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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

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What is the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support for people with a significant and permanent (or likely to be permanent) disability. This includes many types of disabilities such as physical disabilities, and psychosocial disabilities. It aims to give people choice, and provide funded support which is tailored to the person’s specific needs in order to live their life and achieve their goals.

The choice and control the NDIS offers means the participant can work with their carer or with registered external carers and supports. The participant and their family will have more control over choosing the services that work best for them to get the support they need.

What is Psychosocial Disability

Psychosocial Disability is an internationally recognised term under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is used to describe the ‘social consequences’ of disability, that is, the effects on someone’s ability to participate fully in life as a result of a mental health condition.

It can include a loss of ability to function, think clearly, experience full physical health, and manage the social and emotional aspects of daily living.

People affected by psychosocial disability can have barriers to engaging in opportunities such as education, training, cultural activities, and achieving their goals and aspirations.  Not everyone with a mental health condition will have a level of impairment that will result in a psychosocial disability.

For more information on how mental health fits into the NDIS click here.

Who Is Involved

NDIS Participant 

An NDIS Participant is a person who is eligible to access reasonable and necessary funded supports, which is referred to as an  individualised funding package.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is in charge of managing the NDIS.  Local Area Coordinators, NDIS Planners, and Coordinators of Support will be key roles within the scheme.

Local Area Coordinators

Local Area Coordinators assist people with disability and their families in the community by:

  • Providing general information about the NDIS, and types of supports available;
  • Linking people with a disability to support providers;
  • Helping to build the independence of people with a disability;
  • Working with community organisations to build awareness and improve opportunities for people with a disability to access and participate in community activities; and
  • Assist people to access the NDIS (e.g. helping people complete NDIS forms and making appointments with the NDIA).

NDIS Planners

NDIS Planners will work directly with participants and their carers to complete planning and assessment processes. They will support the participant to identify what reasonable and necessary supports are required to accomplish goals and aspirations.

Coordinators of Support

Coordinators of Support assist NDIS participants to strengthen their ability to coordinate and implement supports included in their NDIS plan and participate within the community. This may include:

  • Assistance with sourcing and linking participants with the right providers;
  • Coordination of supports;
  • Building on informal supports, and developing resilience of participants; and

Resolving points of crisis.

Can I Access the NDIS?

There are several criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for the NDIS.

To be eligible, a person must:

  • Be under the age of 65;
  • Be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or a protected Special Category Visa holder;
  • Live in an area in which NDIS is available; and
  • Have a significant disability (such as psychosocial) that is permanent or likely to be permanent, or a need for early intervention.

If the person you are caring for is not eligible for the NDIS, the NDIA can refer them to other existing services.

The following people may be able to help the person you are caring for plan and apply for the NDIS:

  • Local Area Coordinator
  • Community Mental Health Case Manager
  • GP
  • Counsellor
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Local services
  • Mental health service provider

For advice about eligibility for the NDIS or how the person you are caring for can access the scheme, please contact the NDIA by visiting ndis.gov.au or calling 1800 800 110.

What will be funded through the ndis?
  1. Community awareness campaigns about issues that are faced by people with a disability.
  2. Sharing of information, linking people into mainstream supports, and providing assistance to services to be more responsive and inclusive of people with a disability.
  3. Individual Funding Packages

If eligible, the NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports that assist participants in identifying and achieving goals and aspirations, fully participating in their community, and undertaking activities of daily living.

This could include:

  • Assistance with decision making, planning and household tasks;
  • Assistance to increase the participant’s ability to live independently and achieve their goals (e.g. financial and tenancy management skills, and building social relationships); and
  • Funded supports to engage in community activities (e.g. education, training, employment, and recreation).

Participants have the choice on how, when, and where to access funded supports.

For more information on what will be funded through the NDIS please visit the NDIA website ndis.gov.au or call 1800 800 110.

Carer Involvement in the NDIS

The role of the carer in the NDIS is dependent on what the participant wants, what the carer feels they can manage, and what the NDIA thinks is reasonable and necessary. This may involve:

  • Supporting the participant to apply and plan for the NDIS;
  • Attending the planning session with the participant;
  • Providing advice on the participant’s support needs either within the meeting, or by providing a Carer Statement;
  • Being listed within the NDIS plan as ‘informal support’;
  • Assisting the participant to manage their NDIS plan; and / or
  • Supporting the participant during NDIS plan reviews.

Can Carers get support through the NDIS?

Carers are not participants of the NDIS and will not receive a separate assessment or plan. However, there are a range of supports which may be included in a participant’s plan which can assist carers (e.g. training for carers, and assistance).

What is a Carer Statement?

Carers can provide a Carer Statement during the planning process. However, it is not compulsory.  This can be provided in a meeting with the NDIA with or without the participant (if appropriate), or carers can prepare a written Carer Statement to bring to the planning meeting or submit to the NDIA. The Carer Statement (verbal or written) may cover the following information:

  • The mental health condition of the participant and how it affects their daily living;
  • Details about the type of care provided and how often certain tasks are done;
  • Information about other informal support networks the participant has available (e.g. family)
  • Carer goals which can impact on their informal care of the participant;
  • Current ability to provide care to the participant; and
  • Whether any additional support or assistance is needed to help the carer in their caring role.

For more information on carer involvement in the NDIS you can visit the NDIS website ndis.gov.au/families-carers or the Carers NSW website carersnsw.org.au/NDIS.

Resources and tools

Mental Health Carers NDIS Guide and Checklist

Mental Health Australia and Carers Australia have developed a Guide for Mental Health Carers on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and a Mental Health Carer Checklist to prepare for NDIS assessment and planning meetings. Carers have a very important role in supporting potential participants of the NDIS. The guide and checklist provide information to help carers support the person they care for to engage with the NDIS effectively.

Guide:

https://mhaustralia.org/sites/default/files/docs/mha04022_guide_proof_151009-1335.pdf

Check list: https://mhaustralia.org/sites/default/files/docs/mha04022_checklist_proof_151009.pdf

NDIS Access Checklist

A series of questions that can help you work out if the person you are caring for is eligible to access the NDIS.

http://www.ndis.gov.au/ndis-access-checklist

Well Ways – NDIS Peer education programs for people with a mental illness, their families and friends

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria has developed the “well ways” and “building a future” training approaches for use by mental health peer educators.  The organisation has now updated these approaches to consider specific issues relating to the implementation of the NDIS including participant choice and individualised service delivery.

http://www.mifellowship.org/content/well-ways

Carers Australia Peer Conversation Partners

Carers Australia is delivering a project to support carers of people who are eligible for the NDIS but not yet enrolled. Through this project, carers will be put in touch with people who care for someone who is already receiving NDIS supports.

www.carersaustralia.com.au

Carers Australia – NDIS information for carers

www.carersaustralia.com.au/ndis-and-carers/

Mental Health Australia – NDIS fact sheets for mental health consumers and carers

www.mhaustralia.org

NDIS Website and contact information

www.ndis.gov.au or 1800 800 110

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