NDIS Funding Explained
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a lifeline for those who require their services. The funds they disburse to individuals mean they can pursue fuller participation in their lives, community and meaningful lifestyle activities. The NDIS is only available to Australians who live with a disability and can demonstrate their need for reasonable supports.
The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary services and supports that are intended to improve the lives of its participants. By evaluating the needs of an individual who lives with a disability, they work together with them to implement a plan for improving their well-being and allocate appropriate funds to do so.
Whether you’re interested in becoming a participant in the NDIS or you’re already a participant and looking to better understand how the funding works, there is a wealth of information available to make your life easier. Get started with this helpful primer on what funds the NDIS provides and how they can be used to make your life more accessible!
Types of Support Budgets from the NDIS
The NDIS is a government-run program that provides funding for people with disabilities to live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. For those that are eligible, the funding they provide is allocated to your personal budget and subdivided into three main categories of support.
Core Supports are services that people with disabilities can make use of on a day to day basis. This is the most flexible spending category and is further subdivided into four categories:
- Consumables – purchasing everyday use items such as sanitary products;
- Daily Activities – assisting with self-care activities such as hygiene;
- Assistance with Social and Community Participation – enable you to engage in social or recreational activities within or outside your home;
- Transport – getting around if you are unable to use public transport because of your disability.
While your personalised budget can provide for specific amounts in these categories, you can also spend any funds in your Core Supports budget on other categories as needed. The only real limitations for spending from this category include items that are specifically designated for a particular support, including compensation, Specialised Disability Accommodation, in kind government prepaid supports, or specific stated items. There will be further details on the restrictions and allowances in your NDIS plan.
Funding for Capacity Building is provided to help you achieve your personal goals. It is subdivided into eight categories that align with your goals, but unlike with core supports, the funding designated for each category must be spent on items or services within that category. Otherwise, you have the flexibility to choose how the funds are spent so long as they fall within the appropriate Capacity Building category. The eight categories include:
- Choice and Control – includes training in plan management and planning;
- Daily Activities – therapy in order to build your capacity to participate in activities;
- Employment – funds for employment-related assessments or counselling;
- Health and Well-being – advising on exercise that is required because of the impact of your disability;
- Home Living – funding support to secure appropriate accommodations or living arrangements;
- Lifelong Learning – assistance progressing from school to further educational opportunities;
- Relationships – behavioural support strategies to improve relationship and interaction skills;
- Social and Community Participation – this includes everything from individual life skills development, training including how to use public transport and support to do so, and developing skills for community, social, and recreational participation.
If necessary, Support Coordination is also included in the Capacity Building budget. This is a set amount for strengthening a participant’s abilities to coordinate and implement supports in their plan and participate more meaningfully in the community.
Your Capital Support budget is an important category for participants who require assistive devices due to their disability or require modifications to be made to their home or transportation to enable them improved access and participation in activities and daily functions. The actual cost of items in this category will depend on the prices quoted by vendors and any subsequent negotiations made for the equipment and installation.
The funds in this category can only be used for their designated purpose and may not be repurposed for other uses. These funds will fall under one of two categories:
- Assistive Technology – this includes equipment used for mobility, personal care, communication, and inclusion in recreational activities such as wheelchairs or vehicle modifications.
- Home Modifications – funds for installing permanent fixtures or apparatuses in your place of residence such as a wheelchair ramp or rail in the bathroom.
Getting Started with NDIS Funding
The NDIS can help you implement your personalised plan or they can provide contacts or funding for people who can help you start putting your funds to use. The professional support would have been discussed in the planning process, but can include a Local Area Coordinator, Early Childhood Partner, or Support Coordinator. Maple Community Services can make the necessary arrangements to ensure you get off on the right foot with your NDIS plan. If you’ve opted for a self-managed plan, you can even start spending your budget as soon as your plan is approved. More information is available on the NDIS website here.
How much funding does the NDIS give you?
The NDIS takes into consideration your disability, your access and participation limitations, and your personal needs and goals in making funding decisions. While there is no set amount that the NDIS provides, there are some useful factors to consider.
After you’ve had an assessment and planning meeting with the NDIS and your plan is approved, initial plans will usually last for 5 years, though your plan will be reviewed on an annual basis. On the whole, the NDIS provides funding for approximately 500,000 Australians with an expected annual funding of $22 billion divided amongst them.
How do I get the most funding from the NDIS?
Nearly everyone who participates in the NDIS wants to get the most out of the program in order to improve their quality of life and overall well-being. More funds mean the opportunity to fund more support services. The NDIS will fund reasonable and effective supports that enable you to pursue your personal goals. The best way to ensure you can maximise the funding available to you is to communicate your needs to the NDIS during your planning session or plan review. Some tips to ensure you do this effectively include:
- Emphasise your needs and goals first.
- Prepare for the planning process with documentation if necessary.
- Communicate how the supports you’d like funded will help you meet your goals
- Be patient and polite with NDIS staff.
- Focus on your need for independence, safety, and social inclusion.
- Don’t forget the costs of informal supports such as friends and family.
- If needed, communicate your need for transport assistance.
- Don’t accept an NDIS plan that you don’t feel will meet your needs.
- Manage your plan’s budget and spending.
Can I change my NDIS budget?
While the NDIS tries to ensure that your needs are properly funded during the planning process, there is always a possibility that your circumstances have changed or that some aspect of your needs was initially unaccounted for. Don’t fret if this is the case as you have options available to you to amend your plan. NDIS plans are subject to Plan Review on an annual basis, meaning you have anopportunity to provide feedback on how the supports you receive are or aren’t helping you meet your goals. An assessment from service providers you utilise can help by providing additional documentation. If you can’t or don’t want to wait until your annual plan review, you can request a plan review at any time from the NDIS so adjustments can be made. Maple Community Services can help you get the assessments you need and communicate your support needs to the NDIS when the time comes. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!