How Asking for Home and Living Supports Under the NDIS Has Changed – And How We Can Help.

Recently, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) announced it was improving the process for requesting home and living supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

From June 9, these sorts of requests can now be made as part of your overall plan. The NDIA said it changed the process to make it more “timely and consistent”, while respecting everyone’s individual and often complex needs.

So, what does this mean for you? Let’s start at the beginning:

 

What are Home and Living Supports?

The NDIA says it may fund reasonable and necessary home and living supports such as:

  • Capacity building to help people to improve their living skills, their money and household management, social and communication skills, and behaviour management;
  • Capacity building support to help people develop skills to improve their independence;
  • Home modifications to a person’s home or a private rental property, or case-by-case basis in social housing;
  • Assistive technology to allow a person with a disability to remain independent;
  • Support for day-to-day tasks or personal care, such as help with showering and dressing, or around the home such as laundry and cleaning.

The NDIS may also contribute to the cost of accommodation where a person’s disability means they need specialised accommodation.

 

What has changed?

Anyone who needs to request a new support, or change their home and living supports, can now do so as part of their regular NDIS plan reviews.

The new Supporting Evidence Form – Home and Living can be submitted in one of three ways:

  • Within 100 days of a plan end date, so it can be considered during a scheduled plan review;
  • As part of a change of situation or change of details, along with the relevant change form; or
  • As a request for a decision review, with the relevant review request form.

The new Supporting Evidence Form – Home and Living replaces the old Home and Living Supports request form. If you have recently submitted a request using the previous form, don’t worry – it will still be processed the same way. Just use the new form next time.

The new form will also help participants choose the correct option for their needs. You will, as usual, need to include any other relevant information such as any assessments or recommendations from your treating professionals.

 

What does this mean for people with disability?

The NDIA said it had made the changes after speaking with people with a disability, their families and carers, and organisations and stakeholders in the disability sector.

The changes are designed to:

  • Speed up the process, to make sure that the people who need supports are getting them as soon as possible
  • Meet the NDIA Participant Service Guarantee time commitments
  • Simplify the process, but also ensure it is consistent – so that everyone can expect the same level of service.

In essence, what it means for you is: You should still be able to access all the same supports you need, but hopefully the process will be easier and more straightforward.

 

What if I have a plan review coming up?

If you are unsure about how to approach this – especially if you having a review pending – then get in touch with our team of experts at LiveBig. We can assess your needs and help you to work out incorporating the appropriate Home and Living Supports in your plan review.

What Do the NDIA’s Assistive Technology Approval Limit Changes Mean For You?

In March, the NDIA announced changes to the way assistive technology purchases are approved – in many cases making it easier for participants to get the equipment they need.

Key among the changes was an increase in the upper limit for automatic approval of assistive technology (AT) purchases, from $5,000 to $15,000.

In announcing the changes, Minister for the NDIS Senator Linda Reynolds said: “I have listened closely to participants and their representatives, and what they have told me is they want a Scheme which is more person-focused, with less red tape.”

For participants who have quotable AT less than $15,000 in their plans, the NDIA will now automatically approve the funding for these items so participants can access this AT faster. However, the usual checks and balances remain – such as providing evidence the AT is needed, and helpful.

The most common purchases in this price range include manual wheelchairs, specialty beds and bathroom chairs/stools. The changes mean that people who need these AT items can get them faster and more easily.

The changes are summarised in an updated guideline and factsheet, which explains what evidence participants need to provide and what to do before buying AT.

Let’s have a look at the main points:

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any equipment or device that helps you do things you can’t usually do because of your disability, or which helps you do things more safely.

Any assistive technology funded under the NDIS must meet the criteria of being reasonable and necessary.

Assistive technology ranges from simple products that can be purchased in retail stores and are easy to set up and use without professional advice, to more complex technologies that will likely require the help of an AT assessor to determine the right solution for your needs. These more complex technologies include things like powered wheelchairs.

What are the cost levels of AT?

  • Low cost – less than $1,500
  • Mid cost – $1,500 to $15,000
  • High cost – more than $15,000

What do the changes mean?

Quotes are no longer needed for mid cost AT items – however, you still need to provide evidence that it is the right AT for your needs. In most cases, that will require speaking with a qualified AT assessor –  such as an allied health practitioner, continence nurse, rehabilitation engineer, AT mentor or other qualified practitioner – and getting written confirmation the AT is right for you. You should do this BEFORE purchasing the AT.

How do I contact an AT assessor, or who should I speak to for more information?

The best person to speak to is your contact at LiveBig. LiveBig is a specialist allied health and assessment services provider for people with disability, including those on an NDIS plan. LiveBig’s team of experts include allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, exercise physiotherapists, speech therapists, counsellors, and assessors.

Were there any other changes?

The NDIA also created a new guideline and template on vehicle modifications and driving supports, which includes simpler and clearer information. These will help participants work with assessors to provide evidence for vehicle modification support requests over $15,000.

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