Your Funding...Use it or you may lose it!

Feb 25 , 2022

Julie-Anne Dietz

Your Funding...Use it or you may lose it!

Your Funding - Use it ...or you may lose it!


So, you get your product purchase approved and the first thing you do is check your funding allocation to see what's left to support your child, yourself and your family! 

With so much on your plate, keeping track of numbers and details and what's in and what's out, can be a challenge. Did you know that reliable data shows that most people only use between 60% - 75% of their allocated funds? This isn't because they don't need it, it is because life, chaos and some misunderstandings get in the way. 

Accessing NDIS funding properly can assist you to 'Live Your Best Life'! So how do you make sure that you are using your funding package correctly? 

Before we start, did you know? 

Every NDIS participant is entitled to a Plan Manager – free of charge. You only need to ask for it! 

To do this try searching plan managers. We work with a number of very good plan managers such as My Plan Manager, Maple Plan, My Integra & Control, NDSP Plan Managers, Northern CS Coordinator, Parent to Parent, Plan Management Rise and Shine, Problem Solver, The Leap in Crew, Total Support Services, Your Plan Manager, and YPM just to name a few.

In this Blog

Everyday I talk to customers who are navigating the disability sector. In this blog I would like to answer some of questions I get asked daily! The reason I have such a handle on the sector is I have lived in it for the past 53 years and without my experiences I too would be asking the same questions.

How do NDIS plans work?

The NDIS was established to support and improve the lives of people living in the disability sector. Your plan's intention is to offer you choice and control.

Once you have received your funding - which has been packaged in your 'plan' - you decide which therapies, aids, products and experiences will help you to 'Live your Best Life'!

As with any support funding, there are boundaries placed around your spending though.

Your Core Supports budget offers the most flexibility, while the other funds in your plan such as Capacity Building Supports and Capital Supports are pegged to a specific purpose. For the purposes of explaining this Blog I will refer to them as funding buckets.

In most cases, as long as your claims are  'reasonable and necessary' and you have allocated the claim to the correct Supports Category it will be approved. Many families use a plan manager to assist here. This is a very good idea!

Your NEEDS checklist.

Take the test below and see if you can answer 'yes' to all of the following questions.

  • Is this a product or service that you need because of the disability?
  • Does it help you meet the goals in your plan?
  • Is it reasonable value for money?
  • Is there evidence that it works?
  • Is it a support you couldn't get from family or a community service?
  • Is this the right government scheme to fund this support?

 

If you answer YES to these questions there is a very good chance your funding claim will be approved.

I strongly suggest you consult with the NDIS to understanding what is allowable under each ‘Funding Bucket’. This needs to be performed regularly because one month a certain product can be approved then disapproved the next month. There are few things worse than knowing a product is best for you only to find it has been disapproved and you can't access it.

The Use it Or Lose it Rule!

So, what happens if you don't use all of your funding by the end of your plan period?

It's quite simple - You lose it.

If you have leftover funding at the end date of our plan, the funds do not roll over to their next plan. They will go back to the NDIA. 

Your package was originally approved for a reason, you needed the allocation of funding assigned to you, it would be a shame to leave valuable funding on the table. 

I suggest you visit Support budgets in your plan | NDIS for more information.

 Why do I have leftover funding?

There are a number of reasons why you may not have used all your funding. I put it down to the chaos of our lives and the rules that can change from time to time. It is hard to keep up. 

Further it is possible you didn’t really understand what each ‘bucket’ of funds could be used for.

For example, if the NDIS fills your Capital supports bucket with funding for a wheelchair ramp or a hearing aid, you cannot spend this money on anything else.

Your personal or family situation changed.

You may have claimed less informal supports because you or your child spent time in hospital or family members took time off to care for you or your child while they were at a particularly vulnerable time. You were unable to access therapies for your child due to a lack of therapy services in your area or there was no availability for you.

You didn’t understand what and where you could use your funding for.

As noted earlier, when you receive your funding, you may receive up to 3 ‘buckets’ of funding –

A. Core Supports,

B. Capacity Building Supports and

C. Capital Supports.

There is different flexibility for the different supports and use for money from these buckets across other areas.

 

Here are some useful examples:

A. Core Supports: can be used to spend on people and products that help you master your everyday life.

Categories include;

  1. Assistance with Daily Activities like paying for support workers to help you with your daily activities, preparing meals, respite (short term accommodation) and support coordination services.
  2. Consumables like buying everyday items and services related to your disability like continence products, specialised clothing, noise cancelling headphones, sensory overload products, and daily living assistance products.
  3. Assistance with Social & Community Participation for services or products that help improve your social life like support workers to help you in the community, going out to social events and communication apps.
  4. Transport options that help you to travel to work, school or to move freely around the community like Taxis, Ubers, Fuel, and specialised transport services.

 

B. Capacity Building Supports: can be used to spend on all sorts of services to help you or your child to reach longer-term goals and become more independent in life.

Categories include;

  1.  Improved Daily Living for accessing therapies and training programs that help you strengthen your skills like occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy and programs to improve general life skills.
  2. Increased Social and Community Participation for improving your social life like accessing community groups and recreational activities to make new friends such as life skills training and sport or art groups.
  3. Improved Relationships for improving your social skills and building positive relationships with others like accessing specialist behaviour intervention supports and social skills development.
  4.  Improved Health & Well Being for exercise and diet advice to make life with disability easier for you like dieticians, exercise physiology and personal training.
  5. Support Coordination for funding a support coordinator who helps participants turn their plans into practice like paying for a support coordinator or specialist support coordinator.
  6. Improved Life Choices for funding plan managers* to handle all the invoices and paperwork of your plan and how to show you how to make the most of your funding like pay your invoices, help you keep track of your budget and teach you to self-manage your plan
  7. Finding and Keeping a Job for accessing employment-related support, training and assessments that help you find and keep a job like employment related assessment and counselling, individual employment support, support in employment and school leavers employment supports.
  8. Improved Living Arrangements for helping you to find and maintain an appropriate place to live like assistance with accommodation and tenancy obligations.
  9. Improved Learning for helping you to keep learning new things once you have graduated from school like advice and transition from school to higher education and helping you to research and apply for study or training opportunities

 

C. Capital Supports: is funding you can use for larger investments that you or your child need to live your life to the highest quality.

Categories include; 

  1. Assistive Technology for helping you maintain or improve the way you live your everyday life, from moving around to caring for yourself, communicating with others and being active like wheelchairs and other mobility aids, communication technology, orthotics, prosthetics, vehicle modifications and even assistance aids.
  2. Home Modifications  for assisting you to make changes to the structure, layout or fittings of your home, so that you can safely access it and move around comfortably like elevators, ramps and consultations for home modifications.

 

What do I do if I miss the closure date?

Here's what to do when, your Provider hasn’t invoiced you for supports delivered within the start and end plan dates.

If you have received supports that you have not been invoiced for before the end date of your plan, you will not be able to use your funds to pay for these out of future funding plans. 

Your plan provider can assist you with directions on what funding you have available and what it can be used for. It is always a good idea to set up a Schedule of Supports (SOS) with each of your providers. In this way you or your plan manager can allocate your funding in the most beneficial way for you.

 So…what can you do?

It is really important that you explain all of these things at your review so that the LAC can take this into account to get your funding right for the next plan.

It’s OK to ask for help. Ask your plan provider, your LAC, other parents who have been on this journey.

Be prepared by knowing what products and services are available for your child. Just remember what your buckets are and how much you have been allocated and setting realistic time frames for using the funding as needed. Remember …as long as it is ‘reasonable and necessary’ and meets the goals in your plan.

Visit Support budgets in your plan | NDIS .

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need anymore information on 1300 946 745 or hello@disabilityequiponline.com.au.

Live Your Best Life!

Julie-Anne: Founder and Owner - DEO