Defining goals for NDIS participants

A bit of a grey area for new National Disability Insurance Scheme participants and their carers is the definition of “goals” in NDIS plans. What defines a “goal” and do goals equate to funding levels? Let’s see …

It is important you, the participant, identify your goals because they are your personal desires about what you’d like to do. They can be big or small goals.

However, your goals are NOT directly linked to your NDIS funding which is solely aimed to provide you with the support you need for your disability.

This NDIS support may help you to increase your independence and pursue your goals. You can also be supported through informal support like family, friends, and by mainstream or other community services.

Setting a goal in your plan doesn’t mean the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) must give you funding to pursue it: Setting more and bigger goals doesn’t mean the Agency will give you more and bigger funded support.

Setting a goal about a detailed type or amount of support you might want doesn’t necessarily mean the NDIA has an obligation to fund that support or in that amount either.

The support of the NDIA funds should help you overcome any disability-specific barriers that may be stopping you from pursuing your goals.

They will consider whether your funded support enables you to pursue your goals and aspirations when they decide to approve your plan.

To help you understand and set goals, be sure to read the NDIS Planning Booklet where you can set out your goals before heading to a planning meeting.

Don’t forget, you can ask for help from your Local Area Co-ordinator (LAC) or service providers and plan managers.

Some of the key areas the NDIS WILL support you include: education, employment, social participation, building/ maintaining independence, living arrangements, and health and wellbeing.

What are goals?

Goals are things you want to pursue, things that will enrich your life. You might need support from the NDIS and other support and services to help you pursue them.

Your goals might include:

  • Building your skills and doing more things yourself.
  • Working or studying now or in the future.
  • Doing social and recreation activities now or in the future.
  • Building friendships or connecting with your family.

To help you identify your goals, ask yourself:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is the goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

Why are goals important?

Your goals are an important part of developing your plan.

They help the NDIA to get to know you and the things that are important in your life. The Agency will talk to you about your daily life, where you live and who you live with and ask you what you want to do in the future and who supports you.

Goals can also:

  • Help you think about what your strengths are and how you can use them.
  • Give you motivation to try different things and build your independence.
  • Be something to work towards where you can measure your progress.

How far you pursue your goals is up to you. You might want to try a small step. Or you might want to aim for big changes and work towards something really challenging. Both are okay.

You can get help from others to identify and prepare your goals.

But when the Agency records your goals in your plan they will be written in your own words. The NDIA can help you to choose the right words for your goals if you ask – For example, if your disability means you have difficulty describing your goals.

Remember, keep your goals realistic. They must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-related

Your goals can be big or they can be lots of smaller things you want to pursue.

Your NDIS support will help to meet your disability-related support needs.

You might also have goals you want to work towards that the Scheme can’t fund. This is because helping you pursue your goals is only one of the NDIS funding criteria, so not all support that help you pursue your goals will be reasonable and necessary.

If the NDIS don’t fund support for a goal, your informal, community or other government support might be able to help you work towards your goals.

You can still include a goal in your plan even if it is not related to your disability, or it’s something the Scheme won’t fund.

Once you have worked out what the steps might be to pursue each goal, the NDIS can talk about your support which includes support from mainstream, community and informal support.

They will talk to you about how you’re currently being supported by family, friends and in the community andl help you to identify how you could use the funding in your plan for disability supports that help you work towards some of your goals.

What are some examples of goals?

Here’s an example of a participant’s goal:


I’d like to find work that is part time and where I can use my computer skills.

How I will be supported:

I’ll ask Centrelink to work out my job capacity and eligibility to access a Disability Employment Service.

My Local Area Coordinator (LAC) will work with me to find a service that can help me build my skills in looking for a job.

I will use some of my “reasonable and necessary personal care support” in my NDIS plan to help me get better at taking care of myself, like showering, toileting and dressing.

I will use some of my “reasonable and necessary support” in my NDIS plan to help me get better at managing my feelings and behaviour.

My parents will support me at home to practice the skills I learn in managing my feelings and behaviour.

My parents will support me at home to practice the skills I learn in taking care of myself, like showering, toileting and dressing so I can do this independently.

In this example the personal care support received to help manage feelings and behaviours, and become independent with personal care will help the long term goal of finding a job.

In the following example, some support worker time is used to set and manage a budget to help pursue the long term goal of going on a holiday.


I want to go on holiday next year

Support that helps me pursue this goal: During this plan I’d like to learn how to manage my own money. This is so I can pay for things myself and save money to go on holiday with my friends.

How I will be supported

My mum gives me a weekly allowance, which will gradually increase over time.

I will use my support worker to help me with setting a budget, learning how to manage money and paying for the things I want.

This way I can be more independent in the community and not need so much support from my mum.

Don’t forget, help is always available if you are still struggling to set goals for your NDIS plan. Consult your LAC or an NDIS provider or even a friend who has been down the same path.

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