What the Latest NDIS Report Means For You

The NDIS recently celebrated its 9th birthday by welcoming almost 20,000 new participants in the quarter ending 30 June 2022. The latest National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) quarterly report shows 534,655 people in Australia are receiving individual funding packages for disability-related supports.

That has grown from just 29,719 participants in 2015-2016, after three years of a trial NDIS.

National Disability Insurance Agency acting CEO Dr Lisa Studdert said the scheme has reached a significant milestone. The data demonstrates the NDIA’s progress in working with participants, their support networks, and the disability sector to overcome challenges and support participants across all aspects of their NDIS experience, she said.

“I’m pleased today’s NDIS Quarterly Report shows the NDIS is supporting 534,655 participants,” Dr Studdert said in releasing the quarterly review on 1 August.

“It highlights the important work the NDIA is doing to continuously improve the experience for participants.”

Over the past five years, payments for supports have grown from $2,238 million to $28,661 million. More importantly for individuals, on average payments per participant also increased from $32,300 in 2016-2017 to $55,200 – which is good news for anyone on an NDIS plan.

What’s new?

The report revealed of 19,291 new participants who joined the NDIS in the last quarter of financial year 2021-2022:

  • 44% (8,419) were children, taking the total of NDIS participants younger than 7 to 82,863;
  • 1%, or 1,762 new participants, identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people for a total of 38,846 participants; and
  • 3% (1,792) identified as being from a culturally and linguistically diverse community, taking that total to 49,201 participants.

The report shows participant outcomes have continued to improve under the scheme. More children are now able to enjoy  support for friendships, including at school, while older children report feel a greater sense of choice and control in their lives.

More people with a disability aged 15 and older are also becoming increasingly involved in community activities, learning new things, and becoming a part of their local communities. They also report improved access to health services.

 

Coping with COVID

One of the key elements singled out in the report was the NDIA’s continued work to support the disability sector deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As well as helping facilitate vaccinations and rapid antigen tests, the NDIA supported additional measures to ensure providers could continue to maintain services amid staff disruptions caused by the illness and the need to isolate.

 

Weathering the storm

The report also details how the NDIA helped ensure essential care could continue in the middle of devastating floods in NSW and Queensland.

“The NDIA and partners worked alongside disability support organisations and support workers to provide essential care to participants affected by floods,” Dr Studdert said.

 

Working together

A recent amendment to the NDIS Act enshrined a commitment that “people with a disability are central to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and should be included in a co-design capacity”.

In the June quarter, the NDIA said its Co-design Advisory group continued to meet and provide advice. “The NDIA remains committed to working closely with participants, their families and carers to co-design improvements to the NDIS,” Dr Studdert said. 

 

Other changes

On 1 July 2022, several changes also came into effect including:

  • Updated terminology, including replacing “plan review” with “plan reassessment” to avoid confusion;
  • Introducing plan variations to make it easier and faster for participants to have their plan adjusted in specific situations;
  • Adding protections for participants who want to use a plan manager; and
  • Price limits for supports delivered by disability support workers increased by 9%.

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 NDIS Supports And Services Funding Are You Eligible For?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides funding to people with disability to pay for the supports and services they need to live their best lives and enjoy the same opportunities as other people.

People with a disability want the same things as everyone – to have somewhere to live, to work, to socialise with friends and family and to enjoy hobbies and other activities.

The aim of the NDIS is to give people with a disability as much independence and control over their plan as possible. Which is great but can be confusing as the NDIS can be quite complex. Let’s break it down:

The supports and services funded under the NDIS fall into three main categories:

  • Core support – this is something that helps a participant with their daily living activities, transport, consumables and social and community participation
  • Capital support – this is investment in things such as assistive technologies, home and car modifications, or funding for specialised disability accommodation where needed
  • Capacity building support – this is something that helps a participant increase their independence and skills and covers a range of areas from education and training and help finding a job, to improving health and wellbeing through exercise or physical activities, or even improving your social skills.

What can be funded as a Core support?

Core support funding covers assistance with daily living, transport, consumables and assistance with social, community and workplace participation.

So, it covers such things as support workers to help a person with a disability cook, clean or care for themselves at home, or pay for respite accommodation or long-term supported accommodation. It can also cover taxis or specialised transport services, language support (such as translators or Auslan training), nutritional supplements, health aids, some modified household items and even wheelchair puncture kits.

What about Capital supports?

Capital support includes assistive technology such as smart devices or wheelchairs, and significant home modifications such as ramps or stair climbers, bathroom or kitchen modifications, grab rails and the like.

What can I get under Capacity Building?

Capacity building includes support coordination, improved living arrangements, increased social participation, finding and keeping a job, improved relationships, improved health and wellbeing, improved learning, improved life choices, improved daily living. It can cover things such as someone to help you coordinate all your supports, or packages to help you live in the right home for you – whether that be a group home or individual accommodation support.

It can also fund vacation and out of school hours care, group fitness, work skills training and employment support, behaviour management skills, exercise and therapies to improve your mobility and independence, and training or support to manage your finances, or develop better independent life skills.

How can we help?

LiveBig and AimBig Employment offer a wide range of supports and services that are fully fundable under the NDIS.

LiveBig’s services include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, exercise physiology, speech pathology, behaviour support, finding and keeping a job, counselling, innovative programs and assessments.

AimBig Employment works with both people with a disability and employers to provide training and support to help people find meaningful work, and be supported in the workplace.

What is NOT covered?

The NDIS will NOT fund supports that are:

  • not related to a person’s disability
  • already supported through other funding
  • likely to cause harm to the person with a disability or others
  • better funded through another system such as health or education

If you have any questions or need help, reach out to our experienced team at LiveBig.

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