NDIA using NDIS to break down barriers for people living with Disabilities.

What is the NDIA and NDIS and how does it work?

 

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency whose role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to promote a better life for people with significant and permanent disabilities (NDIS participants) and to provide support to their families and carers.

 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) under the oversight of the NDIA is the mechanism through which supports are given to people living with disabilities including their families/carers.  Moreover, NDIS provides individualised support packages to eligible participants.  It offers supports to eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. Early intervention supports can also be provided for eligible people with disabilities or children with developmental delays.

 

What is the purpose of the NDIS?

 

The aim of the NDIS is to support people living with permanent and significant disabilities to better participate in everyday activities. It does this by identifying what disability supports participants need to help them achieve their goals in life.

 

Who is eligible for the NDIS?

 

NDIS has specific requirements for eligibility:

 

  • Participant must be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or Protected Special Category visa.
  • have a permanent disability that significantly affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.
  • be aged less than 65 when they first enter the NDIS.

What does the NDIS pay for?

The NDIS is set up to help pay for support funding for individuals based on their needs.  This may include funding:

  • daily personal activities, transport, and mobility (such as wheelchairs),
  • access to work and education, household tasks, home and vehicle modifications and therapeutic support.
  • Speech pathology appointments and healthy meal delivery services.
  • Respite care for participants to help-out carers of individuals with disabilities.
  • Community Access/Out-of-Home care
  • School Holiday Activities
  • Development of Daily Living and Life Skills

 

NDIS “support budgets” that finance a person’s support plan.

  • The core supports budget, which include consumables such as continence aids, low-cost equipment to improve mobility (such as walking sticks), help with daily activities (such as household cleaning and yard maintenance), social and community participation and transport,
  • The capacity building budget, which includes helping participants achieve their goals in areas such as securing or keeping a job, health, exercise and diet advice, education (assessment and training to move from school to further education), relationships (advice to develop positive behaviours and interact with others) and living arrangements; and
  • The capital support budget, which is used to fund assistive technologies such as wheelchairs or vehicle modifications, and modifications to the home to support people with disabilities to become more independent.

How do you apply for NDIS funding?

  • The first step is to phone the NDIA on 1800 800 110, who run the scheme, and make an Access Request.
  • during the application process, you will be asked to provide evidence of your disability. This may include documents confirming your primary disability,
  • how this disability impacts different areas of your life, descriptions of past treatments and outcomes, and future treatment options and the expected outcomes of these.
  • this evidence can be completed by your treating health professional such as a GP, paediatrician, psychologist, or other health practitioner.
  • The evidence should also include your date of diagnosis, details about how long the disability will last, and the treatments that are available.

If your application is accepted, you will then be asked to attend a plan meeting, where your needs and goals will be discussed. After the meeting, the NDIA will then approve your plan.

How much NDIS funding can you get, and who manages it?

There is no set amount of funding under an NDIS plan.  Each plan has different requirements, goals and support needs.  Subsequently each plan will be specific to meet the needs of each participant, and this will ultimately determine the level of funding required.

How to manage an NDIS Plan

Agency-managed plans

These plans involve the NDIA overseeing the plan.  Under Agency-managed, NDIA will pay service providers on the participant’s behalf. The NDIA will manage the administrative duties and keep a record of participant’s spending in the NDIS participant portal.

Plan managed plans

Plan management is when a provider assists a participant to manage the funding of their NDIS plan; these providers are known as plan managers. Plan management is about having a third party communicate with service providers and pay invoices on the participant’s behalf. At the minimum, a plan manager is expected to receive and pay invoices, either directly from providers, or those passed on to them from the participant.

Self -managed NDIS Plans.

Under self-managed plans, participants are responsible for tasks such as buying the supports they require, making appointments, managing their funding, keeping invoices and receipts, and being able to show how they have used the funding when their plan is reviewed – usually once every 12 months.  Participants also need to advise the NDIA of changes to their circumstances as they occur and participate in any audits of the plan that may arise.

What assistance is not covered by the NDIS?

Some types of supports that are not covered by the NDIS include general living expenses such as rent, bills, food and entertainment, as well as direct school or study costs such as general fees or stationery/books required by students. The NDIS also doesn’t cover supports that are fully funded or partially covered by Medicare, such as visits to the GP, X-rays or blood tests. Generally, these items may be either bulk-billed or partially covered with Medicare.

While NDIS may fund dietary or exercise advice related to disabilities, they will not usually pay for gym memberships. Additionally, any home modifications claimed under the NDIS must be directly related to the needs brought on by the disability.

How does the NDIS affect Centrelink payments and other benefits?

Generally, transport-related supports may form part of the NDIS plan, so if individuals receiving a Centrelink mobility allowance get access to NDIS funded transport-related supports they may lose their Centrelink mobility allowances once the NDIS funding is approved. NDIS plans however, will not prohibit people’s eligibility to a ‘Health Care Card’ if they are eligible for one.

The funding received from NDIS is not considered taxable income, so it shouldn’t affect any disability support, income support or child support payments paid to or received from Centrelink.  For more information on how the NDIS may affect existing Centrelink payments or entitlements, contact the NDIA or Centrelink for more information.

Can you use NDIS funding on a holiday?

NDIS funding can also be accessible to participants whilst they are on a holiday.  This helps ensure holiday activities are more accessible.   The NDIS, however, does not usually pay for expenses such as flights, accommodation or entertainment that are incurred by travellers, only expenses directly related to the disability.