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31 January 2023

What is an NDIS nominee and what do they do?

We get asked a lot of questions here at Leap in! HQ.

Our crew has loads of experience dealing with the challenges our Members face, including some unique NDIS terms which can be confusing.

This week, our Members and their families have been asking about NDIS nominees and what they do so we’ve prepared some helpful information about nominees.

The right to make decisions.

Before we delve into nominees, it’s important to recognise that a person with disability has the right to make decisions for themselves. This fundamental freedom and right is covered under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

Under Australian law, parents can make decisions for their children until they turn 18. When someone turns 18, they are considered an adult and legally allowed to make their own decisions. You’ll find more information about that in our Future Planning guide.

Under the NDIS, people with disability must be provided with access to any support necessary to help with decision making (called supported decision making). An NDIS Plan can include funding to help a person build capacity to make their own decisions.

But sometimes, more assistance is needed. That’s where nominees can help.

What is an NDIS nominee?

A nominee is a person appointed to act or make decisions on behalf of someone on the NDIS aged 18 or over. This is most often done at the request of the person with the NDIS Plan and should be someone they trust and know personally.

Before appointing a nominee, the NDIS will check that it is the participant’s decision and they haven’t been pressured to appoint a nominee.

In rare cases, the NDIA can appoint a nominee via a detailed process set out under the NDIS Act.

NDIS nominees have a duty to determine the participant’s wishes and make decisions in their best interests.

Nominees are a last resort and can only be used when someone cannot get help to make decisions themselves. The role is voluntary which means that nominees don’t get paid.[1]

The duties of nominees.

Nominees have duties to both the participant and the NDIS that we’ve summarised below.

Duties to the participant.

A nominee must:

  •   Find out what the participant would like to happen. If that’s not possible, they must work out what they think the person would like to happen.
  •   Act in a way that promotes their personal and social wellbeing.
  •   Talk with other people in the person’s life before making any NDIS decisions.
  •   Build the person’s capacity to make decisions, ideally to a point they can make them for themselves.
  •   Tell the NDIS about any conflicts of interest.

Duties to the NDIS.

A nominee must provide information the NDIS asks for within the required timeframe.

Types of NDIS nominees.

 There are two types of NDIS nominees:

  1. Correspondence nominee

A correspondence nominee can make decisions about a person’s business with the NDIS, such as asking for information or receiving letters and notices.

If the correspondence nominee writes to the NDIS, they treat it as if the participant has written the information.

A correspondence nominee cannot:

  •   Make decisions about preparing or changing an NDIS Plan
  •   Manage the funds in an NDIS Plan.
  1. Plan nominee

A plan nominee can undertake all activities relating to a person’s NDIS Plan, including the management of funds. They can make decisions about preparing or changing a plan, receiving funding and managing the person’s NDIS budget.

The NDIS can limit what plan nominees can do based on instructions from the participant and decisions the NDIS needs the nominee to make. You can have more than one plan nominee but only one can manage the funding in your plan

For more information about the process, check out How do you get a nominee?

Good to know.

  •    A nominee can be appointed for a set time or permanently
  •   The nominee must have a personal relationship with the participant
  •   A nominee cannot be under the age of 18
  •   After a nominee has been appointed, the NDIS creates a document outlining the details that are sent to both parties.

Leap in! can help.

 If you’d like help understanding the role of nominees or how Leap in! can help you make your NDIS funds go further, call us on 1300 05 78 78.

 First published 30 November 2018, updated 12 December 2022.

Further reading

Navigating the law when you or a family member has a disability

Future planning: decision-making

Managing your NDIS funds: What are the options?

 [1] NDIS Operational guideline, Appointing a nominee, 29 June 2022

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