Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sorting through the facts

The NDIS and Great Expectations
What is the NDIS?
As the National Disability Insurance Scheme, known as the NDIS is the new way people with disabilities and their families are being supported to live a life reflective of their peers.
NDIS is not a Centerlink payment, entitlement or linked to any centrelink payment. It is a funding system to pay for the assistance that people with disabilities need to live a life that is reflective of their peers.
The scheme is for all Australians from birth to 65 years of age. With a permeate disability that requires life long assistance to reach their milestones and goals. You can check your eligibility here.
It is new and exciting
The NDIS is a revolutionary new way to support people with disabilities and their families to access funding to best allow them to achieve the lifestyle they desire. For many years Queensland families have wanted a greater say in the way they are assisted.
Thus the NDIS is a individualised approach to designing support packages for those needing assistance with their. The types of support and $ value, are determined by your individual goals and how you want to each those goals.
Like any thing that undergoes major reform there are teething problems and frustrations result.  If my advice is worth anything, then . . .
Keep, clam and eat chocolate, while we
attempt to sort fact from fiction.
Expectation # 1
Exercising Choice
Even if your choice is for nothing to change you still have a few things you need to prepare for the transition to the NDIS. Your `first plan' is about expressing those choices as goals. Goals are about how you want you life to look like.
You're plan will need to describe life now. With a statement about how you are feeling about, your life now.  If life is great, then put that in your participant statement.  The change has occurred because the majority of people were not happy and wanted a greater say in the way they are assisted to live life. 
Thus to continue to be supported you need to:-
  1. State the things you want to do.
  2. How you want to do them.
  3. What assistance you will require.
As your needs are now assessed on the things you want to do, the information required is different.  You will be ask to work on your first plan. Click here to download your participants pack to plan your future supported under the NDIS.
So if you had a expectation than their would be no work involve then I guess you feel disappointed.  With the power to chose comes some level of responsibility. The more choice and flexibility you want to build into your plan, the higher the commitment you will need to invest into the development and execution of your plan.
With the right to chose comes responsibility and accountability 
The Challenge
Self-directing the way you want to be supported, means you become and advocate for yourself or the person you are assisting, for example a family member.  In writing your plan you need to provide reasoning for the supports you are asking for.  The NDIA does not have a blank check and real life is not like sending Santa clause a wish list.
Making Your Choices
So what are some of the things you can make choices about?
  • The services you want to access.
  • When and how you access those services.
  • How you want your funding to be administration
What are the choices involving administration of your package and what will that mean for you?
At base level there are three ways you funding can be managed:-
  1. Ask the NDIA to do it on your behalf
  2. Ask a funding host to manage your funds
  3. Manage your funding yourself
With the second and third choice their is flexibility in how that looks like at grass level.
A perceived expectation I heard from others was gaining control of their own funding meant they could spend it more economically than the way service providers were.  The difficult is service provider were bound by rules and regulations, if you are intending to self-manage you need to be business like in this approach and will need to keep to the rules and regulation yourself.
The amount a support person is paid does not equal the service deliver cost.  Self-management will not reduce the price of your support or allow you to buy more hours.
To derive at the cost per hour you need to add:-
  • Hourly rate of worker or workers delivering the service
  • Administration costs
  • Training of staff
  • Coordination of staff
  • Plenty rates, superannuation and ;eave loading
  • Insurances and work cover
Add all these costs divided the sum by the no of service delivery hours and you derive at the service delivery price.
Costs divided by hours = unit pricing
Reality does not always meat our expectations, sometimes our expectations are not realistic.
What is meant by Control?
My understanding is control under the NDIS is about participants directing how they are assisted. 
  • Their goals and activities
  • Types of services
  • Choosing the service providers
  • Choosing how funds are administrated, 
The NDIA still have a duty of care and will not fund 'supports' that put the participant at risk of harm.  For some people self-management might put them at risk of finical harm so safety steps are put in place like a support coordinator to enable them to best self direct.
We have seen that NDIS is not a welfare payment that goes into your bank account.  It works a bit like medicare paying for your support needs.  For things like therapies and equipment you make a claim, that claim has to be approved.  The funds must be as set out in your agreement you will sign with your Local Area Coordinator.
The NDIS supports includes:
  • Accommodation support
  • Direct support hours
  • Respite
  • Day services\
  • Therapies
  • Equipment and aids
  • Assist technology
  • Administration supports
More people will be supported by the NDIA for a whole range of reasons.  Not everyone is needing what we traditionally referred to as supports. Some people will be accessing the NDIS just for support with the mobility such as a wheelchair and incontinences pads.
This is the main reason you are being requested to write a NDIS plan so your package can be correctly design for you needs.
No Disadvantage
The NDIA has promised  no one will be disadvantage under the NDIS. There are people who have being receiving support funding that goes unspent year after year.  This rule allows that funding to be redirected. You many not receive everything you receive now, because a more effective way to meet your supports needs can now be sourced under the NDIS. 
"Reasonable and Necessary Supports"
The NDIS funds supports:
  1. That are linked directly to your NDIS goals.
  2. Are related to your specific disability.
  3. Are cost effective - deliver value for money.
  4. Do not put the participant at risk.
The NDIS will not fund things your peers must pay for like rent, cars or textbooks. A peer is a non-disable person about you age. So if you go to the pool with your support work you still need to pay to get into the pool. A companion card can be one way you can meet the expenses of you support person.
Great expectations
Like everyone when the concept of the NDIS was being discussed, I formed expectations about what that may look like.  Most of my expectations will be meat but not all and that's life.  Some of these expectation is due to my misunderstanding what terms I have never heard before or poor examples being used.
In the early days in my neck of the woods, going on holiday was a regularly used example of a choice we could make under the NDIS. The use of universal example concern me because some people through the world get to go on holiday for free.  Just like everyone else whether we camping at the lake or flying to Pairs the cost of a holiday is your personal expense.
Regardless of your goals the NDIA will only pay for the expense of your disability. If you want to play basketball. you need to pay you fees, memberships, uniforms and travel costs.  The NDIS ,ay pay for a sports wheelchair. Due to the individual design of the NDIS.
Much of our frustrations and confusion is due to our personal expectations not being realised, The NDIA has no blank checks and it can not possibly fund every dream.  This is one reason we are asked to prioritise our goals to ensure what is most important to us is funded. 
For some these expectations were the result of not knowing how the rules and regulations of the current system would operate in the new world of the NDIS.  We assumed the auditing process would not occur in a market driven industry.  Not-for-profit are still not making a profit, safe checks are still needed and your funding still needs to be acquitted. 
 The NDIA Ipswich office are already calling clients and requesting plans and documentation.  July 1 is not a flick of a switch.  You need to get up to speed or risk a gap in service. You need to know what you want; how you want your life to look like; how you intend to achieve your goals and the support you have now.  These are the determines in what you package will include.
To avoid major disappointment ask someone like a current provider to ensure you not left anything out. If you not got something call My First Plan you are now behind the game.  You need to pull that finger out and start asking for help to get up to speed.
Time to leave La La Land and head to the website download the documents or contact you current provider for a template and start writing.
You can message me for a free information booklet.

For Facts the website is your first port of call.

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