Chapter 13 Section E: Services and Supports
OverviewA service provider is a person, business or organisation that delivers funded services. Service providers have different areas of experience and expertise so it’s important to work out what you want and find the right providers for what may be a range of different services to best meet your needs and achieve your goals. Providers can include large companies, community managed organisations, charities, small not-for-profits, sole traders, or any other types of business. All supports and services delivered for NDIS participants should enable people with disability to have the same things in life as other people like somewhere to live, a job, hobbies and the company of families and friends. The NDIS is designed to be flexible and support service innovation. NDIS funded supports generally provide assistance to carry out daily activities which form part of your community life and work.
This section will provide information about:
- The types of services funded by the NDIS
- What you should consider when choosing supports
- Choosing the right service provider
- Commonwealth funded services transitioning to the NDIS
- Can carers receive/provide NDIS funded supports or services?
- Resources that assist a person navigate the NDIS
- Resources supporting diverse communities to navigate the NDIS
Once you are accepted as an NDIS participant, you will receive support for as long as you need it. The NDIS has outlined that they will fund ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports and services to help NDIS participants to play a part in the community socially and economically, and be able to pursue their aspirations and goals. Reasonable and necessary supports are described by the NDIS as being effective and beneficial in supporting your disability support needs.
Some supports and services which the NDIS may fund include:
- Assistance to help find and keep employment
- Assistive technology for mobility, personal care and communication
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Independent living support, for example: household cleaning and/or yard maintenance; support to find and maintain an appropriate place to live; assessment, training or therapy to increase independence; financial management
- Assistance with social and community participation, for example: interpreting services; a support worker; training, assessment or therapy to increase capacity and skills in building and maintaining social relationships;
- Assistance with planning and decision making
- Exercise, nutrition or dietary advice
- Support Coordination and NDIS plan management
If Local Area Coordination or Early Childhood Early Intervention partners are not available in your area, or you would like more help coordinating your supports and services, the NDIA may fund a Support Coordinator as part of your NDIS plan. A Support Coordinator will help you build the skills you need to use your plan to achieve your goals, live more independently, increase your skills and be included in the community of your choice and in employment. Support Coordination is included in your plan if it is deemed reasonable and necessary for your support needs.
Support Coordinators will work with you to assist in:
- Identifying options for community, mainstream and funded NDIS supports;
- Explaining how to choose providers and create service agreements with your providers;
- Plan management, particularly for participants who choose to self-manage aspects of their plan which may include providing information about how to make a service booking and assistance with managing the NDIS funds.
Participants can decide where and how they can access their funded supports including through centre-based services, in-home, day services, community access and outreach services.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a service provider:
- Which of the providers in my area can offer the kinds of supports that I may need?
- Do the supports offered by any of the providers meet my personal needs and help me to achieve any of the goals I’ve set for myself?
- Will the provider work to support me as an individual with rights?
- How will the provider ensure I have choice and control over how its support me?
- Can the provider guarantee flexibility of support that fits my lifestyle?
- What skills and experience do their staff members have?
- Does the provider charge a fair price?
- Can the provider show me that it delivers high quality support?
- Does the provider have feedback and complaints systems that are independent of their service delivery systems?
- What do other people with disability or carers say about the quality of the support the provider delivers to them?
Providers are individuals or organisations who provide a support service to help you achieve your aspirations and goals. If you choose not to self-manage your plan, your providers must be registered with the NDIS to provide support services. Being an NDIS registered provider ensures that the services meet the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding standards.
Your Local Area Coordinator or your Early Childhood Early Intervention partner are available to help you find services that best meet your needs. It is important to think about which services will accommodate your needs, charge an appropriate fee, and which will best support you to fulfil your identified hopes and desires.
Once you choose your service provider, you will create a service agreement which is a written contract which makes clear what will be provided to you and the guidelines of the service. Service agreements might include information about:
- What support or service the provider agrees to deliver;
- The cost of the support or service;
- How, when and where you would like your service to be provided;
- How long you require the support or service;
- When and how your service agreement will be reviewed;
- How any problems or issues that may arise will be handled;
- Your responsibilities to the service provider – such as letting your provider know if you can’t make an appointment;
- The provider’s cancellation policy;
- Your provider’s responsibilities – such as working with you to deliver your support or service in the right way;
- How you or your provider may change or end the service agreement.
Sometimes a service provider may already have a standard service agreement that you may like to use, or you can create your own service agreement to meet your individual needs.
It is important to consider which support or service will most effectively help you to achieve the aspirations and goals set out in your NDIS plan and improve your social and economic participation in your local community when choosing your service providers.
If you currently receive a state or territory funded specialist disability service, or receive supports through a Commonwealth funded mental health program, a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) may contact you by phone, post or email to help you transition to the NDIS. The Commonwealth Mental Health programs include:
- Personal Helpers and Mentors Service (PHaMS)
- Partners in Recovery (PIR),
- Day to Day Living (D2DL) Program
- Mental Health Respite: Carer Support (MHR:CS)
If you currently receive support from one of these services but choose not to apply for the NDIS, you may be eligible for continuity of support which the government has put in place for people who receive these services but aren’t eligible for NDIS packages, but you may not be guaranteed access to the service.
If you now receive support from one of these services and are deemed ineligible by the NDIS for an individualised plan, the government will still provide support to its existing clients, including those aged over 65 years.
One of the core aims of the NDIS is to better support families and carers in their caring role. While the NDIS cannot create individual plans for carers, as a participant you may choose to include funded-supports which may have direct or indirect benefits for your family members or carers. Supports that may have a direct or indirect benefit to your carer may include:
- Family support and counselling due to a family member’s disability
- Building the skills and capacity of other family members to manage the impact of a participant’s disability on family life
- Supports that increase the participant’s independence, as well as supports that enable the participant to enjoy social and community activities independent of their informal carers
- Supports aimed at increasing the sustainability of family caring arrangement, including personal care and domestic assistance related to the person’s disability
- Personal care to support an individual in their home or the community
- Supported employment services and help for people to move to work programs that prepare people with disability for work
- Training related to the caring role that may enhance your carers ability to provide care
The NDIA or LACs can also help connect carers to mainstream services such as support groups, respite services or counselling to help with their self-care. Carers can find information about helpful mainstream services here.
It is important to note that the NDIA will not fund parents or family members of participants to provide personal care supports, except in the most exceptional circumstances. An example of this may be where there is risk of harm or neglect to the participant or where a suitable provider is not available to provide the support.
reimagine.today is an online resource developed by the Mental Health Coordinating Council which was funded by the NDIA to assist people living with mental health conditions and their support persons to better understand what the NDIS is and what it can offer people living with psychosocial disability resulting from a mental health condition.
As well as offering advice as to how to apply for the NDIS and how to choose the right service providers to deliver the services a person has identified will meet their aspirations and goals, reimagine.today presents information with a recovery focus particularly in its strengths-based approach toward decision making and developing strategies to maintain health and wellbeing.
The national and NSW state focused NDIS websites additionally provide information about the scheme in the forms of online booklets and fact sheets. The national NDIS website has developed the NDIS Access checklist for people to test if they might be eligible for the NDIS.
The NDIS Complex Support Needs Pathway will provide specialised support for participants living with a disability who have many challenges impacting on their lives such as mental health conditions, incarceration or homelessness, and need a higher level of specialised supports in their plan. The pathway will have dedicated NDIA Complex Support Needs planning teams and a network of specialised planners with extensive experience in high level coordination and/or allied health expertise. NDIS participants are identified for the Complex Support Needs Pathway by the complexity of their situation and personal factors such as being homeless or returning to the community from living in residential aged care. Involuntary or voluntary involvement with government systems such as justice or mental health would also be factors which would facilitate entry to the Complex Support Needs Pathway.
The NDIS website has provided translated information about the NDIS in ten languages other than English. The website accommodates for persons who prefer information in Arabic, Auslan, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Filipino (Tagalog), French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan, and Vietnamese.
To assist in delivering information about the NDIS, there is a free-of-charge translator or interpreter available to call on 1800 800 110.
The NDIA recognises that the availability of NDIS providers who speak the participant’s (or their parents/carers) primary language may be limited in certain situations. In these circumstances, your NDIS representative (NDIA planner, Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator) will assist you to access interpreter services through the National Translation and Interpreter Services (TIS National), or through local mainstream interpreter services.
Through the establishment of the Local Area Coordination partners, the ability for people with disabilities living in rural and remote communities to interact with the NDIS is enhanced with partner organisations located across rural and regional NSW. LACs allow people to know about what types of supports are available under the NDIS through the knowledge of staff local to their community.
You can find a list of NSW Local Area Coordinator (LAC) partner offices here.
The NDIA is designing and developing a range of digital services and channels to support communication and engagement of rural communities with the NDIS.
The NSW NDIS website has developed a number of resources targeted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in supporting their understanding and access of the NDIS. You can find these fact-sheets here.
The NDIA has also developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy which focuses on supporting quality engagement, service delivery and leadership to ensure the effective provision of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
To read the engagement strategy and learn more about the NDIA’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, follow this link.
The NDIA is primarily looking at the impact of a condition or conditions (that is, the psychosocial disability) rather than the condition itself. Living with co-existing conditions shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing the NDIS, and your plan should be tailored to support all the areas of functional difficulty you experience as a consequence of your condition. Where co-existing alcohol or drug dependency issues are present, it must still be shown that your impacted functional capacity is the result of a mental health condition and not because of a co-existing substance use difficulty. A person can meet the NDIS access requirements regardless of any co-existing substance dependency issues, however clinical treatment services for these issues are not funded by the NDIS.
Persons with disability who have been in custody are able to access the scheme and to plan to receive supports after being released from prison. If an existing NDIS participant is remanded in custody, the NDIS will continue to fund reasonable and necessary supports once they are released.
The current NDIS operational guidelines states that the NDIA is permitted to prioritise the preparation of plans within 6 weeks of being granted eligibility into the scheme for persons who are returning to the community from being released from prison or custody.
The NDIS will fund supports where the person is on bail or a community treatment order (CTO) which places obligations on the part of the public health system to support the person to comply with a the care and treatment plan for a set period of time (usually 6 months) and support the person’s recovery goals and aspirations in the community whilst managing any risks to the individual or the community.
There are staff members in correctional facilities that can assist correctional patients and inmates with disability with referrals to the NDIS. The State-wide Disability Services (SDS) addresses the additional support needs of offenders with disabilities. SDS is a multidisciplinary team that works with all offenders with a disability whether in custody or in the community. More information about this can be found at this link.
The NDIS is a new and developing system particularly as it relates to the justice and forensic systems. Access to the NDIS for forensic patients is an area which is improving as time progresses and the scheme becomes more established.
Forensic patients do have the right to apply for the NDIS at any time if they believe their psychosocial disability is significant and permanent, and they believe that the NDIS could alleviate their functional impairment/s. Forensic patients can apply for the NDIS and complete an Access Request Form with supporting evidence at any point in their stay in hospital with the assistance of hospital staff.
If your access request is successful and you’re considered eligible, it is recommended that you include Support Coordination as part of your plan. A forensic patient may need to request specialist support coordination and find out if there is a complex support needs pathway in their area.
Using a NDIS package while a forensic patient is on conditional leave requires negotiation with the NDIS, and a patient will need to establish that a particular service for their disability support needs is necessary to support functioning when on leave.
If a forensic patient wants to discuss any aspect of the NDIS they can ask to speak to the NDIS Transition Lead at the service where they are currently detained.