For an accessible, a more comfortable, and a more mobility-friendly dwelling, home modifications are sometimes necessary for people with disability to cater to their various needs in their own homes.
From as simple as bathroom modifications to alterations in the kitchen, these simple changes can help participants move around the house and perform their daily tasks much more easier. At times, complex structural changes are necessary too to help a participant gain safety and full independence.
Home modifications are defined by the NDIS as “…changes to the structure, layout or fittings of a participant’s home so they safely access it and move around comfortably in areas they frequently use.” These types of supports fall under the Capital Budget in a participant’s plan.
These are typically funded in the NDIS plan if these guidelines are fulfilled:
- a nominated area in a participant’s house is particularly difficult to access;
- it is also important to assess the current condition of the participant’s home and its adverse impacts on the sustainability of the participant’s current living and care arrangements;
- a recommendation from an Occupational Therapist is also necessary to assess the effectiveness of the modifications in order for the participant to meet any personal goals.
According to the NDIS, there are three main types of home modifications:
- Simple modifications are low cost items that are easy to access.
- Minor home modifications are low costs, non-structural items that need professional support to make the necessary changes.
- Complex Home Modifications (CHM) require structural changes and may involve changes to a combination of areas within the home.
For home modifications that cost over $30,000, a participant will need to engage an NDIS-registered Building Works Project Manager (BWPM) for CHM construction. Supports related to CHM require a maximum of two quotes by the NDIS delegate to make a reasonable and necessary decision.
Various areas in the house are typically altered or updated to accommodate to the needs of a person with disability. Here are some of the most typical home modifications requested by participants:
Adding access ramps to replace steps or stairs for users of wheelchairs or mobility aid.
Providing safe and accessible amenities for personal care and hygiene, such as adding hand held shower heads, towel rails and shower grab rails.
Modifications to the primary bedroom to provide circulation space (for wheelchair user) and access to a nearby bathroom.
Kitchen modifications such as height adjustments of kitchen benches.
Widening doors and entrances for participants reliant on mobility aids or use of wheelchairs.
Home automations such as including automated lighting and power control for areas that are commonly accessed by participants.
Not every home modification requested can be approved. All requests must first meet the resonable and necessary criteria of the NDIS to access these supports.
As a general rule, the requested support will be funded by the NDIS if:
- it is related to your disability needs
- it will help with your individual goals and aspirations
- it will help your social and/or economic participation
- it will provide value for money
- it is effective and beneficial for you
- it helps maintain your informal support
- it is a responsibility of the NDIS to fund