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09 April 2024

NDIS support categories explained.

You’ve got your NDIS Plan… great! Whether you’re new to the NDIS or have been receiving NDIS supports for some time, it’s a good idea to get to know the various NDIS support categories, especially with introduction of PACE and recent changes to the NDIS.

The funding in your NDIS Plan is divided into budgets which are sometimes called NDIS support categories or NDIS budget categories.

Depending on your individual needs, you may receive funding in one or more of these categories. Here we explore the funding categories so that you can confidently put your NDIS Plan into action.

It’s important to note that there are some differences in the categories depending on whether you’re on an original/legacy NDIS Plan or an NDIS PACE plan.

We’ll highlight the differences throughout this article.


NDIS support types.

The main NDIS funding categories, which are sometimes called support budgets or support types, are Core supports, Capital supports, Capacity Building supports and Recurring supports. Only people on PACE plans may have funds under Recurring supports.

Good to know:

  • Some support categories are flexible, which means you can spend the money from that category on any reasonable and necessary support that meets NDIS criteria
  • In some cases, you can only purchase specific supports that are stated in your plan
  • Some supports may require a quote or supporting documentation from a treating professional like a doctor or occupational therapist
  • NDIS funding can only be spent on reasonable and necessary disability-related supports. It can’t be spent on ordinary living expenses.


Core supports.

NDIS Core supports fund activities that help you in everyday life. Core supports are the main NDIS support category and most people on the NDIS will have Core supports in their NDIS Plan.

Examples of Core supports include help with self care activities such as showering, domestic activities such as cleaning, and consumable items like continence aids.

Types of Core supports:

  • Assistance with daily life: Includes making household decisions, personal care, cooking and cleaning.
  • Assistance with social, economic and community participation: Includes activities or courses that help you connect and socialise with others.
  • Consumables: Helps you cover everyday items and services.
  • Transport: Helps cover costs associated with specialised schooling or education programs, reaching a place of employment or participating in recreational or community activities
  • Home and living (for people on PACE plans only): There are a number of different types of home and living supports that the NDIS may fund. These can include supports to live independently, home modifications, short term accommodation (respite) and supports to improve living skills.
  • Young people in residential aged care (YPIRAC) (for people on PACE plans only): This refers to someone under the age of 65 who lives permanently in a residential aged care facility.

Your Core supports budget is the most flexible NDIS funding category and in some cases, you can use your funding across the support categories.

However, there are instances where you do not have flexibility in your funding. This means funding has been allocated for a specific support or service, and you can’t use it for something else. The following categories are not flexible:

  • Transport funding for people on the old NDIS Plan type
  • Home and living supports and YPIRAC supports for people on PACE plans.


Capital supports.

Capital supports fund more expensive assistive technology or one-off purchases such as specialist disability accommodation (SDA).

Capital supports are the least flexible NDIS budget category. Your budget for this support is restricted to specific items identified in your NDIS Plan.

Types of Capital supports:

  • Assistive technology: This is a term used to cover items and devices that can help you to become more independent and do things you may otherwise not be able to do because of your disability.
  • Assistive technology maintenance, repair and rental: For people on PACE plans only (people on original/legacy NDIS Plans can pay for these items with their Core supports budget). If your plan has funding for repairs, you can get repairs and maintenance done as necessary. You should always ask for a quote from the repairer so you know how much it may cost.
  • Home modifications: These are custom changes made to a home to make it easier and safer for you to access and use. NDIS home modifications can cover small or significant changes to the structure, layout or fittings of your home to meet your individual disability needs.
  • Specialised disability accommodation (SDA): A separate support category for people on PACE plans only. Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is a range of housing designed for people with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs.

Most items are “quotable”, which means that participants must negotiate a price with a provider and obtain a written quote before purchase.

The NDIS Assistive technology, home modifications and consumables code guide contains information about how participants can use Capital supports funding and the types of supports that may be considered reasonable and necessary.


Capacity Building supports.

NDIS Capacity Building funding is for activities that will support you to become more independent and learn new skills. The activities should be connected with your goals.

Examples may include living more independently, finding a job, or getting help to manage your NDIS Plan.

Types of Capacity Building supports:

Note: The PACE system has different names for some of these supports, which are included alongside the original names.

  • Support coordination (called “Support coordination and psychosocial recovery coach” under PACE): This support funding that can be included in your NDIS Plan to help you get the most from your budgets and supports. A support coordinator is a person who connects NDIS participants to organisations that provide supports and services including community, mainstream and government services.
  • Improved living arrangements: Support to help you find and maintain an appropriate place to live.
  • Assistance with social and community participation: For example, a support worker to assist you to participate in social and community activities.
  • Finding and keeping a job: This may include employment-related support, training and assessments that help you find and keep a job, such as the school leaver employment support.
  • Improved relationships (called “Relationships” under PACE): The aim of Improved relationships is to provide funds for specialised assessment and supports where a person has complex or unclear behavioural needs.
  • Improved health and wellbeing (called “Health and wellbeing” under PACE): Includes exercise or diet advice to manage the impact of your disability. The NDIS does not fund gym memberships.
  • Improved learning (called “Lifelong learning” under PACE): Can be used for assessment, training or therapy to help increase your skills, independence and community participation.
  • Improved life choices (called “Choice and control” under PACE): This is where you can find your plan management funding
  • Improved daily living: Can be used for assessment, training or therapy to help increase your skills, independence and community participation.
  • Behaviour support (for people on PACE plans only): Supports to help you develop behavioural management strategies to reduce behaviours of concern. This includes specialist behavioural intervention supports to help improve your quality of life.

Capacity Building funding can only be used to purchase approved supports that fall within the above list.

Top tip: The Improved life choices category is where the NDIS can add additional funding to your plan so you can work with a plan manager like Leap in!. If you would like extra support to manage your NDIS Plan, all you have to do is ask for plan management at your plan meeting, plan reassessment or anytime by contacting the NDIS. You’ll also need to tell the NDIS that you’d like to “endorse” Leap in! as your plan manager. There is no cost to you for plan management.


Recurring supports (for people on PACE plans only).

These are supports the NDIS pays to you directly on a regular basis. This means you don’t need to make a claim for these supports.

Currently, the only recurring category is Transport. This funding is for everyday transport needs.


Do you have a plan reassessment coming up?

It’s important to know that if you require Assistive technology repairs (which is a new category) and you are currently funding it out of Core, you will need to make sure you have that included in your new PACE plan as a separate item. You will no longer able to fund it out of Core.

To stay up to date on all PACE changes, check out our PACE page.


How Leap in! can help you make the most of your NDIS Plan.

Now you know all about the NDIS support categories, you’re probably wondering how to make the most of your NDIS Plan.

That’s where Leap in can help! Our experienced plan managers are here to answer your questions and provide support. And, did you know that Leap in! recently won the Most Outstanding Plan Management Award at the Australian Disability Services Awards?

Plus, our award-winning plan management app makes it easy to manage your NDIS funding in real time, keep your spending on track and know if you are under or overspending in any budget with in-app alerts.

Call us on 1300 05 78 78 or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.

Originally published 02 November 2018, updated 16 November 2021 and 9 April 2024.


Further reading.

Capacity building budgets: A closer look.

Core supports budget: A closer look.

Capital supports budget: A closer look.

Top 5 reasons why people don’t spend their NDIS budgets.

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