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NDIS Terminology A-Z: A Guide for Parents

25 May 2024

Navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be challenging, especially when you're trying to understand the various terms and acronyms used. This A-Z guide aims to demystify some of the common NDIS terminology for parents.

Table Of Contents


Access Request: An application process to become a participant in the NDIS.

Agency Managed Funding: When the NDIA manages the funding in a participant’s plan.

Assistive Technology: Any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.

Assessment: A process where a person’s needs and goals are identified to develop an appropriate plan of supports.


Behaviour Support Plan: A plan that outlines strategies to address challenging behaviours. It is developed in consultation with the participant and their support network.

Binding Nominee: A person appointed by the NDIA to make decisions on behalf of a participant.

Budgets: The allocated funds in a participant’s NDIS plan, divided into different support categories.


Capacity Building Supports: Supports that enable a participant to build their independence and skills.

Carer: A person who provides personal care, support and assistance to another individual who needs it because they have a disability.

Choice and Control: A principle of the NDIS, meaning participants have the right to make their own decisions about what is important to them.

Community Participation: Involvement in life situations and everyday activities in society.


Delegate: A person (such as a parent or carer) who is authorised by a participant to act on their behalf.

Developmental Delay: When a child does not reach their developmental milestones at the expected times.

Direct Payments: Payments made directly to a participant to manage their own supports.

Disability: A condition that restricts a person's mental, sensory or mobility functions.


Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI): An approach to supporting children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability.

Early Intervention Supports: Supports that are provided early to reduce the impacts of disability or developmental delay.

Eligibility: The requirements that need to be met in order to become an NDIS participant.

External Merits Review: A review of a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).


Formal Supports: Supports provided by professionals and paid for by the participant or through the NDIS.

Functional Capacity: A person’s ability to handle everyday tasks such as communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care and self-management.

Funded Supports: The supports that are paid for through a participant's NDIS plan.


Goal: The skill, independence, or social or community participation the participant wants to achieve.

Guardian: A person appointed by law who can make decisions for a person who is not able to do so for themselves.


Health Interface: The boundary between the health system and the NDIS, where responsibilities for supports and services are worked out.

Home Modifications: Changes to the structure, layout or fittings of a participant’s home so they can safely access it and move around comfortably.


Individualised Living Options (ILO): A way of organising the supports and services that suit the participant’s needs and life choices.

Informal Supports: The support provided by family, friends, social and community networks.

Insurance Principle: The approach of the NDIS to invest in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life.


Job Capacity Assessment: An assessment to help work out what type of employment services and help a person may need because of a disability or health condition.

Justice Interface: The boundary between the justice system and the NDIS, where responsibilities for supports and services are worked out.


Key Worker: A person who works with a participant and their family to help them get the services and supports they need.

Kinship Carers: Relatives or family friends who take on the care of a child or young person.


Lifetime Approach: The NDIS takes a lifetime approach to supporting participants, investing in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life.

Local Area Coordinator (LAC): A person employed by an NDIS partner to help participants, their families and carers access the NDIS.


Mainstream Services: Services that are designed for all Australians, such as health, education, transport, and housing services.


NDIS Plan: A written agreement worked out with the participant, stating their goals and the supports they will receive from the NDIS.

Nominee: A person who is appointed to act and make decisions for a participant who does not have capacity to do so.


Outcomes Framework: A set of measures used to assess the performance of the NDIS in improving the lives of people with disability.


Participant: A person who meets the NDIS access requirements and has an approved NDIS plan.

Participant Statement: A statement that includes a participant’s living arrangements, relationships, supports, description of day-to-day life, and future goals.

Plan Management: The financial management of the NDIS plan including making payments to providers, expense claims processing, developing monthly statements for participants and claiming for payment from NDIA.


Quality and Safeguards Commission: An independent agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services.


Reasonable and Necessary Supports: The supports that the NDIS will fund for participants. These supports must be related to a participant's disability and help them to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Registered Provider: Individuals or organisations that deliver a support or product to a participant of the NDIS.

Respite: A service that gives a carer a break by temporarily taking over their caring responsibilities.


Support Coordinator: A role funded by the NDIS to support the participant to make the most of their NDIS funds.

Supported Employment: Jobs for people with disability who need support to work.

Support Worker: A person who assists a participant to live their life and achieve their goals.


Therapeutic Supports: Supports that assist a participant to apply their functional skills to improve participation and independence in daily, practical activities. These supports can include behaviour support, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology and counselling.

Transport Supports: Supports to help a participant travel to work, social activities, and other places.


Unfunded Supports: These are supports that the participant requires but are not funded by the NDIS. They might be funded by other government services, or the participant might need to pay for them out of their own pocket.

Unique Identifier Number: A number given to each NDIS participant to identify them.

Unmet Needs: Needs that are not being met by the current supports and services a person is receiving.


Vision Impairment Supports: Supports to help a participant with vision impairment to live an independent life.

Voluntary Out-of-home Care: When a child or young person lives with someone other than their parent or guardian, with the parent’s consent.

Voluntary Supports: These are supports that are provided by volunteers or non-profit organisations. They can include things like community groups, clubs, and social activities.


Work Capacity Assessment: This is an assessment conducted by the NDIS to determine a participant's ability to work. It can help to identify what kind of supports the participant might need to find and maintain employment.

Workplace Modification Scheme: A scheme that funds modifications to the workplace for people with disability.

Written Agreement: A document that records the agreement between the participant and the NDIA about the management of the NDIS plan.


eXtraordinary Items: These are items or supports that go beyond what is considered 'ordinary' or 'reasonable and necessary'. They are generally not funded by the NDIS.


Yearly Review: This is a review that takes place every year to assess whether the supports in a participant's NDIS plan are still helping them to achieve their goals. The plan may be adjusted based on the outcome of the review.


Zero Rejection Principle: This is a principle of the NDIS that states that no person should be denied the support they need because of their type of disability, their age, where they live, or how they acquired their disability.

Remember, if you're ever unsure about a term or need further clarification, don't hesitate to reach out to your NDIS representative or a disability support worker. They're there to help you navigate the system and ensure your child gets the support they need.