Health

What is the NDIS? Understanding Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme

Citizens have a range of government-funded and private disability services in Australia available to them, covering the basic specialised services that are required when living with a disability. The National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS, is one of the overarching schemes that fund housing, therapy, health services and special needs required by the qualifying individual. The NDIS will provide varying support depending on the severity of the disability and whether that need is short or long term.

Let’s work to understand the NDIS in more detail and what considerations there are for new and existing users engaging with this disability scheme.

Qualifying for NDIS support

To receive financial and healthcare support from NDIS, an individual needs to first qualify for the cover. This is determined with a thorough yet fair assessment of the individual’s capabilities, past incidents and any accompanying experiences or factors that might keep them from working or supporting themselves without assistance. Disability looks different for all, and is not always visually identifiable but could be social or psychological in nature. This assessment will be made to the NDIS by a health professional – typically either a social worker, occupational therapist or general practitioner who is managing their care.

What an NDIS plan includes

When an individual’s needs are qualified with NDIS, a dedicated worker will be assigned the individual’s case and will set about creating a plan collaboratively with that individual. The plan will include goals to be achieved in different areas of their life, and what support is required to reach them. Naturally, each plan will vary depending on the nature of the disability and the existing support services that the individual already has in place (supportive family, stable housing, etc). Plans are reviewed and added to periodically.

Each NDIS plan covers a range of financial expenses. It might be accessibility housing or appropriate housing with a community support arrangement, or it could be taking care of the cost for a part-time or full-time carer. If the individual is having success with the private practitioner in the health field, this funding could cover those costs so that the appropriate number of sessions are fulfilled. It might also be new equipment that makes life easier and safe for that person with a disability.

Covering all Australians

The face of disability in Australia is different in every state, city and community. Fortunately, the NDIS provides support and funding for individuals between the ages of 7 and 65. Over the age of 65, NDIS can provide affordable aged care support through industry assistance, grants and a number of affiliate support services included in the Aged Care Act of 1997. Young individuals aged 7 and above can tap into resources that are purpose-built to their circumstances, relieving parents of having to fund these specialised services or put their children through traditional frameworks that are not tailored to their special needs. Those who live in Australia, are Australian citizens, or Visa holders are eligible for NDIS support.

NDIS for carers

The NDIS is a scheme that is also designed to support the carers who look after a disabled relative or partner. This means that short courses, certifications and financial support are extended so that they can take on this role in whatever capacity is required. There is also counselling support and guided coaching so that the carer tasked with managing the day to day tasks of a loved one with a disability also receives the support they need to remain safe and engaged in that responsibility.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme aims to give every Australian the tools they need to live an empowered life. If you have any other questions regarding NDIS and eligibility, you can visit their website or call a support worker to clarify the next steps in getting assistance.

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