How to Understand your NDIS Plan – Capital Supports

3 April 2020
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I’m super excited to share some insight into Capital Supports and how they’re funded through your NDIS plan.

Capital Supports are:

  • Assistive Technology (05)
  • Home Modifications (06)

I’ve seen some really great advancements in the Capital Supports process over the last few years. Previously AT requests would take months to be approved, as they used to be directed to a national team for approval. Recently, regional NDIA planners have been able to approve AT requests, which has made the process a heck of a lot quicker for families.

If you have Capital Supports or would like to add these supports to your NDIS plan, this article will help you understand how it all works.

 

Understanding Your NDIS Plan – Capital Supports

 

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is any type of physical equipment needed to support your safety or quality of life in the home or community. There’s literally hundreds of ‘service types’ (line items) in the NDIS Price Guide under AT. Equipment ranging from foot Orthotics to power wheelchairs and electric beds!

Specific AT equipment is usually identified in your planning or review meeting and written into your NDIS plan. Many items may be written as [Quote Required]. This means your equipment has been identified as something you need, but not yet approved through the system.

If you’ve been allocated an AT budget in your current NDIS plan, it’s usually for specific pre-approved equipment, or just general repairs & maintenance to existing equipment. In this case, you can contact your OT or connect directly with your equipment provider and order your equipment!!

If you’ve identified equipment that needs to be approved. Here’s the process you’ll go through for Level 3 & 4 equipment:

  • Identify the need for specific equipment (either by the family or therapists)
  • Your therapist (usually an OT, Physio or Speech) conducts trails of the equipment
  • Your therapist writes their report and recommendations (using a specific NDIA template)
  • Your therapist submits their report and quote to the NDIA
  • The equipment is approved by the NDIA
  • The funds are released into the plan for purchase
  • You Get Your EQUIPMENT!!

In some cases, the approval of new equipment triggers a plan review, which unfortunately means a new start and end date. If this happens, your plan funding usually stays exactly the same, but you now have additional funds for your equipment.

This is generally the process for high cost (usually over $5,000), high risk, custom-made equipment. If you’re curious about LRLC (low risk, low cost, under $1,500) equipment, these items are generally funded under consumables in (Core Supports), check out How to Understand Your NDIS Plan – Core Supports for more info.

The NDIS is in the process of rolling out a new initiative to help you (or your child) access your AT needs even quicker. I’ve seen plans issued from February 2020 start to include a Mid-cost AT allocation of $5,000 in their plans. This funding is flexible across nine general AT services types (line items) for you to purchase new or replace existing equipment. This can be on the advice of your OT, without the long involved (and sometimes expensive) approval process. YAY!!

For a more detailed explanation on the different AT levels check out Assistive Technology Explained in the NDIS site to see if your equipment falls into the more complex process.

Either way, my experience with the NDIA over the last few years has shown they are fully supportive of your equipment needs. The NDIA genuinely want to help you have the quality of life you deserve in a safe and supported way.

If you’ve identified equipment that you need, and it’s not included in your current NDIS plan, please don’t panic! The review process can support your request for urgent equipment or, if it’s not 100% urgent, start chatting to your OT about trials and recommendations and be sure to include it in your next plan. If you’re still unsure what to do, please give our team a call and we’ll point you in the right direction.

 

Home Modifications

Home modifications are changes to the structure, layout or fittings of your home so you can safely access it and move around comfortably in areas you (or your child) frequently use (NDIA website Home Modifications). 

The process usually looks a little like this:

  • You identify a few areas of your home that aren’t fully accessible or safe for you (or your child) to access anymore
  • You mention these concerns at your planning meeting
  • Your LAC or NDIA planner includes funding for a builder or OT to assess the areas in your next plan
  • Your OT (in consultation with a builder) write their report, recommendations and provides a quote to the NDIA
  • The NDIA assess the recommendations and quotes against the reasonable & necessary test
  • If approved, funds are added to your plan for the home modifications!

In all honesty, as I write this piece for you, I’ve only seen a handful of approved Home Modifications. Smaller home modifications including the installation of handrails, portable access ramps and minor modifications under $1,500 are usually funded through Core Support – Consumables, not Home Modifications.

The Home Modifications I’ve seen are complex structural changes to houses, including changes to front entrance doorways / paths, chair lifts and bathroom modifications for commode / transfer access, and they have cost over $15,000.

It’s also more complicated to modify a rental home than an owned home. So, if you’re renting or accessing community housing, there must be an agreement between your landlord or community housing to approve the modifications. I don’t believe I’ve seen a rental home approved for extensive modifications yet, but I have seen community housing agree to more complex modifications. However, in many cases, there’s been debate on who should pay.

The Home Modifications process does seem to be quite complex and lengthy, but if it’s something that’s super important for you (or your child’s) safety, please start sooner rather than later.

For more detailed information check out the Home Modifications info page on the NDIS website.

OOOKKKK, that was super intense! Now, I’d LOVE to hear your story!

Please leave a comment below and share your experience with Assistive Technology or Home Modifications. The more positivity you share, the greater experience for our whole community, so please be kind. If you’ve had a super negative experience, as many of our clients have in the past with AT, please contact us directly and we’ll see where we can help!

 

Much love

Jude x

PS. If you know anyone struggling to access equipment or home modifications through their NDIS plan, please send them a link to this blog post and share the love!

 

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