The National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS, is a scheme designed to support those living with disabilities in Australia, including psychosocial disabilities (a mental health condition). The NDIS recognises that a disability may arise at any point during a person’s life and that everyone’s needs are different. There are over 4.3 million Australians who have a disability and the NDIS aims to provide them information, economic support and the resources they need to become active and productive participants in their communities.
The NDIS works by having Australian’s answer several questions relating to eligibility. If you are eligible for the NDIS, then the next step is creating an NDIS plan. This involves creating a written agreement between you and a support worker, this plan will detail what kind of support you need, what your goals are and how the scheme can help you achieve them.
What Kind of Support Can You Receive?
The NDIS provides support to eligible people with physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. The types of support that the NDIS may fund for participants include:
- Daily personal activities
- Transport to enable participation in community, social and daily life activities
- Workplace help to allow a participant to successfully get or keep employment
- Therapeutic supports including behaviour support
- Help with household tasks to allow the participant to maintain their home environment
- Help to a participant by skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training
- Home modification, design and construction
- Mobility equipment
- Vehicle modifications
The NDIS provides support only where deemed reasonable and necessary, so things that relate to day-to-day living costs will not be included in the support service.
How Does the NDIS Determine What is Reasonable and Necessary?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 helps to guide NDIA decision makers, as well as the operational guidelines. These are based upon the NDIA Legislation and Rules. For those who are not confident with using websites or navigating large amounts of information online, all of this information can be overwhelming and confusing. NDIS is working on correcting the underlying accessibility issues people may face when using their site or trying to learn more about the NDIS. NDIS has begun the process of re-writing their guidelines using plain English and aim to increase transparency around how they make decisions. The updated guidelines landing page can be found here:
But for a lot of people, they will need to get in direct contact with a support person in order to successfully navigate the site and understand what kind of support they may be eligible for. Making the NDIS scheme more accessible and transparent is an ongoing process as needs and solutions change and develop.
The NDIS is an excellent example of the importance of having a site that is designed with their target market in mind. Because the main purpose of the NDIS is to support vulnerable members of the community, it is essential that those members are able to fully understand the process involved in receiving that support as well as what kind of support they are entitled to.