Today, we’re sharing some frequently asked questions from the NDIS website to help you understand how to manage your plan and budget during the current COVID-19 situation.
Can I use my funding to pay a support worker to do tasks such as grocery shopping?
Yes, you can. If you have funding in your Assistance with daily living or Assistance with social and community participation Core budgets and someone helping you to do your grocery shopping is an essential support that you need, you can use your funding to pay a support worker to do this or other tasks such as visiting the pharmacy to get your medication.
If schools, ADEs (Australian Disability Enterprises) and Day Programs are shut, will I be able to redirect this funding for supports at home?
To ensure you get support you need, you are encouraged to use your Core supports budget flexibly.
The NDIA is currently working with other departments such as the Department of Social Services (DSS), NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NQSC), Services Australia and other health agencies to make sure participants receive the supports they need and remain safe.
Read our previous article on Core supports for a refresher.
Can I redirect my funds to family or friends to provide support that would normally be provided by support workers?
No. You can’t use your NDIS funding to pay a family member to provide you with support at this time.
If my provider can’t deliver services, how do I make sure I’m not getting charged?
You are encouraged to talk with your provider about why they are unable to deliver services. Providers will generally be looking to provide continuity of support to participants.
It may be possible to negotiate with your provider to make arrangements that will enable you to receive the essential support you need so you remain safe and have adequate supplies.
If you are concerned you have been charged for a service that is not aligned to an arrangement to which you have consented, firstly, speak to the provider directly or to your support coordinator if you have one.
You can also check your service agreement to see what cancellation (or other) clauses are included.
If I have a scheduled Plan Review meeting, will it still go ahead as planned?
If you are due for a scheduled Plan Review and have a current plan that meets your needs, you will be offered a renewal of your current plan budget for up to 24 months.
The length of your plan will depend on your needs and situation, however all participants will be able to get a new plan without having a face-to-face meeting.
You can also choose to do your Plan Review over the phone if you are concerned about your health.
If you would prefer to continue the planning conversation, rather than renew your current plan, you can do so over the phone, if you are concerned about your health.
Participants who want to extend current service bookings should ask their NDIS Planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC) if this is possible when they are discussing their situation.
Improvements to the myplace portal mean NDIS Plans no longer expire. The NDIA automatically extends the end date of plans by 28 days to remove any gap between new and old participant plans. This ensures continuation of service for participants during a Plan Review period and reduces claiming errors and manual rework for providers.
Has the NDIS stopped planning meetings?
The NDIA has not stopped planning or Plan Review meetings. Face-to-face meetings with NDIS participants and prospective participants are being reduced, to further protect both participants, members of public and staff from spreading or contracting coronavirus.
Telephone meetings are being offered to all participants as a safer way to continue service delivery and continue to provide participants choice and control over their funded services.
If the Department of Health advice is to stop face-to-face meetings, you will be advised. The NDIA is able to offer both scheduled Plan Reviews and first plan meetings in other ways like phone, video or email.
Can I change the way my plan is managed (eg. from agency to plan managed) temporarily so I have more flexibility with my funding?
Yes, you can. This will require a review of your plan, so you should contact your LAC or NDIA Planner.
Will I have more flexibility with the support categories I can claim from?
Your Core supports budget is the most flexible. In most cases, you can use your funding across any of the Core supports categories to ensure you can get the support you need during this time.
If the Department of Health advise against group activities, can I get more funding? Eg. If I normally pay for group support rates, can I get more money for 1 on 1 activities?
You are encouraged to purchase the essential supports that best meet your needs using your existing budget.
If you are concerned that you support needs have significantly changed and your plan budget is exhausted, please contact your support coordinator or the NDIA on 1800 800 110.
If I use less of my funding because services are cancelled, will that change the amount of funding I get in my next plan?
No. Each NDIS Plan you receive is based on your needs, not on the amount of funding you used in a particular period.
Can I use my Core supports funding to assist others who do not have enough to cover basic essentials?
No. Your Core supports funding is designed to support your disability-related needs.
Any NDIS participant who is concerned that their own support needs aren’t being met, should call their support coordinator or the NDIA on 1800 800 110.
What happens if my support worker can no longer attend to my needs?
Providers are expected to manage the delivery of supports to NDIS participants in line with their obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct and relevant NDIS Practice Standards.
If your support worker/carer is self-isolating, your provider will be in touch and organise a replacement worker/carer to attend to your needs.
It’s important that you discuss what your essential needs are with your provider/s, to ensure they are being met.
We are here to help.
Keep up to date with the latest information from the NDIA as it continues to change.