What is NDIS?
NDIS is a national, lifelong scheme that aims to give people with permanent and substantial disabilities the individualised support they need to live an ordinary life – at home, at work and in their communities. The NDIS offers participants funds to pay for supports such as equipment, carers, transport and other services that help with everyday living. A participant’s plan will be tailored to their individual needs and goals.
For example, some people may need extra assistance at home or want to be involved in local sporting clubs. Others might require support coordination when planning social activities or learning new skills – an NDIS plan can cover all this. The overall aim of the scheme is to give individuals more choice and control over how they live their life by providing them with more say in the services they receive and more control over their financial support. It aims to provide an end-to-end service from assessing needs right through to funding for supports and services.
According to the latest census, about 4.3 million people in Australia live with a disability. The Australian government aims to provide $22 billion in support services and funding. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) hopes to reach an estimated 500,000 of the most vulnerable of this group within the year. This will be the first time for many Australians living with permanent and significant disabilities to receive much-needed support.
The NDIS seeks to provide more than funding. The scheme offers the information and connections that support people with disabilities who need to restore some comfort and amenity into their lives. This includes sporting clubs, educational resources, support groups, doctors and other health professionals. This ambitious scheme gives clear information on the available disability support every state and territory government provides.
What does NDIS mean?
The NDIS scheme is set under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) legal framework. It comes at a time when Australia needs to change the way its populace can access disability support.
In its delivery, the scheme recognises that such support is an inalienable right. The NDIS framework is set around the following key pillars:
On the national level: A progressive rollout of support and funding to carers in all states and territories on the national level.
Categories of disability: The scheme offers much-needed support to all eligible persons with physical, intellectual, sensory and psychological disabilities. It also aims to initiate early childhood intervention services to help children with developmental issues. Adults living with disabilities related to mental health conditions such as autism also qualify.
As an insurance cover: The main aim of the NDIS is to help families with children or adults with disabilities attain some peace of mind. It has far-reaching initiatives that cover both permanent and significant disability.
As a scheme: It’s worth noting that the NDIS is not a permanent part of Australia’s welfare system. It’s a plan that aims to provide the type of disability support that empowers you with the skills to improve your independence over time.
How Does NDIS Work?
The NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) is an independent statutory body that implements the NDIS.
The NDIS works with families, carers and Australians living with disabilities by:
It Empowers them through sensitisation drives aimed at helping them be confident members of society. It also offers service providers the transparency they require to expand their services and respond to pressing needs.
Offers referrals and information to help link various services and activities relevant to individual plans. It also caters to funding support for disabled people for a lifetime.
Fosters inclusivity through greater community services and awareness drives. It offers people with disabilities unfettered access to community activities, government programs and mainstream services.
What is the Purpose of the NDIS?
The NDIS offers wider choices in service providers, not only making it an open market. But also giving the Australians living with disability funded support to help them:
Attain their personal goals in life.
Eliminate gaps in community participation on both the social and economic level.
Enhance a person’s autonomy and independence.
To this end, there are various phases to entering the NDIS for participants. It starts with a planning meeting where you’ll meet a representative to initiate the planning process. This step will help you develop an individual plan to help you reach your goals and the funding you receive.
Who is Eligible for NDIS?
To gain access to funding and support for NDIS, people with disabilities need to match the following elegibility requirements :
A lifelong disability that hampers your amenity and ability to earn an income and have a social life.
A disability that significantly affects your ability to accomplish simple everyday tasks.
Require Support and Services
You may need help, products or assistive technology to help you reach your goals and have an active life in your community.
Match Early Intervention Needs
Early intervention initiatives seek to support adults or children in the early phases of disability. This can counter developmental delays and reduce the impact of their disabilities in the hope of improving their life skills for a more independent life.
Other determining factors include:
Participants must be under the age of 65 years to be included in the scheme.
You must be a permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
If you need the support of other persons due to permanent or significant disability.
If you need but do not have access to specialised equipment.
If you currently need help to reduce your reliance on your family.
New Zealand citizens with a Protected Special Category Visa can also apply.
It’s also vital for a participant to be residing within an NDIS area.
Visit the official NDIS website to find out more about how you can access this scheme.
What Is the Role of an NDIS Plan Manager?
An NDIS provider is an organisation or person that offers relevant products or services to qualified NDIS participants. Each NDIS participant has aspirations and plans towards achieving their goals. The NDIS services step in merely to provide the necessary funding.
The participant can then decide which provider to purchase products or supports from. You can visit www.ndis.gov.au/provider to learn more about this or to register as a provider.
What is the Role of Local Area Coordinators and Early Childhood Development Partners?
Local Area Coordinator (LAC) responsibilities include being the key point person within each local area for people with disabilities, their families, providers, advocates and other people interested in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Coordinators are also responsible for outreach to individuals, providers, local service coordination groups and others.
LACs work with existing service systems within their areas to help understand what services are currently available for people with disabilities and their families. Their primary role is not to provide direct services but rather to represent the voice of people who receive services or who may need assistance in gaining access to needed support under the NDIS.
LACs act as information brokers between potential participants/clients and agencies providing different types of support. They also serve as liaisons between these agencies themselves so that all parties can coordinate efforts effectively. Local community support areas under the umbrella of the NDIS are open to anyone aged seven and above. You can establish such links through any NDIS local area coordinators (LAC) and early childhood development partners in your state.
How Does a Local Area Coordinator Help You with Your Plan?
LACs are versed in all your community’s needs ranging from early childhood development to elderly care. They also understand the NDIS procedures and guidelines.
Such exposure allows them to help you with:
Understanding and unlocking NDIS benefits – access to tools and resources such as workshops or individual consultations on the NDIS.
If you need help with creating a plan, LAC can help you if you are eligible for an NDIS Support plan. You can sit down and have a conversation about your current circumstances, your goals in life, and the support you need to come up with a plan. Since your LAC cannot approve the plan, they can get it approved by someone from the NDIA.
The implementation phase – Your LAC can help you establish and start receiving services from the NDIS plan. You can also reach out to your LAC with any questions about your plan.
Reviews and adjustments – Your LAC will remain actively engaged over the next 12 months. They will assist you in making any necessary changes to your plan.
What are the NDIS Criteria for Determining Disability Support?
They start by consulting you and your family to determine the level of support you need. From there, you can develop a plan that is tailored to help you achieve all your goals.
This consultative process covers your life and how support and funding can help you reach your goals faster. It also looks at your existing support, particularly areas you can improve on to gain more independence.
Your provider can adjust your funding plan with time and as your needs change. The NDIS gives support and funding to the reasonable and necessary needs to help you attain your goals. Such support must be relevant to:
Have a high likelihood to effect change and be beneficial in the long term.
Exclude daily living costs irrelevant to the required disability services.
Factor in the level of informal support your receive from your family, carers and other community-based support networks.
Your support should also have a representative money value.
Enable you to participate in the community through volunteering or securing paid employment.
What Does NDIS Cover?
The NDIS funding seeks to help participants attain their goals and meet their daily needs. This scheme encompasses both reasonable and necessary support. Funding is set on the following criteria:
NDIS provides funds for functional support for daily living activities and better access to community-based activities and supports.
This funding gives you the ability to make one-off purchases of specialised equipment. It also covers special disability accommodation needs and access to relevant technologies or any modifications you need.
This type of funding gives participants access to capacity building skills and learning tools that can improve their access to employment opportunities. It also aims to coordinate all support with the explicit aim to improve the mental and physical health and wellbeing of participants.
What are the Benefits of the NDIS?
To better grasp the benefits of NDIS, it helps to look at what’s included and excluded from the funding scheme.
What Will NDIS Pay for?
NDIS funding and supports cover the following key areas:
Helping participants attain more independence through personal care, significant home or accommodation modifications and impacting relevant developmental skills.
The NDIS offers Psychomotor, physical and allied health support. This framework covers things like speech, occupational, psychological and other therapies needed by persons with disabilities.
Access to prosthetics or artificial limbs. It is worth noting that surgical interventions remain the responsibility of the commonwealth Medicare system.
Access to assistive equipment and aids such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, crutches, strollers, adjustable beds or any technologies relating to a participant’s disability.
Behavioural support and relevant therapy for people that need help with psychosocial disability.
The NDIS can also have interim arrangements to support non-acute care. So you can get urgent treatment and medication for injuries not at an acute phase under NDIS early intervention initiatives.
What Will NDIS Not Pay for?
As mentioned, the NDIS excludes funding and support to areas addressed under Commonwealth Medicare Schemes. This would be a duplication of roles. Here are some aspects NDIS funding excludes in their support mechanism:
Diagnosis: This covers physical and mental health conditions as well as disabilities.
Medication and specialist services: NDIS supports do not include general pharmaceuticals, dental care, surgery and rehabilitation or any assistance you can receive from hospital care.
Conventional psychotherapy care: Supports exclude any clinical care needed for mental issues that participants can cover under Medicare schemes.
Elderly care: The maximum age is 65 years, so the scheme excludes palliative assistance, psychogeriatric care and other geriatric-centric services.
Wounds that a nurse can treat: This includes treating sub or post-acute injuries/wounds and their rehabilitation.
Post-hospitalisation contingency planning: The NDIS takes no part in the preparation of patients as they return home or to work after hospitalisation.
Support for Audio-visual impairments: this includes conditions irrelevant to your disability, which includes things like medication, contact lenses or glasses.
What is the Difference between the NDIS Plan and Medicare?
NDIS supports are delivered under the hospice of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). This entity is the independent Commonwealth Government agency that oversees NDIS initiatives at the national level.
Therefore, the NDIS is not meant to cover funding supports appropriately provided for under the health system. Consequently, it can’t address gaps in Medicare. This funding is not claimable against Medicare and other commonwealth programs.
It lightens the burden on carers and families of people living with disabilities by helping such persons lead ordinary lives.
What is the Difference between the NDIS Comprehensive scheme and the NDIS-Access Program?
The NDIS comprehensive scheme doesn’t cover conventional psychotherapy care. For that, you can enrol into the NDIS Mental Health Access Project. This program collaborates to complement other services that people with mental illness use to gain access to the NDIS. It seeks to eliminate community biases and support patients as they engage in daily activities and interact with their community.
The NDIS-Access Program facilitates the following:
Helping participants or their carers gather evidence to aid in completing the minimum requirements of access request forms.
Acts as a liaison between private or public psychiatrists engaged in treatment initiatives.
Provide a contact person for all NDIS requests and queries.
Ensure timely submission of NDIS access requirement through proper collection and compilation of relevant evidence.
Give frequent updates and follow up on the status of NDIS applications.
Assistance and advocacy support in cases where you need to review NDIS decisions or understand the process.
Who Qualifies for NDIS-Access?
To qualify for this program, participants need to satisfy the following minimum requirements:
Currently reside within Australia and its territories.
Be between the 16 and 65 years old.
Have a confirmed diagnosis for a mental illness.
Have a severe or debilitating disability due to your mental health.
Reside within a listed NDIS catchment zone.
Is there a Link between the NDIS and the Disability Pension Support (DPS)?
The NDIS and DSP may both serve the interests of people with disabilities. But, they operate under different legal frameworks for various functions, and their assessment criteria are not the same.
Therefore, you cannot use your DSP application in any part of the application process for NDIS support. NDIS procedures and assistance drives are not means-tested. So, you need not worry as it will have zero bearing on your disability support pension.
What Happens to NDIS Participants When They Turn 65?
You could choose to stay with your NDIS cover if you received support before turning 65 years of age. This measure allows you to continue receiving the support that is in your plan. Participants can also elect to terminate their access at such an age as the aged care system will cater to their funding and support needs.
An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander can elect to switch at 50 years of age. It’s worth noting that you can’t revert to the NDIS once you change to the aged care system.
What Is the Role of the Carer and Family?
As a carer, your consent, experience and knowledge base is of importance. Family and carers provide much of the support that would otherwise be left to formal services or support workers on a payroll somewhere. The NDIS, therefore, engages them in all discussions when crafting a practical life plan.
How Long Are NDIS Plans?
Every NDIS plan comes up for review within 12 months. During this period, an NDIS representative assesses the milestones you have achieved. From there, you can review your plan as your funding will be increased or decreased.
You can also extend your current plan by another 12 months if it elapses before you start a new plan. This helps to eliminate any shortfalls in funding and support within the interim period.
What Is the Average NDIS Package Worth?
Your individual goals matter more than the funding. Past recipients of the Disability Support Register (DSR) may have grown accustomed to receiving capped amounts, but the NDIS takes a different approach. Participants get to build support plans based on reasonable and necessary services and support mechanisms.
NDIS packages are less about the dollars and more about the access to capacity building tools and support. The scheme aims to empower the participants to become active members of society. Your LAC and other community coordinators are with you, even if it takes a lifetime.
Is NDIS Available in Every State?
You can now access the NDIS in any Australian state and territory. This comes after the successful rollout in the last region, Western Australia, as of July 2020. Check out the following links to see how you can talk to an NDIS coordinator in your area:
The NDIS also has an inclusive framework that covers culturally appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, which has been successful. According to the current data, 16,417 indigenous participants enrolled in the plan by June 2019, representing 5.7% of national participation. This is a boon to Australia as the scheme aims to reach all citizens, including the most vulnerable.
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Do You Need Help With NDIS?
To get started with your NDIS plan, consult your doctor or call the National Disability Insurance Scheme at 1800 800 110. Alternatively, visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/.