If you’re an NDIS participant or are applying to become one, you’ve probably encountered various terms such as support budget, choice and control, and NDIS plan management. But what do these terms actually mean?
Don’t worry, they’re simpler than you think. Find out everything you need to know about the NDIS and how it works in this quick guide.
- Understanding the NDIS
- How to apply
- Budget support types
- Plan management types
- Benefits of NDIS funding
- NDIS registered vs non-registered providers
- Benefits of NDIS registered providers
What is the NDIS?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a support provided by the Australian Government to its citizens who are born with or have gained permanent and significant disability. Launched in 2013, it was implemented by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), an independent statutory agency.
The NDIS takes a lifetime approach to providing support to its eligible participants, particularly those with disabilities that are lifelong and affect their day-to-day lives. Half a million Australians are currently receiving disability support via the NDIS, enabling them to have more choice and control over their lives.
The NDIS enables people with disabilities to access more resources and opportunities for personal, social, and professional growth. They may acquire greater independence, gain employment opportunities, access new experiences, and even get to spend more time with friends and family.
The NDIS also supports around 80,000 Australian children with developmental delays. It provides children with the immediate and right support services that they need, helping them enjoy the present more and have brighter futures.
If you are eligible to participate in the NDIS scheme, you are provided with funding for “reasonable” and “necessary” services. Reasonable includes the cost of services relative to the benefit received, while necessary ensures the services acquired will help improve quality of life.
Other considerations of “reasonable and necessary” services include:
- Value for money
- Benefit to the participant
- Effectivity of the service to help participants pursue life goals
- Enable facilitation of social and economic participation
Now that you know what the NDIS is, let’s look at how it works and who can benefit from it.
How do I know if I am eligible for NDIS funding?
If you’re unsure whether you or your loved ones are eligible to apply for the NDIS, here are a few factors you need to consider:
- Age: Participants aged between 7 and 64 need to contact a local coordinator. For participants below 7 years old, an early childhood partner will be present.
- Citizenship: The NDIS is a national system that serves Australian citizens, permanent residents, and Protected Special Category Visa holders. Participants who do not fall under these categories may explore other supports provided by the Australian Government.
- Location: The NDIS is limited to those living within Australia.
- Determine if a permanent impairment caused the disability: If so, the participant is eligible to apply. A permanent impairment doesn’t need to be physical — it can also be intellectual, neurological, sensory, cognitive, or psychosocial.
- Determine disability-specific support needs: Participants who need specific therapy or equipment requirements to fulfil their day-to-day activities are eligible for funding. These can be wheelchairs or other assistive technology.
- Determine early intervention requirements: For some participants, early intervention means needing less support in the future. Those who fall under this category are eligible to apply for the NDIS.
Where can I apply for the NDIS?
The NDIS is available to all eligible Australians, wherever you may be in the country. There are local community partners and organisations tasked to coordinate and deliver NDIS services. These partners are categorised as follows, with age being one of the main determining factors.
- Early Childhood Partners: These partners are for the parent or guardian of Australians with developmental delay or disability. They assist in helping adults understand their children’s needs better and gain access to necessary support and services. Adults are not required to be NDIS participants to request support for the child.
- Local Area Coordinator Partners: For Australians between the ages of 7 and 64, access to the NDIS can be done with the help of Local Area Coordinator partners. A list of the partners is available on the NDIS website.
What are the different types of NDIS support budgets?
NDIS funding depends on the unique situations of each participant, including their needs and their available support from family, loved ones, other government agencies, and community services. Below is a breakdown of the different NDIS support budgets available to participants:
- Core Support Budget: This budget covers daily consumables such as continence aids, daily activities that require assistance, social and community events that require assistance, and transport for those who cannot use public transport.
- Capacity Building Budget: This budget is further divided into 8 sub-categories in relation to the goals in mind of the participant. Its sub-categories are choice and control, daily activity, employment, health and well-being, home living, lifelong learning, and relationships.
Services such as support coordination, employment-related support, training, counselling, school leaver employment, exercise advice, positive behavioural strategies, public transportation training and support, as well as obtaining and retaining accommodation fall under the Capacity Building Budget.
- Capital Support Budget: This budget is about assistive technology and home renovations that participants can take advantage of to improve their quality of life. For assistive technology, this can be personal care, mobility, recreation, and communication needs. For home modifications, these include adding rails in the bathroom or installing a wheelchair ramp at home.
What are the different types of NDIS plan management?
There are 3 types of NDIS plans available. The plan you choose will depend on your current situation in different areas of your life, your life goals, and the type of support you need. All of these are important in designing a plan that best suits your needs – with the right people and at the right time.
Once these are identified, the NDIS will work with you to manage your plan. Below are the ways you can choose to combine the three:
- NDIA (Agency) Managed: Sometimes referred to as Agency-Managed, this form of plan management allows participants to choose from different NDIS registered providers. Non-registered NDIS providers are not eligible.
Once you have chosen a provider, the organisation will manage your funding. To monitor your NDIS budget and keep track of the claims, you can visit the myplace portal. The NDIA manages bookkeeping and spending records.
- Self-Managed: If you choose a self-managed plan, the NDIA will provide the funds directly, with full autonomy and flexibility on how you want to use it. This is also a great way to empower self-managers. To take the NDIA Self-Managed path, you must coordinate with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner. Some Self-Managed participants also connect with each other for support and to share recommended ways of managing plans.
- Plan-Managed: With Plan-Managed, the NDIA provides additional funding for a Plan Manager. Responsibilities of the Plan Manager include keeping track of funds, preparing financial reports, and paying providers.
How can I benefit from NDIS funding?
If you have NDIS funding, you can access different holistic support services to improve your overall quality of life. Some NDIS categories include:
- Reasonable and Necessary support related to living arrangements, health, wellness, employment, education, independence, and social participation. These must be directly related to the participant’s disability. This does not include daily expenses, such as groceries. It is also important that these initiatives are effective and beneficial to the participants.
Examples of support that fall under Reasonable and Necessary are funding for occupational and speech therapy, as well as behaviour support for participation in social, economic, and community activities. It also includes transportation for mobility, help with errands and household responsibilities, aids or equipment such as a wheelchair for more independence, and vehicle modifications to make them more adaptive to your needs.
Disability-related health support is related to dysphagia, nutrition, diabetes management, continence, wound and pressure care, podiatry, and epilepsy. Funding under this category can be used to hire a support worker as well as to purchase consumables such as catheter bags and pads. Assistive technology including pressure care cushions and a cough assist machine is also part of this support type.
Support in employment includes needs that are necessary for achieving your goals but are beyond what your employer offers and what is covered within the services offered by the Disability Employment Services (DES). Services under employment support are job customisation, on-the-job training and intermittent support, on-the-job assessment, and direct supervision or group-based support for a meaningful experience at work.
Through this support, you can widen your social networks, learn new skills, live more independently, and further enhance your quality of life. Employment is also a great path towards financial independence and stronger self-worth!
What is an NDIS registered provider?
On top of the partners mentioned above, the NDIA also works with NDIS registered providers to deliver support. Like Family is one of them! To be an approved NDIS registered provider, one must comply with all the NDIA requirements, such as qualifications and approvals in supporting participants. The NDIA also looks at the processes, experience, and capacity of an NDIS registered provider before working with them. Learn more about NDIS registered providers.
Non-registered vs. NDIS registered providers: What`s the difference?
Participants who opt for the NDIA (Agency) Managed Plan can avail of assistance only from NDIS registered providers. But how are they different from non-registered providers?
NDIS registered providers are approved by the NDIA to deliver support services to participants and manage their funds. One example of an NDIS registered provider in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane is Like Family.
On the other hand, non-registered providers have not been verified by the NDIA and have not received NDIA approval. This means that the NDIA cannot investigate a non-registered NDIS provider if issues or concerns about funds management arise. Some non-registered providers include small businesses managed by families or local operators.
Participants who are on a self-management plan can work with either NDIS registered or non-registered service providers. However, NDIA-managed participants can only seek support from registered providers.
What are the benefits of choosing an NDIS registered provider?
Choosing an NDIS registered provider can give you access to:
1. Reliable, vetted support workers you can trust
NDIS registered providers are committed to delivering a highly person-centred service, with a focus on delivering the best outcome for participants. This means only working with support workers who are vetted based on their experience, capacity, profile, and how they can best complement your needs. These support workers will typically undergo online training, an induction, and an NDIS Worker Check before they start working with participants.
2. A community that shares your interests
With a strong support system, you can feel more connected and integrated within your community, as well as the services available there. NDIS registered providers, such as Like Family, can connect you with other participants and support workers with similar interests such as cooking, baking, making music, spending time outdoors or going for hikes, and even attending concerts or knitting lessons.
And it’s not just similar interests—Like Family also has its own pool of experienced and dynamic Social Carers from diverse backgrounds, with a capacity to help participants in over 90 languages.
3. Support when you need it
Sometimes, your regular support worker won’t be available to support you. Luckily, larger NDIS registered providers have hundreds of local support workers to choose from. This may come in handy if you need to find a replacement quickly!
The NDIS is a national program for Australians, permanent residents, and protected special visa holders currently based in Australia. The scheme provides funding for people with disability. Through this scheme, participants and their families can enjoy a better quality of life, live with less financial and emotional concerns, and have access to holistic support.
If you decide to work with an NDIS registered provider like Like Family, you’ll benefit from reliable support workers, a supportive community, and the assurance that the NDIA can launch an investigation if issues about funds management arise.
About Like Family
We’ve been a proud NDIS registered provider since September 2016. This has allowed us to offer dedicated care and disability support to more Australians. We provide NDIS participants of all plan management types with companionship and non-medical support services.
Like Family, much like its name, considers all of its Members a family of their own—dedicated to helping them achieve their goals and end loneliness in the community. We help individuals who are ailing, ageing, and those with disability. Our companionship services are not just limited to daily tasks; they are also centred on building connections and creating friendships. This extends beyond the Social Carer and the Member, but also to the community.
To date, we’ve recorded over 50,000 hours of support and have an average 4.8 star rating on Google. We also have over 3,200 Social Carers (support workers) across New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.