If you’re Australian and have a permanent and significant disability, you may be wondering what the NDIS means in dollar terms. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australian initiative to support people with disabilities, their families and carers.
The social project, deemed Australia’s biggest since Medicare, began in 2016. Since then it’s been progressively rolled out and due for completion in 2020.
But the biggest question many have is how much support is in it for them?
The NDIS is expected to be a $22 billion project.
To find out what funding you’ll get and how it’ll benefit you, it’s important to understand how the NDIS works. Here’s what you need to know.
How the NDIS Works
The NDIS is the first national approach to disability support.
Once fully rolled out, the project will support approximately 460,000 Australians.
Previously, funding was accessed through the Disability Support Register (DSR) or similar. If you used this you may be accustomed to receiving a set amount to access support with. But this system is no longer in use.
The NDIS employs individualised funding.
This process sees the personal needs and goals of each participant taken into account, so funding can be granted for reasonable and necessary support and services such as:
- Daily personal activities
- Therapeutic supports, including behaviour support
- Mobility equipment and/or vehicle modifications
- Help with household tasks
- Transport to enable participation in community, social, economic and daily life activities
- Home modifications, design and construction
- Training backing
These support types must relate to your disability and offer value for money to be considered. They must also be likely to work and be based on evidence.
As the NDIS rolls out, you can book a planning meeting to discuss an individualised plan.
Individual Needs and Goals vs Funding
The individualised plan is the main tool behind the NDIS.
It’s designed to build a program of services and activities to address the individual needs of people with disabilities.
Firstly, a planner will work with you and your family to identify your support needs, strengths and goals. It’s this framework that forms the basis of the NDIS plan and your funding package.
Through the NDIS and individualised planning, you’ll be able to:
- Create a written agreement that works for you
- Choose your supports and engage with potential providers
- Access the required supports/services needed to achieve your goals
- Build on natural supports such as friendships, neighbours and community groups
- Develop talents and skills to build opportunities
- Get individualised funding that fits your needs
- Have more choice and control over services
- Plan longer term goals
Once you have your NDIS plan in place you choose how funds are managed. Either;
- Self-manage your NDIS plan, which includes direct payments
- Use a plan manager through NDIS who can liaise with providers to arrange payments on your behalf
- Have the National Disability Insurance Agency manage funds
- Use a combination of these arrangements
Note: If your fund is managed by a registered provider, there may be NDIS cap rates to budget for.
Different Funding Rates
Funding packages under the NDIS will be different to previous schemes.
But participants shouldn’t compare direct dollars with the level of support received, as this won’t be an accurate reflection.
Now, funding budgets are allocated based on three types of support purposes:
- Core: Flexibility in budgets is offered to support complete activities of daily living
- Capital: An investment for assistive technologies, such as equipment, home or vehicle modifications
- Capacity building: Funding support to build skills and independence. Budgets are allocated at category level. More information here
The process works with set unit costs within a price guide. Meaning, service providers can’t charge extra for their services. Whilst your overall funding amount may be different, the support will be the same or more.
This ensures a flexible funding solution for people with disabilities that can be easily adjusted as your needs, expectations, situation or condition change.
Who’s Funding the NDIS?
The Federal Government provides over half of the NDIS funding and each state and territory contributes to the rest.
Taxpayers also chip away to help cover federal costs since the Medicare levy rise. Eventually, a lot of the money spent by the governments on disability services will go to the NDIS funding pool.
Who’s Eligible for the NDIS?
To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have a permanent and significant disability that reduces intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory, physical, psychological and social functioning
- Be 65 years and under when you first access the scheme or be a person who the NDIS believes would benefit from an early intervention, where getting support can reduce the impact of disability for your or your child
- Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen who holds a Protected Special Category Visa
- Live in an area where the NDIS is available; WA is the only state where it hasn’t been fully rolled out yet, which will be effective from July 2020
Here’s an eligibility test to confirm where you stand.
How You Can Prepare
The NDIS is a big change for everyone. Before it completely rolls out in your area, prepare yourself to make the most of your NDIS meeting.
Plan by considering:
- Your goals
- Your current support groups/networks
- Further support that could benefit you
- Other things you may need
- Who you want to support you at your NDIS planning meeting
- What questions you have about the NDIS or funding and support available; write these down so you don’t forget
The NDIS is a ground-breaking change to the way disability services are funded and delivered. For more information about living with a disability and how you can stay active in your community, follow our blog or contact our team today.