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27 May 2020

Getting NDIS support when you have MS.

More than 25,000 Australians live with multiple sclerosis or “MS” as it is commonly called. MS is a chronic disease that impacts the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

Here at Leap in! we are often asked whether the NDIS can support people with MS. The answer is yes, if you meet the relevant criteria.

This Saturday is World MS Day so today we’re exploring NDIS eligibility for people with MS and the types of supports that might be available.

MS, eligibility and the NDIS.

NDIS eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis rather than based on a specific diagnosis such as having MS.

First up, you’ll need to meet the basic eligibility criteria. If you’re able to tick those off and also answer “yes” to the below questions, you may be eligible for NDIS supports.

  • Do you need support from another person on a daily basis because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Do you need supports now to help reduce your future needs?

You’ll need to provide information about your disability as well as any existing supports you receive such as help from family members. For details, check out the NDIS website.

Impact of MS on daily life.

While multiple sclerosis is a permanent condition, the experience of MS is different for every individual.

For this reason, you will also need to provide evidence of your functional capacity which is all about how MS affects your daily life. This can include things like mobility, brain fog, fatigue, numbness, heat sensitivity and any other symptoms that may impact your ability to complete everyday activities.

More than 5,500 people with MS are already receiving NDIS supports, so even if you are living well with MS, the NDIS may be able to provide you with supports to help you achieve your goals.

How can the NDIS support someone with MS?

NDIS funded supports must be considered “reasonable and necessary” for your needs.  Supports and services that you may be able to access include:

  • Mobility aids such as walking sticks, walking frames and wheelchairs
  • Personal care to help with everyday tasks like dressing, showering and getting around
  • Assistance with jobs around the house
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Participation in community and social activities
  • Respite care
  • Other aids and equipment that support independence and daily living.

Managing needs that change over time.

Sometimes, your needs might change and you might require a different level of care or access to different supports. An NDIS Plan can last for 12 or 24 months however if your needs change or vary during that time, you can request a review of your plan. This provides you with the chance to change the supports and services you receive during an NDIS Plan Review meeting.

Mobility Allowance and the NDIS.

NDIS participants are unable to receive Mobility Allowance, which is a payment to help with travel costs for work, study or looking for work if you have a disability, illness or injury that means you can’t use public transport. However, this should be replaced by transport funding, depending on what is reasonable and necessary for you. It’s important to mention that you receive Mobility Allowance at your NDIS Plan meeting so that transport funding is considered in your NDIS Plan.

World MS Day – Building Connections.

World MS Day, on Saturday 30 May is all about building connections which is even more important with so many people still feeling socially isolated due to COVID-19.

From tai chi to yoga, there are many online events designed to bring people together and raise awareness about MS. For more information, visit MS Australia.

Leap in! can help.

If you or someone you care for has MS and you’re unsure about getting started with the NDIS, the Leap in! Crew can help. Give us a call on 1300 05 78 78 or chat to us online.

Further reading.

Mobility aids: Where do they sit under the Capital supports budget?

Personal care supports.

Occupational therapists: What they do and how they can help you.