area without an NDIS partner, the NDIA will provide you with additional funds to work with a Support Coordinator.
A Support Coordinator also focuses on more complex plans, specialist supports, and NDIS plan management. Your LAC or Support Coordinator can also work with you to make changes to your plan during reviews, which typically occur 12 months after your plan is implemented.
What is the difference between an NDIA Planner and a LAC?
LACs work with participants 7 years of age and older to create, carry out, and support their plans in order to accomplish their goals. This includes showing participants how to use the myplace participant portal and assisting them in connecting with community, mainstream, and funded supports. LACs offer ongoing support and monitoring of participants’ plans.
Furthermore, LACs also work with people with disabilities, participants, and their families to build capacity and support them in achieving their goals by establishing new community networks and gaining access to community support and services. They collaborate with local organisations and communities, as well as other government services, to raise awareness and improve opportunities for people with disabilities to access and participate in community activities.
LACs meet with you to learn about your personal circumstances, the support you require in your daily life, and any goals or ambitions you may have. The information gathered during your planning meeting will be forwarded to the NDIA for incorporation into a plan.
A LAC assembles and submits your plan; they do not approve it. This is the NDIA’s responsibility.
LACs are not covered by the NDIA. Because the NDIA cannot attend every planning meeting, LACs share some of the load to ensure that people are not rushed through the system. Many people will have their first meeting with a LAC rather than an NDIA planner.
NDIA planners are directly employed by the NDIA and have the authority to approve participant plans. This implies that they make informed decisions about support in accordance with NDIS legislation.
How to set your goals?
Setting goals for yourself is essential in the NDIS process. Your goals determine how much help and funding you receive, and your LAC can help you identify and set these goals. You can include up to seven goals in your plan and will be asked to consider a number of short-term and medium- to long-term objectives to work towards.
What kinds of services can I get through the NDIS?
LACs are well-versed in the various types of support available through the NDIS. You can discuss any areas of difficulty with your LAC as well as your goals. For example, you may be looking for transportation assistance, personal care, or assistance in finding work. Your LAC can explain what types of assistance are available to you to help you achieve your goals.
What do I need to do to get ready for my NDIS plan?
When it comes to receiving NDIS support, there are several steps to take. Your LAC will assist you in preparing for an NDIS plan by explaining the process and what information you will need to collect for your planning meeting. They will assist you in gathering the necessary documents, setting personal goals, and completing the paperwork required to file the plan.
Can the LAC help me engage and participate in my community?
Your LAC works to make your community more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. If you want to participate in your community through recreation, sports, or social activities, for example, your LAC can tell you what options are nearby and how you can get involved.
What does “reasonable and necessary” mean?
When it comes to funding, the phrase “reasonable and necessary” appears frequently in NDIS information. Your LAC will be able to explain this to you and provide real-life examples that reflect your situation and disability needs so that you understand what your NDIS funding can cover.
What happens after I submit my plan?
You may be wondering what happens to all of your hard work once your plan has been filed, and your LAC will be able to tell you what happens next. They will give you an estimate of when you can expect to hear from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and will meet with you again once your plan has been approved to explain how you can spend your funding.
How long should I wait for my plan?
Your LAC will be able to give you an idea of when you can expect to receive your finalised NDIS plan.
How does the NDIA decide how much funding I get?
Between your planning meeting and the time you receive your NDIS plan, the NDIA considers how much funding you should receive. Your LAC can explain how they make this decision to you.
What should I do if I am unhappy with my plan and funding?
If you are dissatisfied with your NDIS plan, your LAC can advise you on the next steps and assist you along the way.
Can you assist me in filing an appeal or reviewing my plan?
Your initial NDIS plan, or a revised plan, may not adequately meet your needs. For example, you may be missing important support or believe you have not been provided with enough funding to meet your needs. Your LAC may be able to assist you in appealing your plan. Your LAC may also be able to assist you in identifying any “gaps” in your plan and incorporating these into a statement for the NDIA to consider.
How frequently will my plan be reviewed?
After receiving your plan, you can request a review or wait a certain amount of time for your NDIS plan to be reassessed. Your LAC will be able to tell you when this will be.
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How do I locate a service provider to provide NDIS support?
Finding a service provider to provide the support outlined in your NDIS plan can be a daunting task. As you navigate this minefield, you can seek advice from your LAC for helpful tips, advice, and recommendations.
To summarise, the role of an NDIS Local Area Co-ordinator is essential. They offer valuable assistance and support to people with disabilities, assisting them in navigating the NDIS system and obtaining the services they require to achieve their objectives. They play an important role in making society more inclusive and promoting the rights of people with disabilities.