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Using NDIS Funds: When You Can and Cannot Use Them

Using NDIS Funds: When You Can and Cannot Use Them

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout has been, and continues to be, a massive undertaking. The support and services delivered to NDIS members enables persons with impairments to have the same opportunities as others, such as a place to live, a steady job, following through on their interests, and keeping in touch with family and friends. Participants can choose and pay for assistance and services based on their goals and needs within their allotted budget. A lot of potential participants have many questions concerning how NDIS funding works and whether it covers them outside Australian territory, or when they travel. To help you understand further, here are some things you need to know.

What is NDIS funding, and how does it work?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is Australia’s first nationwide scheme and provides payment to qualified Australians under 65 with persistent and substantial disability. The NDIS provides payment to eligible individuals depending on their individual needs. Every NDIS member has a plan that details their objectives and the funding they have received. NDIS members can use the financial help for support and services that help them achieve their personal goals. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply to participate by completing an Access Request Form.

If you are NDIS eligible and have received an ‘access decision’ letter, the next step is to develop your NDIS plan. Your plan is a formal agreement that you and the NDIS will devise together. Everyone’s plan is unique and tailored with care and consideration. NDIS representatives will ask you how you are doing in various aspects of your life, what goals you want to pursue, and what sort of assistance and support you require. This will assist them in building a strategy that delivers the correct support for you.

Related: Read our latest post on what you can use NDIS funding for.

Can you use NDIS funding overseas?

The answer is yes. If you travel abroad, you can continue to use your benefits and financing for up to 6 weeks (or longer if you get more time). This is what they refer to as the “grace period.” If you need to use your funding internationally, you should have it self-managed or plan-managed.

Can you use your plan for more than 6 weeks outside of Australia?

In some cases, you may get an extended grace period. For example, if you anticipate being away from Australia for more than six weeks and need to utilise your NDIS funds, you should contact the NDIS.

You will inform them as follows:

  • How long do you expect to be overseas
  • The reason you’re travelling overseas
  • What assistance you’ll need there
  • Why you need NDIS funding and for what needs

Factors considered by the NDIS before extending your ‘grace period

  • how long will you be out of Australia
  • what support you’re receiving through your plan
  • if you are eligible for them while you’re away from Australia
  • if they can help you discover these supports
  • if they can keep in touch with you while you’re away from Australia

Instances when you can get your ‘grace period’ extended

  1. They consider how long your treatment will take if you require medical care or therapy that is not provided in Australia. They also give you a suitable amount of time to recover after your treatment or therapy.
  2. If you or a family member needs to work temporarily abroad, they examine how long you or a family member require to work abroad.
  3. If you or a family member is in the Army, Navy, or Air Force Reserve forces, they will consider how long you or a family member will be overseas.
  4. NDIS representatives consider the course length for Australians studying abroad or participating in an exchange study program. The foreign study must be part of a program you are taking at an Australian high school, TAFE, or other training or at university. It should also be a part of a recognized program of international exchanges, such as an exchange semester during university.

When are you unable to use your plan?

Unfortunately, they may need to suspend your plan at times. This implies that your plan will continue, but you will be unable to use your support for a time.

  • You are outside Australia for more than 6 weeks unless granted more time.
  • When you do not claim the compensation, they ask you to, for example, after you get an injury.

If you need to use your funding internationally, you should probably have it self-managed or plan-managed. This is because most NDIS-registered providers do not assist people in other countries. You must also request your funding in Australian dollars.

Will the NDIS pay for your vacation?

The short answer is that the NDIS doesn’t fund holidays. However, they may be able to fund the covered support and services you require to go on vacation. To include it in your NDIS plan, representatives will assess if it is fair and required, like any other NDIS funding. In addition, any support or services you may want while on vacation should be directly related to your handicap.

Will the NDIS cover the cost of a support worker and other services while I travel abroad?

A popular question that tends to cause confusion.

“For participants, like with other members of Australian society, overseas travel, including extended holidays, is a usual part of life,” according to the NDIS. Because your support needs are unlikely to change while travelling abroad, the answer is YES to buy the support you need.

If you are self-managed or plan-managed and want to travel outside Australia for up to 6 weeks, you can use your NDIS funds to purchase the supports and services you would typically use at home. For example, the costs of renting equipment such as a hoist or hiring a wheelchair, purchasing consumables you normally use, and, of course, paying a support worker.

Options for overseas assistance

If you choose a support person who does not live in Australia but resides where you’ll be travelling to, you must still use the same invoicing procedure as you would in Australia. They can issue an invoice with their name, the number of hours at an agreed-upon rate, a description of the service provided, and the overall cost of their assistance and services.

If you’re planning to go overseas in the future, talk to your Support Coordinator and Plan Manager about your options. During your planning or plan review meeting, you should share your holiday plans with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC). It ensures that they include the appropriate funds in your NDIS plan to assist you with any necessary and reasonable support that would allow you to go.

If you have any questions about NDIS plan management, please call us at 1800 63 63 77 or email us at info@ndsp.com.au. Register for Plan Management Sign Uptoday!

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NDSP is a NDIS registered provider, specialising in Plan Management. We are here to manage your NDIS funds on your behalf. Our experienced staff are highly skilled and ready to help you!

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