The SALT Foundation

How to Use the NDIS to Get More Independence7 min read

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How to Use the NDIS to Get More Independence

What’s the goal of the NDIS? To help people with disability have the same things as everyone else. A job. Make friends. Pursue. hobbies and interests. Join community events.

The way the NDIS goes about this is by giving people with disability choice. You choose how to use your NDIS funding and which providers you choose to deliver supports.

Before the NDIS, the power was in the hands of service providers. They’d decide what you needed and how they were willing to serve you.

Here’s a definition of independent living for participants: get what you want the way you want to get it.

Take the power back into your hands.

Read more: Empowering Independence with the NDIS

15 Categories You Can Get Included In Your NDIS Plan

Let’s look at the funded supports you can get in your NDIS plan.

The first thing you need to know is there are three NDIS budget categories:

  • Core supports: Helps with everyday living.

  • Capacity building supports: Builds your independence.

  • Capital supports: Funds onetime purchases like assistive technology or living arrangements through specialist disability accommodation.

Of these, capacity building supports are most oriented towards empowering you.

Read more: How NDIS Capacity Building Supports Can Develop Your Independence

Within these budgets are a total of 15 support categories that state the things you can get support for. The categories are:

  1. Assistance with Daily Life.

  2. Transport.

  3. Consumables.

  4. Assistance with Social and Community Participation.

  5. Assistive Technology.

  6. Home modifications.

  7. Coordination of Supports.

  8. Improved Living Arrangements.

  9. Increased Social and Community Participation.

  10. Finding and Keeping a Job.

  11. Improved Relationships.

  12. Improved Health & Wellbeing.

  13. Improved Learning.

  14. Improved Life Choices.

  15. Improved Daily Living.

Let’s now explore each of these

1) Assistance with Daily Life

Support workers to help with tasks like housecleaning, grocery shopping, and personal care.

2) Transport

A support worker can drive you to places like appointments or to do your shopping.

3) Consumables

These are things you need every day, like continence pads. Remember, the NDIS won’t fund everyday living expenses, only those that are disability-specific.

4) Assistance with Community and Social Participation

Helps you take part in community activities.

5) Assistive Technology

Supports that help you get around, either on your own or with the help of someone else.

6) Home Modifications

Makes your home more accessible.

7) Coordination of Supports

Support coordination helps you organise and manage your support services.

8) Improved Living Arrangements

Help to find somewhere to live.

9) Increased Social and Community Participation

Develop the skills you need to get active in your community.

10) Finding and Keeping a Job

Get help to get work. This includes school leaver employment opportunities.

11) Improved Relationships

Lets you work with a psychologist to help you build stronger relationships.

12) Improved Health & Wellbeing

Advice about how you can get into your optimal physical state.

13) Improved Learning

Support to study with a longer-term view of gaining employment.

14) Improved Life Choices

Funds a registered plan manager who looks after paying for the services in your plan. An alternative is self-management.

15) Improved Daily Living

Build skills to become more independent and more active in the community.

7 Principles That Guide NDIS Funding Decisions

Every NDIS participant’s plan is unique to them.

What supports will you receive? How much funding will you get?

Your support needs are what the NDIA will consider in determining your funding. The National Disability Insurance Agency says there is no upper limit on the amount of funding you can receive. That’s if it’s reasonable and necessary and related to your disability.

The National Disability Insurance Agency uses principles which are like a compass guide them in what supports to fund
Principles are like a compass — they both guide you.

Seven principles guide the NDIA in choosing your funding:

  1. For everyone, now and into the future.

  2. Enabling you to pursue your goals.

  3. Uses evidence-based best practices.

  4. Favours early investments.

  5. Provides fair support accross the services who can help you.

  6. Offers fair support of your disability needs.

  7. Fair help from multiple programs.

Let’s look at each of these.

1) For Everyone, Now and Into the Future

NDIS participants and carers need to engage with life. In a way that is sustainable.

2) Enables You to Pursue Your Goals

You start your NDIS journey by identifying your goals and you continue it as you work to achieve them.

3) Uses Evidence-based Best Practices

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) wants your supports to be effective.

4) Favours Early Investments

Making a larger investment in someone upfront can mean less money needs to be spent later.

5) Provides Fair Support Across the Service Systems

Considers whether receiving the supports is the responsibility of another government agency.

6) Offers Fair Support of Your Disability

Makes sure you have a reasonable amount of support to take part in everyday life.

7) Fair Help from Multiple Programs

Doesn’t duplicate funding you’re receiving from other sources.

4 Helps for Starting Your NDIS Plan

You have four places to turn to get support around starting your plan:

  • Early Childhood Partners

  • Local Area Coordinators

  • Support Coordinators

  • Implementation Meeting

Here is how each of these launches you onto your NDIS journey.

1) Early Childhood Partners

If the plan is for someone under seven years old, you’ll work with an Early Childhood Partner.

2) Local Area Coordinators

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) can show you how to use the myplace portal. In the portal, you’ll find your NDIS information. LAC’s also help you find service providers.

3) Support Coordinators

Support coordinators help in two circumstances. Firstly, you don’t have Early Childhood Partners or LACs in your area. Secondly, you need more help to organise your supports.

Use of the NDIS Plan to Work Towards Your Goals

A support coordinator helps you to use your NDIS plan to make progress towards your goals. Making progress on your goals helps you become more independent. You get skills, and be included in the community, employment, and studies.

4) Implementation Meeting

You can arrange a meeting with your NDIS contact to talk about how to use your plan. This meeting can be arranged within 28 days of your plan’s approval.

how to prepare for your meeting

You’ll get more out of your meeting if you go in prepared. Here are some tips.

  • Decide if you want someone you trust to come with you.

  • Make a list of questions you want answered:

  • How do I use the myplace portal?

  • What are the plan budget and rules?

  • What can I and can’t I buy with my funds?

  • What supports can I get through the NDIS and what do I get from mainstream and community services?

  • How do I find service providers?

  • What are service agreements and how do I go about service bookings?

  • Is there anything else I need to know that would be helpful in understanding the NDIS?

No matter which of the four options you choose to get started, make sure you get your questions answered.

Your goal is to make sure you’ve got your head wrapped around understanding the NDIS.

Conclusion: Progress Towards Your Goals for Independence

In a broad sense, the goal of everyone on the NDIS is the same. That goal is to have what everyone else has. But your specific goals are unique to you and what’s important to you.

Here are three takeaways from this article:

  • The NDIS funds support needs in 15 categories — which can best help you reach your goals?

  • The National Disability insurance agency uses seven principles when making funding decisions.

  • At the start of your NDIS journey, you have four ways to get help.

Let’s throw it over to you.

NDIS participants and carers, how has the NDIS helped you become more independent?

And if you’re not yet on the NDIS, what goals would you like to work on?

Please comment and share this article on your socials.