Disability Support Services: how to access the NDIS
Whether it’s a recent injury or a new diagnosis, if you’ve recently started researching disability support services, you’ve probably found it quite overwhelming. Sometimes it's hard to know where to get the help you need for you or someone in your family.
Here we answer some key questions about disability support services and how to access the NDIS.
What is the NDIS?
The NDIS is an acronym for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It’s Australia’s first national scheme which provides funding directly to people with disabilities.
The NDIS isn’t welfare. It’s a scheme designed to help people get the support they need to improve their skills and increase their independence over time.
How do I access the NDIS?
Your first step is to work out if you or your family member are eligible.
To be eligible for NDIS funding, you must:
- be aged between 7 and 65
- have a permanent and significant disability
- be an Australian resident
- need reasonable and necessary support
You can check your eligibility here.
If you believe you’re eligible, the next step is to make an access request. To do this, you can call 1800 800 110 or you can complete and submit the Access Request form via email.
To access the NDIS, you will need to provide supporting information to confirm your age, residency and disability.
What happens if I’m eligible for the NDIS?
If you or your family member are eligible for the NDIS, you will receive an access decision letter. They will contact you to set up a planning meeting. This meeting may be in person or over the phone. The purpose of your meeting is to understand what disability support services you or your family member might need.
So they can understand more about you, they will ask you about your daily life, what support you currently have, what you think you need, what works well and what doesn’t. They will also ask you about your goals for the future.
During your meeting, your planner will talk to you about how you want to receive your NDIS plan. You can choose whether this plan is emailed or posted to you. It can also be available in a variety of accessible formats including Braille, electronic text (on CD), large print or audio (on CD) or translated into another language.
What is my NDIS plan?
When you receive your NDIS plan, it will include:
- Information about you, including where you live, who cares for you, your disability and your day-to-day activities
- The people who give you informal support, such as your family and friends
- Government services and community groups that are available to you, such as support groups, health centres, libraries and public transport
- Your short term and long-term goals
- What funding you have in each support category so you can access disability support services
What are the NDIS support categories?
Your funding will be broken down into three support categories - Core Supports budget, Capacity Building Supports budget and Capital Supports budget. How much you receive in each category will depend on your needs and goals.
Core supports helps you with everyday activities. Depending on your goals, you could use it for:
- Assistance with daily life including any help that will make you as independent as possible. This might include personal care, help with cleaning, cooking or meal delivery, help with yard maintenance, help when you’re out of the house or respite care.
- Consumables that you might need to help you with your disability, including continence products, shower stools, home enteral nutrition, low-cost assistive technology or translation services or apps.
- Assistance with social and community participation, such as a support worker to help you attend a class, camps or activities that can further develop your skills.
- Transport to work or places that will help you achieve your goals like school or TAFE.
Five Good friends are experts at providing these core supports to our Members. Our Helpers are here for when you need help around the house or getting out and about in the community. You can see more about our services here.
Your capacity building budget helps build your independence and skills. Depending on your goals, you could use it for:
- A support coordinator who can help you find providers and guide you in working with these providers.
- Funding for improved living arrangements to help you find an appropriate place to live.
- Budget that helps you develop the skills for increased social & community participation.
- Employment related help for finding and keeping a job.
- Support to help with improved relationships. This could include seeing a therapist to help you understand your own emotions.
- Support to help with improved health and wellbeing. This might include consulting with a nutritionist to learn how to make healthy meals or seeing a trainer to develop an exercise routine.
- A budget to help with improved learning. This might include study skills or support for TAFE or university.
- You can get funding to help you with improved life choices such as learning how to manage your money and your funding.
- You can access funding for improved daily living which can include training or therapy to increase your skills, independence or community participation.
The capital support budget is for higher cost items and modifications that can increase your independence and improve your life. Depending on your goals, you could use it for:
- Assistive technology such as mobility or communication devices, and wheelchairs or vehicle modifications.
- Home modifications such as installing handrails or ramps.
- Specialist Disability Accommodation for those who need special housing.
Five Good Friends is an approved NDIS provider of Core Supports. We can help you reduce the complexity of managing your day-to-day supports. Call us today on 1300 787 581.
Learn more: Do I need a support coordinator?