Wednesday, April 25, 2018

ndis weekly chat!

Has the ndis changed my life? I would have to say ~ yes! The National Disability Insurance Scheme is the new way people with disability and their families are assisted to participate in the community.  Whether that be through education, training, studying, looking for work, work, volunteering, daily living skills training, independent living or sport.  The ndis gives people a way to build the life they want to live. 

Living Independently

My small vegie patch

One of the things the ndis is designed to achieve is to assist people with disabilities to be as independent as possible.  Due to the degree of their disability some participants will always be dependent on others.  While the independence of others with disability may be improved through mobility equipment, assisted communication, modifications to their home, or on going therapy.

This is achieved through funding such things as Improved Daily Living.  One of my goals is to increase my core muscle strength to maintain my independence I achieve this through accessing fortnightly physio sessions with my funding.  ndis looks ahead by taking a whole of life approach, as I age life becomes more difficult thus I become more dependent on others. 

Currently the ndis supports me to live in my own home with assistance with my daily living tasks. This is not a goal every ndis participant will choose.  A participant can improve their independence in other ways than changing their address.  For example the might learn how to catch a bus independently or learn how to make their own lunch before the go out for their day activities.

At present growing my own vegs improves my diet, health and lifestyle. Goals to not need to be news worthy.  A goal can be getting out the front door in morning independently.

Some ways my support workers assisted me to be independent this week were:

  • Assisted with my at home physio program
  • Assisted me to buy plans for the garden
  • Assisted me to take my cat 'Ashes' to the vet.
A new ndis goal I am working on is self-directly my own supports. I have choose to do this by:-

  • Keeping some support hours with my support service provider
  • Contracting an art support person to assist me in my art studio for 10 hours per week.
  • Engaging two support workers directly.  One is called my team leader and she assist me to coordinate all the different supports I access and to be part of the Ipswich Arts Community,
This week that meant the team leader needed to pick up my artwork from the Ipswich Art Awards Display and some work I had framed to go to Aspire Gallery. 

My team leader said she is enjoying her role because their is lots of variety in her job.  This week I wanted to sit by the river for a few hours. How is that for a office. However she is also assisting me with training other staff and writing a team training manual if I need to recruit again in the future. Meanwhile the support worker I hired and my cpl support team assist me around the home and in the garden.

Fund Management - Your Choice

Choice is one of the things I enjoy the most about ndis. Some service providers are struggling with this change and recruiting the staff to make change and flexibility possible. While participants struggle to navigate the pathways once their plans are approved. 

Under the ndis participants can chose how they want to be supported; who they want to support them (service providers and suppliers or engaging their own team.) and when they want to be supported (They might like to go watch the footy or go to the pub with their mates). This is what a normal life looks like to some participants.

To do this a ndis plan is developed.  You decide your or your child's goals and how you want to be supported.   Make your plan about you, your goals and your needs.  Not services and programs. Although in terms of planning your ndis pathways it is helpfully to have a good knowledge of services that might suit you and your goals. 

Your plan make up is determined by how you want to achieve your goals and daily activities.  To assist you to set this up you need to decide how your package will be administrated.  I've been sharing how I have structured my supports and how they enable me to achieve my ndis goals. To start with their are three pathways to chose from and then you select stepping stones to allow you to reach your goals.
  1. ndis management - the ndis pays for your supports direct. If you ask they will also provide support coordination.
  2. Ask a service to 'host' your funds. A bit like a bank account and they too charge fees. A host provider can also provide support coordination or you might pay an independent person to do this. or
  3. You can self-manage.  I was talking about how my main support worker assist me to coordinated my different supports needs this is know as 'self-direction'. Management is how you set up your budget and how you pay your invoices.  Their are many different models to chose from, far more than I've explored.
I self manage through the assistance of a Plan Manager, but I could do my budget myself and pay the invoices through the ndis portal. I have chosen to chose the services I want to engage and set up what is known as a Service Agreement, once that is signed I send that to my Plan Manager to set aside the money I will need to paid for that service over the next 12 months.  A service provider will want to ensure you have the funds to pay for their services, so the must provide you and the person managing your funds a copy of the quote.

You or the person managing your funds need to ensure all the supports you intend to access in the next 12 months are affordable. There are many people who can guide you through this process and I believe their are computer programs that can assist as well. So you might want to use google to do some research as well as talking to other participants about the model of administration they have chosen.

My Administration Model

Form the outset I wanted to work towards self-directing my own supports, through the hiring of my own support staff over a 3 year period.  However, life doesn't always go to plan and I have already taken on self-directing my own supports in part.  As part of my first plan the ndis gave me funding to work with a Plan Manager and I have already shared how she managers my budget.  Regardless of how you chose to have your package managed the ndis will supply that funding.

Your Plan Manager or Host funds provider may also provide service support coorindation and support you to establish your service agreements with providers.  Always insist on a copy of the agreement and quote for your records. A host provider can not select the service providers you use or how often you access a service if they do you need to lodge a complaint immediately. My recommendation is you have chosen you host fund provider or plan manager before your plan is approved.

Intitally I did my own supports coordination and meet with a number of providers, even through I had a great knowledge of providers in my area it was overwhelming.  Providers were telling me what they thought I wanted to hear.  I now recongonise that a traditional support service isn't going to work for an artist, which is why I moved to self-direct my supports,

I think over the last 20 years I seen and heard so many redidiclous things everything from flip flops on feet were allowed to ware under HR&S to I work my way so do what you're told.  I  not sure anyone realizes the intrusion support workers can be,  To hire my own workers without the protection of policy and procedures seemed to hair raising to me. 

If you do decide to engage your own team be mindful, in addition to managing pay roll as an employer you are obligated to all legal requirements as a employer.  How you establish your administration warrants careful consideration and advice from people you trust.  Always remember the game change that choice and control gives you as participant.  You can now change your providers at any time and that includes a host provider or Plan Manager.  There are some pentally fees it you break and agreement, however in the long run like me you might be better off. 

I have enjoyed the flexibility that self-directing allows me this week. Simple things like my worker using her own car so we can make many stops while we're out or doing things on the spare of a moments, like lets go down to the night markets for a Chi Tea. 

I hope this gives you so insight into how to develop you ndis pathway and the different administrations models available to you.  ndis has changed my life for the better.

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