Will NDIS funds cover my child’s transport needs?
NDIS funds supports and services for people who meet eligibility and this includes children however some supports that may be funded for adults might not automatically be funded for children.
Children are typically supported for their transport needs if they are eligible for ‘Assisted School Transport’ – this usually applies to eligible children who attend SSP schools (Schools for Special Purposes). When funded in a participants plan the budget will be payable directly to the provider by NDIA.
The general rule is that all other transport needs would be considered as an everyday expense and more appropriately funded by the child’s informal supports E.g. parents/foster parents/guardians.
If transport is funded for a child it would be documented in the NDIS plan as a ‘stated support’ meaning it cannot be used for any other support purpose.
Sometimes NDIS participants entering their teenage years may have a Transport budget approved if they have discussed their commitment regarding education or employment with their NDIS planner. When funded this would be a contribution to Transport costs incurred due to functional impact of disability and would usually be set as Self-Management whereby fortnightly payments are paid directly into the participants nominated bank account.
What is ‘Low cost, Low risk’ Assistive Technology (AT)?
Assistive Technology (AT) enables people with a disability to live a better, more independent and inclusive life. AT as defined by the World Health Organisation is “any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed.”
AT is the term used by NDIS for many items or modifications that an NDIS participant may need to better support them in their life. AT funded in NDIS plans ranges from basic items such as shower chairs to higher costed items such as wheelchairs.
Generally any AT which exceeds $1ooo requires approval from NDIA via submission of an AT application. The AT application would include an OT recommendation and quotes. Higher costed AT may require the inclusion of AT trials for the recommendations and in some instances multiple quotes may be required. NDIA will review the application against the ‘reasonable and necessary’ legislation.
For lower costed items however participants usually receive funding in their plan for ‘low cost, low risk’ AT within the Consumables budget of their CORE support category or in the Assistive Technology budget. Where this has been funded the participant does not have to apply or submit quotes to NDIA for the items. They can simply purchase the items on-line, in store or from their nominated provider.
NDIS will not fund anything that could cause risk of harm to the participant or others therefore it is important to note that not all ‘low cost’ items are ‘low risk’ and may not be funded without further application to NDIS.
At NDSP we encourage our customers to contact us to discuss their ‘low cost, low risk’ AT needs so we can determine if the item they are seeking is funded in their current plan. If so they can purchase the item upfront and claim a reimbursement or request their provider to send an invoice through to NDSP to claim and pay.
What is the difference between Support Coordination and Plan Management?
It is a common misconception that Support Coordination and Plan Management are the same support. In fact, they are very different supports and have only one thing in common; that is that they both sit under the Capacity Building support purpose within the NDIS Price Guide.
To put it simply Support Coordination is a support funded to eligible NDIS participants which is provided by a Support Coordinator who will assist the participant to implement their NDIS plan whereas Plan Management is a fund management option that can be chosen where the Plan Manager takes on the responsibility of paying for the participants NDIS funded services and supports.
So Support Coordinators coordinate NDIS supports and Plan Managers pay the NDIS bills, now let’s delve deeper into each support.
Support Coordinators are typically people with Disability sector experience who are well connected in the disability space and who have skills to work together to support their customers to understand their NDIS plan, navigate the NDIS system and implement the plan in the following ways;
- By strengthening a participant’s ability to design and then build their supports
- They focus on supporting participants to direct their lives, not just their services
- They identify what participants expect from services and how participants want their service delivered
- They work with participants to develop capacity and resilience in their network
- By providing information to participants to better understand their rights and responsibilities as an NDIS participant and Australian Consumer
Support Coordination is based on eligibility therefore not every NDIS participant will receive it. Support Coordination is usually funded for NDIS participants who have minimal informal supports or have complex needs. If an NDIS participant is not eligible for Support Coordination they will automatically be eligible for Support Connection through their Local Area Coordination (LAC) team who work on behalf of NDIS.
Participants can choose their own Support Coordinator or request NDIS to make a referral to a suitable provider for them.
Plan Management is a fund management option which a participant can choose for their NDIS plan. There is no eligibility criteria as it is a right of the NDIS participant to choose the fund management option that suits them best.
When funded Plan Management is shown on the NDIS plan under the Support Category ‘Improved Life Choices’, NDIS will add the amount needed to pay for the service for the full plan period so it comes at no ‘out of pocket’ cost to the NDIS participant.
When a participant has Plan Management in their plan the Plan Manager is responsible primarily for paying the funded services and supports that the participant chooses meaning the participant isn’t responsible for the cash flow management or financial administration.
Plan Managers are registered providers who;
- Give increased control over plan implementation and utilisation with plan financial assistance
- Manage and monitoring budgets over the course of the plan
- Manage NDIS claims and paying providers for delivered service
- Maintain records and provide transparency of the NDIS funds spent
- Provide access to a wider range of service providers, including non-registered providers whilst remaining in line with the price limits contained within this Guide.
NDSPs specialist Plan Management service has a team of dedicated and knowledgeable staff who have a mixed skillset of the required financial administration skills combined with disability sector knowledge and experience which optimises capacity building opportunities for our customers as we help them to understand the ‘reasonable and necessary’ legislation. To put it simply – we get NDIS, we speak NDIS and we help take care when managing your NDIS Plan.
Other helpful resource links
- Reasonable and Necessary supports https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/supports-funded-ndis
- NDIS Price Guide https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-information
- COAG Principles https://www.coag.gov.au/sites/default/files/communique/NDIS-Principles-to-Determine-Responsibilities-NDIS-and-Other-Service.pdf
NDSP is a NDIS registered provider specialising in NDIS Plan Management. If you are a NDIS Participant looking for the right Plan Manager, CLICK HERE to get in touch with our friendly team today.
Article by Cherie Cordina