The National Disability Insurance Scheme is big news for those with disabilities and those who care for them. But what exactly is it, and how will it affect you? We take a look and break it down for you.
The NDIS is a new national scheme that provides individualised support—in the form of Information and referral services, support to access community services and activities, individualised plans and supports, and early intervention—for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers. It’s an insurance scheme because—similar to the way insurance funds work—funding required by the NDIS will be determined by first estimating the support needs of the disabled population. Then, as the scheme is put into practice, this will be compared with reality and adjusted.
I have a disability—how will the NDIS affect me?
The amount of funding you will get will be directly related to how your disability affects key areas of your life. You’ll be funded on an annual basis to purchase services and equipment from various providers—and as your situation and health changes, you can apply to have your plan adjusted. If you have permanent and significant disability, the help you will receive will be the following:
1. Information and referral—through the NDIS, you can get information about support options, referral to disability services and supports, support such as diagnosis advice and skills development,and links to local support groups and associations.
2. Support to access community services and activities—local area coordinators (LACs) can help you make connections to these services.
3. Individualised plans and supports—the NDIS will work with you to develop an individualised plan, based around what you want to achieve out of life. It’s intended to have a whole-of-lifetime approach, recognising that your needs will change over time. As for managing your plan, you may choose to manage it yourself, nominate someone to help you or ask the NDIS to manage all or part of your plan on your behalf.
4. Early intervention—when there is good evidence that this will improve an area of functioning, or delay or lessen a decline in functioning, the NDIS will provide early intervention.
5. Funded supports
—your approved plan may include funded supports. You can choose providers, support delivered and how much control you want in managing your plan. This could involve choosing support providers to supplement the informal support you already receive. Support may be one-off, such as to buy a new wheelchair
I care for someone with a disability—how will the NDIS affect me?
Families and carers will be essential to the new arrangement, including involvement with the decision-making process. If the person you care for requests it, you can assist in goal setting, assessment and planning.
Help from the NDIS for carers and family may include: support that maintains your health and well-being (such as participation in a support group), and you may receive training to help you as a carer. Click here for more information.
I’m a therapist—how will the NDIS affect me?
The NDIS should help therapists get what they need for their clients more easily. Current welfare schemes are by nature somewhat short-sighted, as the focus is to minimise costs for the budget year. The NDIS has a longer view of the person’s whole lifetime—so while the NDIS will seek to minimise costs over that entire period. This means the NDIS will invest in therapy or equipment that will reduce or delay a decline in a person’s function—helping the individual and reducing costs at the same time.
In addition, the current National Disability Agreement invests very little in research. The NDIS, due to its long-term view of helping those with disabilities, will encourage investment and new approaches.We’d like to thank Vision Australia for their excellent FAQ on the National Disability Insurance Scheme—it helped a lot in preparing this blog post. Check out Vision Australia’s FAQ page here.