What is the NDIS and what does it mean for me and the person I care for?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to empower people with disability to work towards achievements, to identify the disability related support they need to meet their goals, and to choose where they would like to buy their supports.
The NDIS changes the way that disability services are delivered in Australia. It recognises that disability related support is an entitlement, and means the person you care for has a choice of service providers in an open market – it gives them more choice and control.
NDIS supports are funded to:
- help a person to reach their goals
- enable participation in the community (social and economic), and
- increase a person’s independence.
If the person you care for enters the NDIS, they will go through a planning process with a NDIS representative to develop their individual NDIS plan and determine the funding they will receive. As a carer, you may have a role in these processes.
Yooralla’s free guide to prepare for the NDIS can help you and the person you care for to understand and prepare for the NDIS planning process.
What does the NDIS mean for me as a carer?
As a carer of a person with disability, you may have a role in the NDIS eligibility, preparation and implementation processes; whether it be a support role or managing the process on behalf of the person you care for, if they are unable to do this themselves.
With a focus on support for individuals as well as care arrangements, carers may also benefit from the NDIS in many ways. The NDIS identifies and measures outcomes for families and carers as well as for people with disability.
Under the NDIS, people with disability may receive support to engage in their community and pursue their goals independently of their family or carers, providing a break for both the carers and the person with disability.
While people with disability have the opportunity to access the support they need for increased independence to pursue goals, carers and families will have greater independence too, and the chance to take a break.
What is a NDIS plan?
A person’s NDIS plan will be all about them. It will include details about their personal goals and needs, details about the supports they will be funded for, and how much funding they will receive for these supports.
When the NDIS comes to the area of the person you care for, they will have a planning meeting with a NDIS representative, so they can talk about what they need in their NDIS plan. You may be part of the planning conversation, whether as a support person, or leading this conversation if you need to speak and make decisions on behalf of the person you care for.
Whatever the extent of the support you are providing to the person you care for through their NDIS journey, it’s a good idea to begin to prepare for this discussion before the NDIS comes to the area of the person you care for. Yooralla’s free guide to prepare for the NDIS can help you to support the person you care for to get ready.
Once a NDIS plan is approved, it runs for 12 months, unless there is a significant change in the person’s life that requires a review of their supports earlier, for example, a change in your capacity to care for them.
What will the NDIS fund?
The NDIS will fund ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports needed to meet the needs and achieve the goals of the person you care for. Depending on the person’s goals, the funding in their plan may include the following:
- Core funding – funding that covers functional support needs for daily living and participation and to access community supports and activities.
- Capital funding – funding that covers the purchase of one-off items such as equipment, technology or modifications. It also includes funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation.
- Capacity funding – funding that supports skill building, training, learning, capacity building, accessing employment, improving health and wellbeing and support coordination.
A NDIS plan may include supports that help you in your role as carer, including:
- help with activities or aids and equipment to support the mobility and
independence of the person you care for
- short-term accommodation (i.e. respite) or activities in the community can give you a break.
- Support Coordination which can support you to implement the NDIS plan for the person you care for
What does ‘reasonable and necessary’ mean?
The NDIS will fund ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports needed to meet the needs and achieve the goals of a person with disability. Reasonable and necessary supports must:
- be identified in the NDIS plan as helping the person achieve their goals
- be related to the person’s disability
- help them take part in the community or to find paid work or volunteering work
- not include day-to-day living costs not related to their disability
- represent value for money
- be beneficial to the person and be proven to work (tried and tested), and
- take into account informal family, carer and community support that is available to the person, for example the support you provide them as their carer.
What will the NDIS not fund?
The NDIS will only fund reasonable and necessary supports needed to meet a person’s needs and achieve their goals.
The NDIS will not replace funding from mainstream services such as education, health, medication or other community services. For example, if the person you care for has a disability such as cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair to get around, this will be funded by the NDIS. However, if they also have asthma and use a ventolin puffer or nebulizer, this will be paid for by health services not the NDIS.
The NDIS does not fund everyday expenses such as rent, utilities, food or public transport (e.g. Myki).
What are the steps in getting an NDIS plan?
The supports the person you care for will get under NDIS will be determined through the planning process, and outlined in their NDIS plan. There are four main steps involved in getting an NDIS plan:
As a carer, what role will I have in the NDIS process, for the person I care for?
As a carer, you can support the person you care for to access, prepare for and implement their NDIS plan.
Ways you might support the person you care for in their NDIS journey might include:
- helping them through the eligibility and access process
- attending the planning meeting with them as their support person; to support them when they tell the planner what they get now, what they need and what their goals are
- supporting them to prepare relevant documentation, about what they have now and what they need, before their planning meeting
- taking them to attend a Yooralla pre-planning discussion, or taking them through Yooralla’s guide to prepare for the NDIS
- helping them understand Service Agreements, including the obligations of both parties, and what to look for in a service provider
- helping them through the review process if they’re not happy with their NDIS plan.
If the person you care for has limited or no capacity to make decisions or arrangements for the NDIS themselves, as their carer, you may need to speak and act on behalf of them. This might include:
- managing the eligibility process for them to access the NDIS
- attending, and speaking on their behalf at, their NDIS planning meeting
- taking the steps needed to implement their NDIS plan on their behalf – including managing all funds, supports and payments for the person or signing Service Agreements.
What happens if the person I care for is not capable of making their own decisions and/or arrangements for the NDIS?
For more information on nominees and guardians under the NDIS, visit the NDIS website.
If you want to know more about your rights and responsibilities as the decision maker for an adult with a disability you can contact the Office of the Public Advocate.