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NDIS Worker Screening Checks: what you need to know

If you’re interested in switching careers to a disability job, you need to know that a major change is arriving – and it’s likely to affect you. 

Australia’s long-awaited national screening system for disability workers is here, meaning people with disability will be safer and better protected. And from August 1, 2021, it also means that anybody working in a risk assessed role within a disability service provider needs to have a valid National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) clearance or a current application in progress. 

Thanks to increased funding from the NDIS, the number of jobs available in the sector is expected to increase to 245,000 by 2023. 

This is causing new people to flood into the sector, attracted by the benefits of challenging and rewarding work, flexibility, and greater job security.

But which disability jobs need screening and how can you find out what rules apply in your state or territory?

If you’re keen to make a start working in the disability sector, here’s everything you need to know about getting screened:

How do I know if I need a check?

All new workers who will be working in a “risk assessed role” need an NDIS Clearance, including:

  • Employees
  • Volunteer workers
  • Board members
  • Workers hired via third parties, such as agencies
  • Sole traders (who qualify as both the provider and the worker for the NDIS Check).

So how do you know if the role you’re applying for is “risk assessed”? 

Risk assessed roles are generally those that have “more than incidental contact with people with disability”.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure: NDIS providers are responsible for identifying whether a role needs an NDIS check, so this should be included in the job ad. If in doubt, contact the employer to ask.

If you’re already working in the disability sector, have already been screened by your employer and have a Working With Children Check (WWCC) then you don’t need an NDIS Check until your existing check expires.

Can I apply for a check while I look for a job?

No – you can’t apply for an NDIS check until you’re already employed. This means if you’re new to the sector, your prospective employer will need to:

  1. Offer you the role subject to you receiving worker clearance
  2. In some cases, wait for your clearance to be approved before you can start work. 

While this may seem like a significant barrier, there is a skills shortage in the disability sector so employers are motivated to find good workers fast.

Should I apply myself or leave it to my employer?

Only you can apply for a check – your employer can’t do this on your behalf. And you must apply in the state or territory where you intend to work. 

The rules, processes and pricing are slightly different in each region, so you’ll need to check what applies in your state or territory:

































What do you need to start your application?

The application process is new and you may need some patience. Make sure you plan ahead and have a reasonable amount of time to complete your application. 

You’ll need:

  1. An NDIS employer or ID number from your new employer. If you don’t provide the correct employer number, your application can’t be processed.
  2. Identification. You can provide a variety of forms of identification. Check your state or territory requirements to make sure you have what you need. In some cases, you can apply for special provisions if you don’t have enough of the right forms of identification. This may be particularly relevant if you are from another country and don’t have Australian identification documents. 
  3. Payment. To submit your application online, you will need to pay with a credit or debit card but there are other payment options if you intend to submit your form in person. 
  4. A photo or smart phone with camera. Depending where and how you apply, you may be required to provide a photo, have a photo taken (if you apply in person), or use a smart phone with a camera to verify your identity. 
  5. To create an account. Each state has its own requirements but to apply online you will need to create (or log into) an account in the relevant portal. This will enable you to track the progress of your application and manage your clearance status ongoing. 

What information is collected?

The NDIS Check includes a check of your criminal history, disciplinary and misconduct record, and notifications and information from interstate screening agencies. You can request to withdraw consent from ongoing monitoring if you stop working in any NDIS risk assessed role and make a written request to have your NDIS clearance cancelled. 

How long does it take to get clearance?

The processing time varies enormously from a few days to four weeks or more. The main cause of delays is likely to be how complicated your police check is – for example, if you have the same name as another person in the system.

In some locations, you can work while your application is being processed. Your employer will need to do a risk assessment and if your role qualifies, you will be able to work under the supervision of a person with a valid NDIS worker screening clearance.

Am I automatically approved once clearance is provided?

No. Your NDIS check must be verified by your employer within 30 days. If your employer doesn’t verify your application, your application may be withdrawn.  

What if I fail the check?

You may be given an NDIS exclusion, meaning you can’t work in an NDIS risk assessed role and you can’t re-apply for an NDIS check for five years unless your circumstances change. Check your region for options to have an exclusion reviewed. 

Applying for an NDIS check may look complicated, but if you are organised and do your homework on requirements in your state or territory before you start, it should be reasonably straightforward. 

And if you’re ready to start applying for your dream job in the disability sector, check out some of the great disability jobs available on the site now!

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