The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) welcomes the advent of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) as a rights-based approach that supports the independence and the social and economic participation of people with a permanent impairment or condition. The values of ‘choice and control’ that underpin the Scheme are consistent with the values and principles of self-determination and empowerment that have guided the social work profession for many decades.

The role of social work in the NDIS:
Professional social work skills and supports have historically been integral to disability services in both government and non-government organisations. Social workers have had a strong role in assessment, planning and case management across all types of disability and service provision. This is particularly because of our expertise in addressing both personal and systemic dimensions of support and intervention.
Social Workers focus on maintaining and enhancing quality of life in a range of settings to facilitate empowerment and assist people with disability, their families and communities. Our work includes all levels of management and program design, individual planning, counselling, coordination and case management, as well as policy development, research and advocacy.
The values, qualifications and skills of social workers constitute a precise match with the person-centred approach of the NDIS. Social work practice is across the life span, and this includes working with children, adults, families, carers, groups and communities. Most importantly, social workers work alongside people with disability to facilitate their empowerment (and that of their families) and achieve their needs, goals and aspirations.

Social workers are present throughout the entirety of the NDIS (see Figure 1) in varied roles, including planners, Local Area Coordinators, managers, supervisors and as registered providers.
Figure 1: Social work roles in the NDIS

Under the NDIS eligibility criteria, social workers can provide several specific supports, including:

• Therapeutic and counselling supports (individual and group)
• Early intervention supports for early childhood
• Behaviour support (assessment and development of support plans)
• Assistance in coordinating or managing life stages, transitions and supports
• Assistance to access and maintain employment or higher education
• Assistance with obtaining or retaining accommodation and tenancy
Participant booklets:

Three participant booklets are available to support people with disability and participants throughout their NDIS journey.
The first booklet in the series includes information about accessing the NDIS, including a useful eligibility checklist.
Booklet 1 – Understanding the NDIS
Booklet 1 covers:
  • Learning about the NDIS
  • Deciding whether to apply for the NDIS
  • Accessing the NDIS
Planning In Booklet 2: 

Understanding your current supports and preparing for your planning meeting 
  • To get ready for your meeting, think about your current supports and who provides them, and what supports and services you may need to achieve your goals. • Complete this booklet on your own or with someone’s help and bring it with you to your planning meeting. Consider any relevant reports or assessments you will need to bring with you as well. 
  • Attending a planning meeting to create your plan 
  • Learn about what will happen in your planning meeting, who you will meet with, and who you can bring along with you. 
Receiving your approved NDIS plan:
  • Learn how you will receive your NDIS plan, and what to do next. 
This booklet covers:
  1. Understanding your current supports 
  2. Creating an NDIS plan to achieve your goals 
  3. Receiving an approved NDIS plan
Booklet 2 - Planning 
BOOKLET 3: Using your NDIS plan:

Understanding what’s in your plan 
  1. Learn what the different parts of your NDIS plan mean, who can help you start using your plan and how your plan is managed. 
Learning how to use your plan 
  1. Learn how to start using your plan to achieve your goals. 
  2. Understand what you can spend your funding on, and how to find service providers. It will also tell you how you can access community and other government services outside the NDIS. 
Choosing and managing supports and services 
  1. Use this booklet to start choosing providers to deliver your supports and services. 
  2. Find out what to do if things aren’t working out or you want to try another provider. 
Reviewing your plan and progress 
  1. Use this booklet to help keep track of your goals. 
  2. Make notes about what is working in your NDIS plan and what might need to change when your plan is reviewed. 
  3. Towards the end of every plan you will need to get ready for your plan review. Start thinking about your goals, and how your plan is helping you to achieve them. You may need to think about the future goals you would like to achieve or community and other government services you may need if you no longer require support from the NDIS. 
BOOKLET 3 - Using your NDIS plan

You will receive the booklets you need during your NDIS journey, or you can access them on the NDIS website at