NDIS & COVID-19 Restrictions- How to use your NDIS plan during a pandemic.

As Victoria moves through stage three and four restrictions, many NDIS participants across Australia are concerned about the effects COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will have on their NDIS plans and accessing supports. Below, our expert plan managers answer some of your questions.

Plan Managed Participants

How to be prepared?

Firstly, put together a plan of the essential supports you need over the next few months.

Talk to your service providers. Most will be adapting their services to accommodate social distancing and online or telephone supports for the moment. Providers may have stopped offering a service, contact them about possibly releasing any remaining funds. You may be able to put that money towards other essential supports needed

Consider having your medications and groceries delivered.

Remember, essential providers will continue to invoice for services as usual. Our plan management process will not change.

Are you still providing Plan Management?

Yes, we will continue to provide plan management as an essential service to participants Australia wide. You can rest assured, your NDIS invoices will continue to be paid and our plan managers will be available to answer your questions. Interested in becoming plan managed with Budget Net? We will continue to take new referrals, with a simple onboarding process that can be completed remotely. Your account can be set up within 24 hours, without having to leave home. Simply call 1300 402 568 to chat with our expert plan managers who will explain the process and answer any questions you may have. If you prefer, you can simply fill in our referral form and we will give you a call to complete your account set up.

How can being Plan Managed help during the pandemic?

Plan Managed participants have the choice to access items or services from providers that are not NDIA registered. This gives the participant the ability to shop around and find the best deal, with the opportunity to save funds for other essential supports needed.  Find out more about the advantages of Plan Management here.

NDIS Changes

Can I purchase an iPad using my NDIS plan?

Assistive Technology such as iPad’s can be purchased using your NDIS funding if you have a letter from one of your providers, confirming the iPad is necessary to continue receiving supports. With lots of services moving online being connected is more important than ever.

Agency Managed participants will need to purchase these items from an NDIS registered provider.

Self-Managed and Plan Managed participants can purchase using the usual process.

TIP: ensure you shop around and get the best price possible! The NDIA will fund up to $750 for low-cost assistive technologies such as an iPad, however, there must be available funds within your current Improved Daily Living or Consumables budget.

If you are Plan Managed through BudgetNet, just send us a copy of your purchase receipt and we will reimburse you. It is important to check your available funds BEFORE you make the purchase. If you are unsure of your current funding, feel free to call us on 1300 402 568. Don’t forget you can also use our app to easily track your funding.

For further information on this topic, click HERE to visit the NDIS website.

What services can still be accessed?

The current advice from the Australian Government is to stay home unless necessary.  With different rules for each state, it is important to keep up to date with the latest news in your area. For more information on what services you can access, call the Disability Information Hotline on 1800 643 787 or visit their website.

Our advice is to ensure you continue to receive any important health care needed. Even during stage four restrictions, essential disability support will continue to be provided to NDIS participants. Of course, supports such as occupational therapy, counselling, and group programs may be conducted online instead of in-person to limit your movement within the community. Do not forget to maintain regular doctor’s appointments as your health is a priority in this present climate.

Can I still have my 1:1 support worker?

Yes, NDIS participants will continue to have access to 1 on 1 support that assists with daily life. Your regular support worker may attend any health care appointments, help you go grocery shopping, purchase other essential items, and assist with daily activities within your home. Specific rules apply to each state and territory so ensure you are up to date with your local regulations. For plan managed participants, your provider will continue to invoice for services provided during this time.

Can I purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) using my NDIS plan?

If you live in a community where the use of PPE (face masks or shields) is recommended, these items can now be funded through your current NDIS plan within your core budget, providing you:

“Receive an average of at least one hour a day of face-to-face daily living support and you live in Victoria or New South Wales.”

Agency managed participants will need to purchase these items through a registered NDIS provider, Self-Managed or Plan Managed participants can make the purchase using the regular process.

What happens if my plan is about to end?

Some plans may be reinstated or automatically extended for a further 12 months. Your extended plan will have the same funding in all categories apart from Capital Supports. At this time, plan review meetings are no longer taking place face to face and have instead moved to telephone meetings where possible. If part or all of your previous plan was plan managed this will be the case for your extended plan, essentially it will rollover. Any questions about NDIS plans can be directed to the NDIA by calling 1800 800 110 or contact your Support Coordinator or Local Area Coordinator.

Additional Support

Most importantly, ensure you stay connected to friends, family, and services.  It is a tough time for everyone if you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling or need some extra support please reach out to the following organisations:

Lifeline                      13 11 14 | https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Beyond Blue            1300 22 4636 | https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Kids Helpline            1800 551 800 | https://kidshelpline.com.au/

National Alcohol & Other Drug Hotline           1800 250 015

As always, the NDIA is available to guide you through this uncertain period, call them on 1800 800 110 or visit their website.

We will continue to be available for any current or new plan managed participants. Reach out to us on 1300 402 568 or email ndis@budgetnet.com.au.

Stay safe and positive,

The BudgetNet Team.