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10 ways to use your Capacity Building Supports funding

Four children dressed in Scouts uniforms are on a camp in the bush.

Do you have Capacity Building Supports funding, but no idea how to use it?

Are you wondering how to spend your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) dollars on things that will get you closer to living the independent life you’re after?

If this sounds like you, read on!

Although it’s less flexible than the Core Supports component of your NDIS plan, your Capacity Building Supports budget can still play a key role in helping you to achieve your goals.

From camps to horse riding, a tablet to an art program – or even training to help you apply for an NDIS funding increase – this package of supports is can help you build your independence without dipping into your personal savings.

Unlike Core Supports funding, the money in your Capacity Building Supports budget can’t be moved across categories. For example, if you want to claim a recreational activity like soccer lessons out of the Increased Social & Community Participation category, then that category needs to be included in your NDIS plan.

Not every category is automatically included in every plan, so talk to your National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or about what can and can’t be added to yours.

Importantly, the supports you claim have to be related to your disability and the goals in your plan, and they need to meet the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria.

Check out our NDIS funding explained resource, which unpacks each NDIS budget (including Capacity Building Supports) and the categories within it. You’ll see there are lots of categories within a Capacity Building Supports budget, and we’ve highlighted a few that might be suitable for you!

1. Activities like camps, art programs and horse riding

Your funding may cover the cost of community participation activities like sports coaching, camps, club registration fees, and art programs.

The Increased Social & Community Participation category may also cover activities like horse riding and kindergym for participants with a specific interest, where cost is a blocker but pursuing their passion with the support of the NDIS could help them to get out and about in their local community.

2. Traditional and non-traditional therapies

Increased Social & Community Participation funding may also cover a range of therapists to support you to grow your capacity in different areas. For example, an occupational therapist can provide strategies for use at home, such as developing a morning routine, or they might recommend assistive technology you can use in the kitchen to make cooking easier.

You can also utilise this category to fund approved but less traditional therapies, like art or music therapy, for children and adults with a range of disabilities.

3. A tablet

If your disability means you have an increased need to access allied health sessions and other appointments online, to communicate via technology, or to undertake capacity building training remotely, you may be able to use the funding in your Improved Daily Living category to purchase a tablet.

To do this, you’ll need to gain written evidence from your therapist that shows the need for the device is directly related to your disability. There are very specific rules around the evidence required to support the purchase of tablets, so it’s always best to speak with us first to make sure any future claim for reimbursement can be processed.

The NDIS provides more information about assistive technologies here.

4. Functional capacity assessment reports to gain increased funding

If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough funding in your NDIS plan to meet your support needs, you may be able to use your Improved Daily Living budget for a functional capacity assessment.

Functional capacity assessments are typically conducted by an occupational therapist and can be provided to the NDIA as evidence that you need more support.

This is often useful when your needs have changed. For example, you may need more funding in your Core Supports budget so you can access more support hours.

You can find out more about functional capacity assessments here.

5. Assistance with daily planning, budgeting, and navigating the rental market

In the current economy and amid the tight rental market, everyone could use a little advice in the area of finance and understanding the complexities of finding a home. Some participants have used their Improved Daily Living funding to claim supports from providers who can assist them to set up a personal budget to keep track of money.

There are also providers who can support you to develop daily planning skills that assist with decision-making and may help you to meet your plan goals by exploring your housing options and finding and keeping a home. They may be able to support you to view rental properties, understand rental agreements or tenancy contracts, and know what questions to ask real estate agents or landlords.

6. Assistance with finding and keeping a job

If disability is a barrier to the job market, Finding & Keeping a Job funding may cover the cost of a support worker to assist you with writing a resume, preparing for interviews or developing skills required to gain employment, like computer literacy and administration.

7. Improved health and wellbeing

If there’s a goal in your NDIS plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but your ability to cook nutritious meals independently is a sticking point, the NDIS may be able to fund supports under the Improved Health & Wellbeing category to assist and teach you in the kitchen. Or it might fund a dietician, so you can learn about nutrition and develop a personalised meal plan, or a personal trainer to help you increase and maintain fitness, strength and ability.

Again, having these supports funded depends on your current budget categories, the goals in your NDIS plan, and whether they meet the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria.

8. Improved learning

The NDIS doesn’t cover school or university fees, textbooks or other curriculum-based items, but by accessing Improved Learning funding you might be able to cover the cost of supports that enable you to attend and complete your studies.

This might include occupational therapy to help you to develop study skills or supports to assist you with getting to lectures or classes, participating in study groups or contributing to group assignments.

9. Training for parents and carers

Some of our clients have used funding in the Improved Daily Living category to claim training for parents, carers, and support workers. Examples include training in understanding challenging behaviours, non-verbal communication skills, and supported decision making.

If you have a family member who’s an NDIS participant, check out the relevant disability peak bodies for courses and workshops, or ask your support coordinator or LAC for ideas.

The NDIS can fund up to six hours of shadow shifts to train those supporting NDIS participants with complex needs, including people with limited communication or behaviour support needs, or those who are supported by procedures such as ventilation.

10. Improved relationships

Even if you value independence over everything, as human beings we’re wired and evolved to connect with each other. Relationships are important for growing our sense of self worth and belonging, giving us confidence, and helping us to feel less alone – which is vital for our mental health.

If disability creates a barrier to relationships, you may be able to use the Improved Relationships category funding to see a psychologist, learn how to read socials cues and body language (which comprises more than 50 per cent of all communication), or develop social skills to enjoy having conversations and spending time with other people.

We’re here to help

Here’s some more information about the Capacity Building Supports budget – including the different categories within it. And here’s our NDIS funding explained resource, which unpacks each NDIS plan budget and the categories within them.

If you have any questions about how to use your NDIS funding, we’re here to help. You can call us on 1800 861 272 from 8am-6pm (SA time), Monday to Friday, or email us at [email protected].

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My Plan Manager acknowledges the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

My Plan Manager acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.
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