Managing your NDIS plan can be something rather tricky to navigate. In particular, how to spend one’s NDIS funding is a question often faced by many participants, especially those that are new to the NDIS program.
There is not much you can refer to – everyone’s needs are different, incidentally, each plan is different so it’s totally understandable if you are a tad overwhelmed by it all.
Here is a handy guide that we have put together to help make the whole process easier for you.
Understanding NDIS Funding
Before anything, it is worthy to understand how the whole NDIS funds work.
There are basically 3 types of funding categories (these are the support budgets that may be funded in your NDIS plan) that the NDIS supports – Core, Capacity and Capital:
Core: for everyday activities that will help you live and work towards your goals
Capacity: for activities that will help build your independence and support you to learn new skills to achieve your goals
Capital: higher-cost pieces of assistive technology, equipment and home or vehicle modifications
For each category, funding can either be Flexible or Fixed where:
Flexible: supports are described generally. You will have greater flexibility on what supports you buy with your funding.
Fixed: supports are described specifically. Funding must be used for the supports described in your plan.
Most of the time, the NDIS will describe supports generally to allow participants have more choice in how they use their funding.
However, if a particular funding is described as Fixed, there will be no leeway and you’ll have to use your funding in the way it is described in your plan.
What Can You Spend Your NDIS Funding On
Now that you have a basic understanding on how funds are allocated, here are some key areas for each category that you can spend your NDIS funds on:
Generally, there are four support categories under the Core Support budget. This is the most flexible – you can move from one support category to another – but keep in mind that there are instances where your funding may be fixed (especially for transport):
- Personal and home assistance: household cleaning, garden maintenance, showering, cooking
- Everyday consumables: continence products, low-cost assistive equipment to improve independence and/or mobility (e.g. adapted cups, cutlery)
- Assistance with social and community participation: engaging a carer to assist you in social and community activities participation
- Transport: travel to and from work, to appointments and other places that will help you pursue the goals in your plan
Capacity Building Supports
Unlike the above, Capacity Building Supports budget cannot be moved from one support category to another. Nevertheless, here are some of the categories funded by the NDIS:
- Activities that help you learn new skills: to participate in community, social and recreational activities, find employment, improved relationships
- Support coordination: a fixed amount for a Support Coordinator to help you use your plan
- Activities that improve learning: training and advice to help you move from school to further education
- Activities that improve health and wellbeing: exercise or diet advice to manage the impact of one’s disability
There are two main support categories under the Capital Supports budget: Assistive Technology and Home Modifications.
The former includes equipment items for mobility, personal care, communication and recreational inclusion (e.g. wheelchairs, vehicle modifications, speech generating devices) while the latter ranges anything from handrail installation in a bathroom to arranging special housing for participants who require it due to their disability.
Funds allocated within this category are usually specific/fixed so you can only use them for their specific purpose and not for anything else.
What The NDIS Will NOT Pay For
If you are still unsure, perhaps knowing what you cannot use your NDIS funding on will make it clearer for you on how to spend you NDIS funds.
These are some of the most common ones that the NDIS will not pay for:
- Rent or mortgage repayments
- Utility bills (water, electricity, phone, internet)
- Good and groceries
- General toiletries
- Holiday travel and accommodation
- Club membership fees
- Registration fees
- Gallery, sports events, cinema tickets
- Course/tuition fees, textbooks
- General household furniture and appliances
- Non-disability related gadgets and technology
Do note that nothing is conclusive though. There are things that may not be as straightforward or as easily distinguished as other items, for example – holiday.
The NDIS will not fund your holiday trip (ticket and accommodation) that is for sure, however, it may fund supports that will help you with your holiday. For instance, a companion to support you during your trip i.e. help you with luggage, talk to airport or hotel staff, etc.
Another example will be groceries. The NDIS will not pay for them but they will pay for a support person/carer to take you shopping if that is a kind of support that they deem is required by you.
So yes, nothing is definite and conclusive. Nevertheless, if you ever find yourself wondering if an item is qualified for NDIS funding, ask yourself this: is it something that a non-disabled person will have to pay for themselves?
If your answer is yes, then most likely it is not something that the NDIS will pay for.
To conclude, the NDIS will only pay for supports that are reasonable and necessary. That is, it must be related to your disability, likely to be effective for you and represent value for money. Remember this and there shouldn’t be much problem navigating through your plan and funds.