We get lots of questions about what short-term accommodation funding covers, when you can ask for it and how you can use it. Here’s our short-term accommodation guide to help explain what it’s all about.
What is short-term accommodation?
Short-term accommodation is support for when you need to live out of home for a short time.
This could be to give carers a break from their caring role, known as ‘respite’, or it may help you out if your usual support network isn’t available for a short period.
A short stay away from home also gives you a break, as well as the chance to try new things, make new friends or develop new skills.
What does short-term accommodation include?
Despite the name, short-term accommodation isn’t just about the accommodation, it also involves the support you receive while staying there. This means it also covers:
- personal care
- activities you and the provider agree to.
Depending on the provider, activities might include art therapy sessions, group fitness activities, or day trips.
Short-term accommodation in your NDIS plan
The NDIS funds short-term accommodation under the Core Support category ‘Assistance with Daily Living’. The NDIS will decide if short-term accommodation is reasonable and necessary for you (and the amount of short-term accommodation funding you might get in your plan), depending on the level of support you require, the informal supports you have, your living situation and your goals.
Examples could be:
- Someone with high support needs, whose informal supports (like a family member) need a break (respite care). This helps to make the informal supports sustainable.
- Someone who wants to build their independence, so time away from their usual support network lets them work on their skills in a new environment.
- A young person with goals around increasing their community participation, who would benefit from attending a school holiday camp. This may also benefit their informal supports who may need to work in the school holidays.
Usually the NDIS will fund a maximum of 28 days of short-term accommodation per year. Short-term accommodation funding is flexible, so you can choose whether you want to use it all at once, or spread it out over the year.
There are standard rates for short-term accommodation in the NDIS Price Guide.
Generally funding is for a group price, which means you may share supports with other people unless you need individual support because of your disability.
If you already have funding in your core budget, you can use this for short-term accommodation.
The NDIA may fund other supports, like medium-term accommodation, if you need longer term accommodation support.
Getting short-term accommodation included in your plan
If you want your plan to include funding for short-term accommodation, you will need to ask your NDIA planner or LAC at your planning meeting or review.
In this meeting, you should explain how much support you need and bring as much ‘evidence’ as you can. The NDIS generally requires a lot of evidence to give you short-term accommodation funding. This could be a report from a therapist about how short-term accommodation could benefit you, or a letter from your informal support person, explaining their role and why respite care would help them. You can also explain how staying in short-term accommodation will help you towards achieving your goals, for example if you have goals around becoming more independent or participating in the community more.
You can take any information that makes it easier for the NDIS to understand your situation and why it’s reasonable and necessary for you to use short-term accommodation.
Finding a short-term accommodation provider
There are many specialised short-term accommodation providers, ranging from small homes to larger, hotel-style facilities. The services and supports they offer can be very different. Take your time to research what’s available and which STA providers meet your specific support needs. We have some tips on finding and choosing providers.
If you have a plan manager, you can use non-registered providers, but sometimes these options are not the good value that they may seem. This is because they usually don’t include supports, so you would need to pay extra for these. Make sure you take this into account when you’re comparing prices.
Remember, the NDIS looks at value for money, so if you wanted to use non-registered accommodation, you need to be able to show that the level of accommodation you’ve chosen is required for your situation. It might be difficult to explain why a five-star resort is required … and using a lot of your funding for accommodation would have a significant impact on your budget.
Using your short-term accommodation budget
The best and easiest way to use your short-term accommodation budget is with a specialised provider which delivers all your accommodation, meals, care/support and activities into one invoice.
But it is possible to claim accommodation, food and activity costs separately for short-term accommodation, as long as it still comes under the maximum daily limit.
Accommodation for support workers can be covered under short-term accommodation, within the maximum daily amount. But if you go away with informal support people, you can only claim your share of the accommodation under short-term accommodation.
Short-term accommodation is not intended for holidays: the support must relate to your disability. If the support will help you to achieve their goals and participate in the community, it’s a good idea to have some supporting information in case you need to show why you spent your funds that way.
We’re here to help
If you need some guidance on understanding and using short-term accommodation funding, get in touch and we’ll help you out. That’s what we’re here for!