What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)?
The NDIS is a scheme, not a welfare system, that will provide eligible people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive or psychosocial disabilities with early intervention support. The scheme is being introduced progressively across all Australian states and territories. The NDIS gives Australians the peace of mind that if they, their child or loved one is born with or acquires a permanent and significant disability that they will get the support that they require.
When will the NDIS be in my area?
The NDIS will take some time to roll out across the state. It’s important that you know when the NDIS will roll out in your area so that you are prepared and ready to develop your plan.
What is the difference between the NDIS and the NDIA?
The NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) is the independent Commonwealth Government agency responsible for the implementation of the NDIS. The NDIA provides people seeking disability support with information, referrals, links to services and activities, individualised plan and funded supports. Essentially, the NDIA stands between the service providers and those seeking assistance.
“A NDIA planner or Local Area Coordinator will assess your needs and will be able to develop a budget and advice on types of services the budget can go towards, based on your needs. The Local Area Coordinator can also help you to connect to the range of other services in your area, according to your plan. You can then select the service providers to suit your needs.”
What is meant by ‘Individualised Funding’?
‘Individualised Funding’ is the term used by the NDIS to refer to the individual amount of funding that each person receives. The amount of funding is dependent on the goals of each individual which will be outlined in their NDIS plan. These goals include short-term and long-term goals which are decided by the individual and their carer.
What is ‘block funding’?
Block funding is in the process of being discontinued with the transition to NDIS. Block funding is funds that are provided by a Government agency that go directly to a provider of goods and services, not the person buying or using the services. This means that there is a limited range of services available. This model has been criticised for not always being able to meet the diverse requirements or needs of people living with disabilities. It is also argued however, “there may still be a role for some block funding where markets would otherwise not support key services. Specific areas where block funding may be required are: crisis care; rural areas; community capacity building, some individual capacity building; to support disadvantaged groups (such as indigenous Australians) and as a tool to promote innovation, experimentation and research.” (Australian Productivity Commission, 2011. p 471)
What is the NDS?
National Disability Services (NDS) is Australia’s peak body for non-government disability service organisations. The NDS represents around 1000 non-government service providers that operate across Australia and cater to people living with all kinds of disabilities.
What can the NDIS do for me?
Through the NDIS, individuals can create funding plans for up to two years. These plans will give individuals security by allowing them to access funding and to set their own goals and make their own decisions about how they will use their funding to achieve their goals. These goals could include accessing mainstream services such as health, housing and education, accessing community services such as sports clubs and libraries as well as maintaining informal supports such as family and friends. (Buckmaster, 2016)
“The NDIS Commission will ensure participants rights are upheld, that participants feel safe and receive quality services. They will make sure that providers and workers know and follow the rules for quality and safety. The NDIS Commission will also hear complaints about NDIS Services and supports. People with a disability, or any other person, are able to speak up and make a complaint to the NDIS Commission.”
What kinds of things does the NDIS fund?
Supports may be funded in areas such as education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements and health and wellbeing. They may include funding for:
- daily personal activities
- transport to enable participation in community, social, economic and daily life activities
- workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment in the open or supported labour market
- therapeutic supports including behaviour support
- help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home environment
- help by skilled personnel in arranging aids or equipment assessment, set up and training
- home modification design and construction
- mobility equipment and
- vehicle modifications.
How does the NDIS work? – A step by step guide
- The first step is to figure out if you or the person you are caring for is eligible for the NDIS.
Who is eligible for the NDIS – checklist. https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-i-eligible
- Make an Access Request by calling 1800 800 110. You will be asked:
- To confirm your identity and/or the person’s authority to act on your behalf
- Questions to see if you meet the NDIS access requirements (age, residence and disability)
- Questions about providing consent to enter the NDIS and about seeking information from third parties
- Creating, implementing and reviewing your plan
- Prepare for your planning meeting (complete Booklet 2 – Planning) and bring relevant reports or assessment. For assistance (https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/using-your-plan/who-can-help-start-your-plan)
- Attend a planning meeting to create (decide what goals/activities/tasks are going to be in your plan)
- Receiving your approved NDIS plan. The NDIA must approve your plan.
- Using your plan. Understand you budget. It is now up to you to choose what supports and services you feel you need to achieve your goals.
- 6 weeks before your plan ends the NDIS will contact you to review your plan
NDIS Service Models
- Full Agency
Navigating the NDIS can be difficult, time consuming and confusing. Fortunately there are a variety of services in WA that provide full agency services for people accessing NDIS funds. Services like At Home Care provide day to day management of funding, staffing, training, supervision and compliance with NDIS requirements.
- Self-Managing NDIS Plan
Self-management of NDIS planning allows for maximum control and flexibility for the individual. They would have direct control over the budget, support arrangements, support payments and can recruit and employ their own staff.
- Shared Management
Shared management means that individuals benefit from expert advice that will help them maximise their funding opportunities while maintaining their independence in decision making and flexibility. This option often gives individuals peace of mind knowing that their administration and payments are being handled by professional staff.
Which NDIS service model is best?
The model that an individual chooses to use depend entirely on their preferences and time restraints. It is worth noting however that full agency doesn’t mean that there is no choice. Often, like in the case of At Home Care, it includes an NDIS Funding Tracker device that keeps individuals informed on the hours and dollars they have used against the hours and dollars that are still available on their NDIS plan. This actually gives individuals more control which allows them to maximise the use of their funding.
- Australian Productivity Commission, 2011, Disability Care and Support, pg 471
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