Call Us:
1300 273 435

NDIS Glossary of Terms

The NDIS has a glossary of terms which is useful to refer to when navigating the NDIS system.

AEIOU has collated the terms relevant to our families below. For a complete list of shortened forms and glossary, go to

Approved plan – a participant's plan that includes the participant's statement of goals and aspirations and the supports required by the participant to attain their goals— informal, mainstream and NDIA-funded as approved by the CEO

Assistive technology (AT) – the full range of technological solutions that allow people with disability to be more independent, more connected, and provide opportunities for them to realise their potential as active members of their families, schools, workplaces and communities. Beyond the traditional aids and equipment used by people with disability, including home and vehicle modifications, prosthetics and hearing aids, it includes devices used by people without disabilities (for example, smartphones, tablets and apps) that are offering new ways to form connections and increase participation

Bilateral agreement – an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and jurisdictional governments regarding roles and responsibilities for the transition to full coverage of the NDIS

Bilateral agreement targets – the number, location and age of participants that enter the Scheme in each site is determined by legislative rules based on bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and each of the host jurisdictions

Carer – someone who provides personal care, support and assistance to a person with disability and who is not contracted as a paid or voluntary worker

Citizens' Jury – a mechanism of deliberative democracy that draws on some processes of a legal trial-by-jury and encourages people who do not usually have a voice to have a say on important issues

Co-design – a design process which empowers, encourages, and guides users to develop solutions for themselves

Committed support – funds included for reasonable and necessary supports for participants in approved plans

Community services – activities and services such as social, study, sporting or other interests, available from local non-government groups and government entities

Diversity groups – sociological categories in a demographic. Those of particular relevance to the NDIS in the Australian community include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, women, and people from non-English speaking backgrounds

Early intervention – providing support early in a child's life or post-onset of disability to reduce the effects of disability and to improve functional capacity

Efficient price – a price determined by the Agency as the maximum amount to be included for certain supports in a participant's plan. This price is built up from the cost of wages, on-costs and organisational overheads and includes a margin for profit or re-investment

Equivalence participation – the mechanism by which the Agency recognises that some people with disability who are participating in existing state and Commonwealth disability programs with eligibility criteria matching that of the NDIS therefore qualify for support under the NDIS

Evidence base – the evidentiary base for decision making by NDIA personnel, including whether a person meets the access criteria for funding for reasonable and necessary supports, as well as the factual information compiled by the Agency from its experience in trial sites, data collection and independent research

Full scheme – also known as 'full rollout', the dates by which the scheme will be available to potential participants, specifically, in the Australian Capital Territory by July 2016, in New South Wales and South Australia by July 2018, and in Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory by July 2019

Functional impact – a description of the nature and extent of a person's disability and how it affects the things they need to do and the way they do them

Funding envelope – the Agency funding envelope refers to the monies contributed by state and Commonwealth governments for the operational and participant costs of the NDIS

Information, linkages and capacity building – the term used by governments to describe the activities that will be supported by the NDIS to promote the social and economic inclusion of people with a disability including people not receiving individualised funded support from the NDIS (formally known as 'Tier 2'). The activities include providing information and making linkages and referral to community or mainstream services, building the capacity of people with a disability, families and carers, building community capacity, building mainstream service provider capacity, and local area coordination

Insurance approach – sharing the costs of disability services and supports across the community

Insurance culture – an organisational culture where staff, participants and stakeholders are cognisant of, and work is aligned to, insurance principles

Insurance principles – placing emphasis on making up-front investments that reduce participants' calls on the Scheme into the future, including investments in measuring lifetime costs, research and innovation, and community capability development

Operational plans – operational plans set out the key deliverables agreed between the Agency, state and territory governments and the Commonwealth Government to support the rollout of the full NDIS. Operational plans have been developed in partnership between the parties and serve as the overarching roadmap for transitioning to the NDIS as best achieved in each jurisdiction

Lived experience of disability – either personally living with disability or having a close relationship with a person with disability (for example, a family member or partner)

Longitudinal data – repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time

Mainstream services – government systems providing services to the Australian population, for example, health, mental health, education, justice, housing, child protection and employment services

Outcomes framework – the Agency's mechanism for measuring success for people with disability in areas like choice and control, social inclusion, education, employment, health and housing

Ordinary lives – lives that include positive relationships, a sense of belonging, autonomy, active involvement in decision-making, and opportunities for challenge and contribution

Package costs – the cost to the NDIS of providing funding and support to an individual participant

Participant – a person who is assessed as meeting the NDIS participation criteria under the Act

Participant outcomes – a way of measuring the aggregation of whether or not participants' goals are achieved combined with whether the Agency is meeting its objectives

Participant's plan – an approved plan consisting of a participant's statement of goals and aspirations and the reasonable and necessary supports approved by the CEO

People with disability – a person who experiences any or all of the following: impairments (abnormalities or changes in body function or structure); activity limitations (difficulties in carrying out usual age-appropriate activities); participation restrictions (problems an individual may experience engaging in community, social and family life)

Person-centred approach – places the person with disability at the centre of decision making in terms of their own care needs

Planning process – the process by which the Agency helps a participant to plan for the assistance they need from the NDIS to attain their goals

Planning workbooks – provided to participants to help them identify and record their needs, goals and current supports during the planning process

Psychosocial disability – the term used to describe the disability experience of people with impairments and participation restrictions related to mental health conditions. These impairments and participation restrictions include loss of or reduced ability to function, think clearly, experience full physical health and manage social and emotional aspects of their lives

Reasonable and necessary supports – the supports funded under the NDIS Act. The NDIA publishes operational guidelines to assist decisions on what is to be funded as a reasonable and necessary support

Reference packages – a benchmark amount of support determined according to different characteristics of the population of NDIS participants such as age, health condition and 'severity' of disability. Reference packages will be used to monitor experience against the benchmarks

Registered service provider – a disability support provider that has met the NDIS requirements for qualifications, approvals, experience and capacity for the approved supports and the quality standards of the jurisdiction in which they operate

Scheme start-up – all of the activities associated with getting the Agency up and running for the launch of the Scheme on 1 July 2013

Sector Development Fund – a grants program designed to assist the disability sector, including people with disability, their families and providers, to transition to the new arrangements for disability supports under the NDIS

Self-direction – where an intermediary assists with some aspects (often financial) of management of the support, but where the participant and their family make all the decisions about the what, when, where and who delivers the support

Self-management – where funding and supports are managed by the participant and their family

Significant experience of disability – persons who have had or currently have a family member with a disability, have cared for or currently care for a person with disability or have three years or more working with or for people with disability

Specialised group early childhood interventions - Group based specialist interventions to assist a child with disability or developmental delay and their family in home, care, community and education settings. Maximum group of 4.

Support package – the term used by the Agency to describe the funding available for the supports available to an individual participant

Supports – assistance that helps a participant to reach their goals, objectives and aspirations, and to undertake activities to enable their social and economic participation

Transdisiplinary early childhood intervention - A coordinated & integrated program where multiple professionals share responsibility in evaluating, planning & implementing supports to improve capacity of a child with disability or developmental delay & their family. Quote based on annual amount.

Trial phase – the first three years of the NDIS

Trial sites – the NDIA sites at which different operating models for providing services to people with disability are being trialled under the Scheme



We use ‘cookies’ to track our website performance and to give you the best user experience on our website. Cookies also ensure advertising is relevant to you. Click to continue, or for more information, look at our privacy policy.