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Flex it! Six ways to use your Core Supports budget flexibly

A happy man tends to his indoor house plants.

Did you know your Core Supports budget might be able to fund a cleaner, Short Term Accommodation (STA), wheelchair repairs, assistive technology, or even a meal delivery service? And that’s just for starters!

Depending on your disability, and its impact on your daily life, there’s an abundance of support you may be able to access through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), without dipping into your personal savings.

In the NDIS, Core Supports funding is designed to help you with daily activities. While participants typically use it to pay support workers to assist with everyday tasks like household chores or going to appointments, it has the flexibility to cover much more.

This means that, within your Core Supports budget, you can move money from one category to another (with some exceptions that you can find here). While you can’t move funding across your NDIS plan, within the Core Supports ‘bucket’ there’s a great deal of flexibility – if spending aligns with your disability, plan and goals. If you’re not quite sure, just ask your plan manager, support coordinator, NDIA planner or Local Area Coordinator (LAC).

Here’s six ways you might be able to spend your Core Supports funding. Read on – then give us a call to see if these might work for you!

1. House and yard maintenance

Disability can create barriers to everyday tasks like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, or fixing a broken cupboard, and the cost of hiring a cleaner, gardener or handyman can quickly add up.

The good news is, you can claim these supports out of Core Supports funding if your inability to complete the tasks alone is related to your disability, and if the supports meet the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) reasonable and necessary criteria.

2. Short Term Accommodation (STA), including respite

STA is accommodation at a different place to your usual home. You can access STA funding (in the right circumstances) for up to 14 days at a time, for a total of 28 days per year.

The cost of your STA – personal care, accommodation, food, and activities you and the provider agree to – may be able to be covered by your Core Supports budget.

STA can be used for a short stay away from home, to make new friends, develop new skills or try new things. It can also be used for respite, which can help participants and their informal supports take a break, with the aim of maintaining current living arrangements.

You can find more information about STA here and here.

3. Meal preparation

If you have a support worker who assists you with cooking and serving your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they can’t come in for a while – or if you’re just looking to become a little more independent at home – you may be able to use your Core Supports funding to have meals prepared and delivered to your door.

If meal preparation isn’t specifically written into your NDIS plan, but it meets the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria, it can be claimed from Core Supports funding for 90 days. After that time, you’ll need written approval from an NDIA planner to continue claiming meal preparation, or you might need to submit a change of circumstances or undergo a plan reassessment.

Last year, the NDIS made it easier for participants to access meal preparation support. Find out more here.

If meal preparation isn’t included in your plan but you’re keen to explore your options, give us a call on 1800 861 272 from 8am-6pm (SA time), Monday to Friday, and we’ll assist you.

4. Low-cost assistive technology

Assistive technology is equipment or devices that help you do things you can’t do – or are limited in doing – because of your disability. Using assistive technology can help you to do those tasks more easily or more safely.

There are thousands of products on the market to make your daily life simpler, like adaptive cutlery, non-slip bathmats, laundry and washing line adaptors, and medication management devices. If assistive technology costs less than $1500, it can often be claimed through your Core Supports funding – but check first!

Like all NDIS supports, assistive technology must meet the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria. If you’re not sure if the NDIS will fund a support you want to purchase, here are five questions to help you find out. You can also visit the NDIS website for further advice.

5. Disability related health supports

If they help you to participate in everyday activities, you may be able to use your Core Supports funding for a range of disability related health supports.

Specified by the NDIA within the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, these supports – while medical in nature – may be funded when they directly relate to disability:

Support typeWhat it isExample/s
Dysphagia supportsSupports for participants who have trouble eating, drinking, or swallowing.Meal management and planning, pumps, tubes, and antibacterial wipes.
Respiratory supportsSupports for participants who require support to assist them to breathe.Coughing assistance machine.
Nutrition supportsSupports for participants who require support to enable them to eat.Liquid nutrition products.
Diabetes management supportsSupports for participants who require assistance to manage their diabetes.Funding for a support worker to be trained in the delivery of blood sugar testing.
Continence supportsSupports for participants who need assistance with continence.Absorbent pads, nappies, wipes.
Wound and pressure care supportsSupports for participants who require assistance to manage wounds or ongoing loss of feeling in their body.Dressings, barrier creams.
Podiatry supportsSupports for participants who need assistance to develop and implement a care plan to support their feet, ankles, and lower limbs.Assistance by a podiatrist to fit custom orthotics.
Epilepsy supportsSupports for participants who require help to manage seizures.Seizure monitoring devices.

There are a range of supports that may relate to disability but are more appropriately funded by the health system. Some examples include end of life/palliative care, direct care supports accessed within a hospital, and emergency electrical generators.

6. NDIS training

You may have heard, or even experienced yourself, that the NDIS can sometimes be complex, time-consuming and difficult to understand. This can be true, but at My Plan Manager – your NDIS un-complicator – we’re focused on making the Scheme easier for our clients to navigate, so they can achieve the outcomes they’re after.

Time and again we hear from NDIS participants who are struggling to understand how to get bang for their NDIS buck and feeling unsure about where to find the providers who can support them to build their capacity so they can manage their funding and their lives.

They want expertise to ensure they use their plans well and make every dollar count so they can achieve their goals that much faster.

We’ve listened, and Kinora – our free online community of solutions – has created training to empower NDIS participants to manage their plans and their providers, right from the start of their NDIS journey.

Kinora’s capacity building training will show you how to use and maximise your NDIS plan funding and how to find and engage the right providers for you. The cost of the training is $210, and the great news is it may be funded by your Core Supports budget if it’s in accordance with your plan.

Click here to learn more.

We’re here to help

Here’s some more information from us about your Core 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 Core Supports (and wider 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.
© My Plan Manager 2020
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