It seems that things are constantly changing at the moment. If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll be aware that there have been quite a few changes to how the NDIS works as a result of COVID-19.
The changes are designed to ensure that as many people as possible continue to get the supports they need during the pandemic.
There is understandably some uncertainty about how it all works. Today we’ll explore answers to some of the most common questions.
Can consumables funding be used to purchase masks or hand sanitiser?
No. The NDIA have recently revised their approach to this and advised that personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and hand sanitiser are considered a personal expense and therefore cannot be purchased from your NDIS budget.
The NDIA have also advised that providers (including sole traders) should provide PPE to their staff to ensure they remain safe at work.
If you have support workers coming to your home, talk to them about how you would like to protect yourself. Be sure they wash their hands regularly. Clean surfaces such as door knobs, taps and switches during and after their visit.
If your provider doesn’t current have these processes in place, talk to them about how they might accommodate it in their hourly rate.
I need more support coordination funding. What should I do?
If you need more hours of support coordination (after you have used all of your Capacity Building budget), the NDIA has added some short term Core budget line items to provide you with more flexibility. This is a short-term change designed to help more people through the COVID-19 pandemic and will be reviewed late June.
If both budgets are short of funds, call the NDIA on 1800 800 110 and select the special COVID-19 team to ask for help.
Can I have support coordination added to my plan to help me access service providers?
It’s best to contact your LAC or ECEI partner initially. If your LAC or ECEI partner cannot support you during this time, you may be able to use your Core funds flexibly to access support coordination.
Once you have agreed to receive support coordination services, you must have a service agreement and service booking in place before any service is delivered.
You cannot use your Capacity Building funds for this service if you do not already have support coordination in your plan.
Is my support coordinator able to increase their hours without approval?
No. You must agree to any changes. You’ll also need a new service agreement and service booking.
My service provider is providing supports through online consultations. Can I purchase a tablet with my NDIS funding?
If the device will help you maintain existing funded supports and the provider confirms in writing that the device is needed to continue those supports, you may be able to flexibly use your Core – Consumables budget to purchase low cost AT such as a tablet.
There are some conditions that you need to keep in mind:
- The purchase must be related to your disability
- You must not already own or have access to one
- It cannot have a mobile connection which means you will only be able to access the internet via wifi.
For more details, check out our story: Temporary flexibility for low cost AT.
Can another person support me in an NDIS Plan meeting or Plan Review meeting by phone?
Yes. The person can either be with you or in another location. If they are in another location, be sure to provide their name and phone number when you book the meeting.
For some tips, check out our previous story, NDIS Plan Meetings by phone: What you need.
Can I use my transport funds to visit family members during the COVID-19 pandemic?
You can continue to use transport funds for disability related services and supports. There is currently no additional flexibility in the use of transport funds because of COVID-19.
Before heading out, be sure to check the latest government advice on the Health Department website and the latest rules on outings and social distancing in your state.
Is there mental health support available for people struggling due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
It’s ok to speak up if coronavirus or the social distancing requirements are affecting your mental health. It can also be a tough time for family members or carers taking on extra responsibilities due to cancellations of regular programs.
The government’s COVID-19 and mental health web page contains some useful information and contacts. If you need help and it is not an emergency, speak to your doctor who can assess the help you need.
If you require urgent support, please contact:
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- SANE Australia 1800 187 263
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Australian Government Department of Health 24-hour coronavirus hotline 1800 020 080
- NDIS 1800 800 110.
What supports are affected by the 10% price increases?
The NDIA has increased some price limits for up to 6 months to make it easier for registered providers to supply services.
The 10% increase in price limits only applies to the following supports:
- Assistance with Daily Life (not including Supported Independent Living – SIL)
- Assistance with Social and Community Participation
- Improved Health and Wellbeing (not including personal training)
- Improved Daily Living Skills.
Providers and participants should discuss and agree on any new fees prior to service delivery.
Can I still be charged if my provider can’t deliver services?
It is important that your provider continues to deliver the services you need according to your service agreement. If your usual support worker is unavailable, your provider should arrange an alternative worker.
If you have been charged for a service that has not been received, or is different to your service agreement, it’s a good idea to speak with the provider first. You can also talk to your support coordinator.
If you still think you have been charged incorrectly, contact the NDIS fraud hotline on 1800 650 717 or email email@example.com.
We’re here to help you navigate change.
There is so much information about COVID-19 and the NDIS to get your head around. The Leap in! Crew stays up-to-date with the latest information so we can share what you need to know.
If you have any questions about how any of these changes apply to you, give us a call on 1300 05 78 78 use online chat available on our website.