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On Monday 27 April, the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Hon Stuart Robert MP, announced changes to help NDIS participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes giving participants more flexibility over their Core Supports funding.
Usually, you can only use your NDIS funding for your disability needs. You can’t use your funding to pay for day-to-day items, like smart devices and fitness equipment.
This is changing during coronavirus to help NDIS participants access supports and services through telepractice and telehealth in consultation with their existing support providers.
You can now use your funding to buy certain assistive technology (AT) items, including exercise balls and iPads.
From 9 May, you can buy low-cost AT items using the Consumables Support category in the Core Supports funding of your NDIS plan.
There are some rules around this announcement. You can’t buy items over $1,500 and there are AT items that you won’t be able to buy using your funding.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has also said they don’t think participants will need to spend more than $750 to get the items they need to keep using their services.
For example, therabands and exercise balls are likely to be more appropriate than exercise machines.
If you need to access telehealth or telecare, or take part in online video classes, you can use your funding to buy a tablet device. AT specialists have said that most NDIS participants won’t need more than a standard tablet, which costs around $600.
New support line items for participants living in supported independent living (SIL)
If you live in SIL, you may have a higher risk of catching coronavirus. And if a person living in SIL catches coronavirus, the provider needs to deliver additional care and support. To help participants and providers during this time, there are now two new support items for cleaning services and higher intensity support.
Online access to the NDIS Access Request Form (ARF) and Supporting Evidence Form
The ARF and Supporting Evidence Form are now online. This will help people apply for the NDIS during coronavirus while doing social distancing.
People who want to join the NDIS can apply by:
You can find the NDIS’s latest update about this on the Using your budget page of their website.
There are specific rules for participants using existing NDIS funding to buy an AT item. For example, the participant may need written support from the provider of the supports.
These changes will happen on 9 May. You may want to wait until after this date to buy any AT items. However, you can ask your provider for the written support now.
Extra funds won’t be added to a participant’s plan to buy low-cost AT items. Participants will need to use the money already in their plans.
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