How To Make The Most Of Your Core Supports Funding
Where to begin?
Confused by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)? You’re not alone! The scheme and the associated funding are two different things, yet both can be equally complexing. It’s about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.
The NDIS was designed and implemented to assist and support the independence of social and economic participation of people with disability by providing individualised funding to enable the engagement, purchase or delivery of supports that are reasonable and necessary for the person due to their disability. This may seem straightforward enough, however, the National Disability Insurance Agency does not provide funding for all disabilities or all supports. Dyslexia is one prime example, whist it is a recognised print disability, it is not funded under the NDIS. That in itself is a topic for another day. Likewise, not all supports are considered reasonable and necessary by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) the statutory body created to implement and manage the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Lawn mowing and general gardening or the construction of accessible pathways may be considered reasonable and necessarily dependent on the NDIS Participants funded disability, but general landscaping to make the garden look good, is not.
Once approved to be on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the individual becomes an NDIS Participant. The NDIS Participant then discusses their goals and aspirations with an NDIS Planner, who in turn develops an NDIS Plan tailored for the NDIS Participant and allocates funding for supports they deem to be reasonable and necessary to support the NDIS Participant. Through this process, the NDIS Planner allocates funding to at least one of three support categories: Core, Capacity Building and/or Capital. As the NDIS Funding is allocated to meet the NDIS Participant’s goals, the National Disability Insurance Agency expect the funding to be used accordingly as detailed or vaguely identified in the NDIS Participants plan.
Before delving into Core funding and what it is, and how and what it can be used for, a quick overview of Capacity Building and Capital supports.
Capacity Building Supports, as the name suggests are the supports that help to develop, build and maintain an NDIS Participants independence and skills. There are nine sub Capacity Building categories – yet another topic for another blog.
Capital Supports, as per financial and business terminology are generally medium to long-term assets that are high-cost (usually over $1,500) assistive technology items or equipment, home vehicle modifications or Specialist Disability Accommodation.
At The Core of It With Your NDIS Budgets
Core, by definition, is the central or most important part of something. This is true of NDIS core supports. Core supports are based around supporting NDIS participants with their everyday life and activities at home and/or in the community. NDIS core supports are grouped into four sub-categories:
- Assistance with Daily Life
- Assistance with Social Community and Economic Participation
Within each core sub-category are layers of core support types, many of which are broken down into manner of support, when it applies and who can deliver it.
Assistance With Daily Life
Assistance with Daily Life supports are to assist or supervise personal related daily activities to help and enable the NDIS Participant to live as autonomously and independently as possible. Assistance with Daily Life funding can be used when an NDIS Participant’s disability limits their functional capacity to undertake activities and tasks such as:
- Assistance with selfcare activities such as getting in/out of bed, showering, dressing, meal preparation, eating; and
- Domestic activities and household tasks including house cleaning and garden maintenance, including lawn mowing.
Where, in line with the NDIS Participant’s goals and funding allocation, Assistance with Daily Life funding can also be used for Short or Medium Term Accommodation. Short Term Accommodation (STA) is an integrated support (includes care support, accommodation, food, activities and associated transport), to provide respite for the NDIS Participant or their carer(s), or the opportunity for a government funded holiday, think again!
The National Disability Insurance Agency will not fund holidays. As with all supports, STA needs to align to the NDIS Participant’s funded disability and the goals in their NDIS Plan.
Medium Term Accommodation (MTA) is for circumstances where an NDIS Participant requires transitional accommodation prior to moving into a permanent home or housing arrangement such as Supported Independent Living or Specialist Disability Accommodation. The MTA support is only for the accommodation costs. It does not cover the costs for care, food or activities. Although National Disability Insurance Scheme funding can be used for short or medium term accommodation, it can not be used for emergency accommodation.
Assistance with Social, Economic + Community Participation
‘Participation’ is the operative word in the Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation supports. With the designed purpose of assisting or supervising the NDIS Participant to connect, engage and participate in social, community and economic activities, including employment, the funding can be used for supports such as:
- The engagement a support worker to assist with accessing community, social and recreational activities, including group or centre based activities;
- Specialised Supported employment where a participant is employed and requires additional supports such as job assessment, job customisation, direct supervision, physical assistance.
As noted already, Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation funding is premised around the engagement of a supporting or assisting with accessing an activity.
Generally, the National Disability Insurance Agency will not fund expenses related to the creation or delivery costs of activities such as event tickets, entrance fees or supplies. It does however recognise that there are some activities such as camps, courses or membership fees that may exceed an affordable level for the NDIS Participant. Where this is the situation, and the activity meets the goals in the NDIS Participant’s plan, and without participating in the activity the NDIS Participant would be at risk of social isolation, NDIS funding could potentially be used.
What Are Consumables In NDIS?
In NDIS language, the term consumables is multi-faceted. It refers to both consumable products and assistive technology items under $1,500. The purpose of this funding is to enable the NDIS Participant to purchase the everyday items they need because of their disability such as continence products, or modified equipment to assist with their independence or mobility. Although a low cost assistive technology item may be under $1,500, if there is a potential risk to the NDIS Participant when using it, such as a fall if not used properly, prior to purchase the item needs to be assessed and recommended by the NDIS Participants applicable therapist.
For example, John’s Occupational Therapist has identified, that John’s independence and mobility could be assisted through the use of a seated walker. Mostly walkers are under $1,500 low cost assistive technology threshold, however as there is a potential falls risk if not used properly, John’s Occupational Therapist needs to assess and recommend one that is suitable for John’s needs.
Transport funding is allocated when the NDIS Participant is unable to access or use alternate transport, such as driving themselves or use public transport to get to and from activities, appointments, or their place of work.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of the individual. Core support funding is the most flexible of the three support categories, enabling an NDIS Participant a greater degree of interchange of funding between their core sub-categories if their needs or circumstances change from their initial planning meeting.
Core support funding, unlike Capacity Building or Capital funding, can generally be reallocated between the Core support sub-categories to better suit an NDIS Participant’s disability needs. This enables the NDIS Participant to exercise their right of choice and control over their supports.
For example, Jane may require additional in home support for personal daily assistance. Jane can reallocate, or request her friendly NDIS Plan Manager, Canny Plan Management to reallocate funds from Assistance with Social and Community Participation to ‘top up’ Assistance with Daily Life.
NDIS Plan Management + A Team You Can Trust!
If in doubt about what core funding can and can’t be used for, the Canny Plan Management team are available to discuss the options for the use of core funding and provide the applicable NDIS information to our clients to help them make an informed decision about their supports and use of their funding.
Get in touch with our team to find out how we can form part of your support network.