How can participants use the NDIS fund in Australia?  

ndis fund

Before we can talk about how participants can use the NDIS fund, we must first talk about What exactly is NDIS? 

What is NDIS ?

After a legislature passed in march of 2013. The National Disability Insurance Scheme replaced the previous Disability Services Funding Program. The NDIS began its services with a trial on July 1st of 2013 in Tasmania and South Australia. It is an insurance policy that provides lifetime support to funding individuals. It is managed and implemented by NDIA. The NDIS is not a welfare system, it only provides support to individuals so that their skill level and independence may grow gradually over time.  

Availability

The NDIS is available across Australia. Now it is available to eligible Australians regardless of where they live geographically. Click here to find more details about NDIS in your state. Please note that NDIS WA is a separate entity run by the WA government. 

 

NDIS Goals 

  1. To provide eligible Australians with significant and permanent disabilities with individual support.  
  1. To fund an estimate of 500,000 Australians under the age of 65 who are eligible.  
  1. To invest as early as possible in people eligible so they can get better outcomes in later life.  

NDIS allows individuals to : 

  1. Have full control over the choice of support. 
  1. Choose who supports them and when and How they get that support. 
  1. Have maximum independence. 

NDIA 

The National Disability Insurance Agency are responsible for managing and implementing the NDIS. They are responsible for assessing applications and deciding if individuals are eligible for funding under NDIS. The decisions are based on (NDIS ACT, 2013).  

 

IF You Live In WA. 

Please read this article by Bruce Bonyhady who was the inaugural chairman of the NDIA. He is also regarded as the father of NDIS. In his article, he writes how the NDIS West Australia is flawed and it is imposing unnecessary financial costs on all  West Australians.  The agreement reached with the Government of West Australia causes the West Australians to pay unnecessary taxes he says as the scheme was designed for all Australians and a separate bureaucracy only serves to raise taxes. He also states that this intergovernmental agreement was made without consultation with people with disability or their caretakers. In The WA version of NDIS, the service providers get paid six months in advance which leaves the people with disability without any control or choice.  He also goes on to say WA NDIS is no different from the past welfare model that had been operating for decades.  

More by: Bruce Bonyhady 

Here is the West Australian Auditor General’s Report on West Australia’s Transition to the NDIS.      Auditor General’s Report. 

Audit team:                    AUDITOR GENERAL- Caroline Spencer. 

Aloha Morrissey 

Issihaka Toure 

Ben Travia 

 

How to apply for NDIS? 

To apply for NDIS first you need to check your eligibility on its Website. 

Then you can either contact them at (1800-800-110) and make an Access request or alternatively you can Download the access request form.

When you make the Access Request you will be asked questions about your identity and eligibility. Some questions may be designed to determine the nature of your disability and its impact on your daily life. 

Once you submit all the required documents and information you will receive an ‘access decision’ letter and if found eligible you will be contacted to arrange a planning meeting where your supports and funding needs can be discussed. 

 

What can you use your NDIS fund for?  

Well, firstly let us talk about How you can use your budget. After the completion of all the processes, the money from the NDIS plan budget will be paid to your nominated bank within 48hrs. Now you can pay your provider by making a payment request once you receive support, pay using your money and get a receipt.  

In terms of using the fund. You can only use it on supports set out in your plan.  Your funding plan can either be Flexible or Fixed. Having a flexible plan allows you more freedom in terms of what supports you can buy with your funding. In a flexible plan, your supports are described generally allowing you to have greater freedom.  

However, if you are on a fixed plan then your supports are described specifically and you cannot buy any other support that is not stated.  

Here is an example of fixed and flexible plans and how it allows you to have more or less freedom in terms of support.  

Let’s say in the flexible plan you have an allocated budget of 5000$ for therapy.  

Now you can use this budget to fund occupational therapy for 3000$ and Physiotherapy for 2000$. You can clearly see the benefit of more freedom and a flexible plan.  

Now in a fixed plan, the same  5000$ will be specifically designated to either physiotherapy or occupational therapy and you will not have the ability to divide them into both as in the flexible plan. 

 

With all that said what will The NDIS fund?  

THE NDIS MAY FUND: 

The NDIS funds people that are eligible to receive the funding based on their individual needs. 

  1. Daily personal activities. 
  1. Transport to enable participants in socioeconomic and daily life activities. 
  1. Workplace help to get or maintain previously obtained employment in an open or supported labour market. 
  1. Therapeutic support and also behavioral support. 
  1. Help with household tasks to maintain the home environment. 
  1. Help by skilled personnel in equipment assessment, setup and training. 
  1. Home modification and construction. 
  1. Mobility equipment  
  1. Vehicle modification 

(List derived from NDIS official website 

 

NDIS will not fund:  

  1. The responsibility of another government system or community service. 
  1. Supports not related to a person’s disability or not included in the plan. 
  1. Day to Day living costs that are not related to support needs. Such as Rent, Utility payments and groceries. (NDIS will only fund equipment required for a person to be able to continue day to day living such as a specialized shopping trolley but will not fund the actual Groceries). 
  1. Anything that is likely to cause harm to the participant or pose a threat to others. 

 

 (List derived from NDIS official website ) 

During COVID: 

You can also use your NDIS funding for RAT(Rapid Antigen Test)  and ATC(Assestive technology ). However, you cannot make a purchase of more than 1500$. 

In some cases, you can get additional funding for your support for example. IF You have a plan in your funding for a gym program that You cannot access nor can it be provided to you remotely. A request can be made for you to either receive a personal trainer or rent Gym equipment for a short term. 

NDIS guidelines and decision-making process: 

To learn the updated guidelines and what is considered when making decisions and When decisions are made under NDIS please visit. NDIS guidelines 

The guidelines are based on NDIS legislation and they explain what is needed to consider and how decisions are based on legislation.  

For information in multiple languages visit. (service charter ).  

 

 

NDIS providers: 

NDIS providers are individuals or organizations that deliver support or service to the participants of NDIS. All NDIS providers are required to meet standards of practice and to follow the NDIS code of conduct. Once you have chosen the support and services you need you can then choose your provider. They can be an old friend you know or someone from your community or you can contact an organization. If you are going with some organization make sure you research them as much as you can before you officially select them as your Provider. To search service providers easily click here. 

 

NDIS shortcomings: 

According to the research article “Hard to Reach: The NDIS, disability, and socioeconomic disadvantage”.  

From a group of 32 individuals with a form of disability who are potentially eligible to apply for NDIS, only a small proportion of the sample successfully applied to the NDIS. 

The article reports: 

  • The experience of people who have tried to participate in Australia’s NDIS scheme.  
  • Only a few people in the sample were successful in the application process whilst others were either Unaware of any progress or had their application rejected. 
  • Many in the sample were rejected as a result of their complexity of disabilities, social exclusion or financial hardship.  

IF you want further details on the findings click here. 

However, it is a paid article.  

 

COVID 19: 

You can get your COVID  vaccination through your NDIS program at no additional cost.  Please note that the statement that NDIS is in any way forcing vaccinations upon its Participants is entirely false and the vaccination program remains entirely voluntary. The booster shots are also included in your NDIS support if you volunteer for vaccination.