This article was written and developed by Ellen Fraser-Barbour, along with Julia Farr Youth (JFY). Ellen is a young person living with a disability, and JFY is an advisory group of young adults living with disability aged 18 to 30. For more info about JFY, or to get in touch with them, click here.
INTRO – YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITY
Young people living with disability have the same aspirations as other young people around Australia. Friendships, high school, getting into work or study, moving out of home, getting a drivers licence, and trying new things; it’s a very exciting time. But it can also be a tricky time for teenagers and young adults, with transitioning to adult supports and services which historically meant limited access to services and less choice. Now things are changing with the federal roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - a scheme that is all about choice and control.
WHAT IS THE NDIS?
This new scheme will allow people living with disability to access individualised funding suited to their individual aspirations and life goals. This gives people living with disability more flexibility about what they want to do with their lives and allows them to decide what kind of supports they need to achieve their goals.
First a person with disability must apply for the NDIS. Once this has been approved, then an NDIS planner will call to organise a meeting to talk about the person’s goals, needs and supports. This meeting may take place over the phone or at a local National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) office.
After the NDIS Planner has met with the person, they will then decide on what supports are needed and how much funding is required. There are three support budgets the NDIS funding will cover:
- Core supports,
- Capital, or
- Capacity building.
Each of these budgets will allow people to spend on different types of supports or therapies. More information about budgets and support categories can be found here.
How participants use these funds really depends on individual goals, aspirations and support needs.
The NDIS will allow people living with disability to set some goals for the year, such as “move out of home into independent living”, and will then provide funding for any supports needed to work towards this goal.
Goals can be related to things like:
Assistance with daily living including personal care or meal preparation to assist with the goal of independent living.
- Mentoring, individual skill development, tuition fees, art classes, sports coaching and activities that builds on the goal of social participation and getting out and about in the community.
- Home or vehicle modifications or assistive technologies, wheelchair or other equipment costs that will improve quality of life, wellbeing, social participation, communication and independence.
- Therapeutic supports, interventions and specialists who can provide therapeutic expertise and assist developing capacity and skills related to independence.
HOW ARE PEOPLE USING THEIR NDIS PLANS?
Alisa (aged 16)
Prior to the NDIS, Alisa relied solely on family and friends for support and was limited in what she could do. Her parents didn’t think she could move out of home. Now Alisa has a young 21 year old support worker she’s hired as a mentor, who can buddy up with her and attend community club events and youth groups. Her mentor also teaches her how to cook, do domestic tasks and budget her money – so she is working towards her goal of living independently and she is proving her parents wrong! Her mentor visits Alisa 3 days a week for 2 hours.
Jeff (aged 23)
Prior to the NDIS, Jeff has struggled to find a job and was tired of accessing disability employment services who pushed him into any job they could find regardless of his strengths and interests. In his NDIS planning meeting the NDIS planner quickly found out that Jeff’s main goal was to find a job and his interests were computers and IT. His NDIS plan enabled Jeff to team up with a mentor who supported him to enrol in his local TAFE and provided personal care and supports when and where Jeff needed it.
SUMMARY: KEY POINTS
- People need to meet the age, residency and disability or early intervention access requirements to become an NDIS participant and receive an individual plan. More information about accessing the NDIS can be found here.
- Once the participant has been through the planning process and established some goals, the NDIS will provide funding to ensure supports that truly address individual’s needs are purchased.
- NDIS participants are in control of which service providers they choose and how their supports are delivered. There are a range of options on how an NDIS plan can be managed. Participants can choose to self-manage budgets in their plan. More information on self-management can be found here.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
The NDIS will create a massive boost to Australia’s economy creating jobs in a growing disability sector, meaning more people can enter the workforce and less people will be dependent on income support. This benefits all Australians.
Whilst there has been some stress with the roll out - make no mistake, the NDIS is a big step forward in the right direction for Australia and will change the lives of many people living with disability for the better.
(For more info about the NDIS, check the NDIS website by clicking this link)