Last updated 25 February 2020
Review of a participant’s supports in their plan
Once a person is a participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), their support needs will be reviewed on a scheduled basis. Scheduled reviews occur prior to the end date specified on participants’ NDIS plans (which may run for a period of 12 to 36 months). As a result of a scheduled review, a new plan will be issued for the participant for a further defined period.
In recognition that a person’s needs may change prior to the date of a scheduled review, the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth) (NDIS Act) provides a mechanism for a person to request a review at any time (an unscheduled review) (s 48 NDIS Act).
A change in circumstances can include a change in a participant’s impairment (e.g. a deterioration of functional capacity), a change in their family or informal support network, or provision of an updated assessment recommending different care, support or assistive technology for the participant.
It is important for participants to let the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) know about important changes in their lives so their plans meet their current needs.
A participant seeking an unscheduled review will need to provide evidence that their circumstances have changed, and an earlier review of their plan is warranted (Burston v National Disability Insurance Agency  AATA 456).
Although unscheduled reviews provide an important review mechanism to participants whose circumstances have changed, including following the expiry of the three-month internal review time limit (see How to Appeal a National Disability Insurance Agency Decision below), it is a mechanism that should be accessed only when necessary. This is because in cases where a participant is dissatisfied with the NDIA’s response to their request for an unscheduled review, the participant will gain little practical benefit of pursuing the matter further in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) due to the limited jurisdiction of the AAT to review decisions of this nature.
For this reason, the mischaracterisation of requests for reviews as unscheduled reviews has been problematic and is considered in the case of LQTF and National Disability Insurance Agency  AATA 631 (2 April 2019).
Review of a participant’s goals
Section 47 of the NDIS Act provides that a participant can ask the NDIA to change the participant’s goals at any time and, in response to such a request, the NDIA must prepare a new plan including the changed version of the participants goals within seven days of receiving the request from the participant.