While the NDIS aims to give you choice and control in your life, some people find it hard to speak up about what they need. Sometimes you may need help from a family member, friend or paid worker to support you with your NDIS access request, or to act on your behalf to promote, protect and defend your rights. They may be referred to as your ‘advocate’. An advocate, like a supporter, can participate in phone calls and meetings with you, or may speak, write or act on your behalf.
This person should:
It is important to understand that the NDIA do not provide advocacy support or representation for legal review of a decision. The NDIS Act (2013) does not allow this.
There are many external programs that provide advocacy support. Some state and territory programs are listed here: www.dss.gov.au
There is also the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) that can help you or tell you about local programs or peer supports.
An advocate can be a great support when trying to access the NDIS, however, not everyone has a support person who can advocate for them. The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) offers people living with a disability access to advocates who promote, protect and ensure equal enjoyment of human rights, specifically for people living with disabilities. The NDAP covers disability advocacy in six key areas:
Self-advocacy is where you have the confidence to act on your own to improve your quality of life. It is when you explain your own needs and make decisions about the supports you receive.
You can explore self-advocacy further in the following learning activity:Exploring self-advocacy for the NDIS and recovery
You may also find this checklist useful:
The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) can also help you to develop self-advocacy skills by:
Check out www.advokit.org.au, a website developed by Disability Advocacy Network Australia Limited (DANA), to support advocacy for people with disabilities in connection with the NDIS.
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Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC)