27 September 2021
One of the topics we frequently receive questions about as Plan Managers is on short-term accommodation (STA) and respite. With so much to unpack when it comes to STA, we felt it was important to address the top four key questions asked by our Plan Managed participants to ensure a better understanding of STA and how it can work for you. Today, we will be answering the following questions:
• Do I have funding for respite?
• Does STA need to be stated in my plan or included as a goal?
• Can my carer or current supports come with me?
• Can STA be used in a crisis?
What is STA?
Before we can dive into the ins and outs of STA, it’s important to understand what STA is.
Short Term Accommodation (STA) and respite is funding for support and accommodation for a short stay away from your usual home. The NDIA can fund up to 28 days of STA in a plan, which can be used for short stays with other people, or by yourself for up to 14 days at a time.
STA isn’t just about the accommodation. It also includes the cost of your personal care, food and activities which you and your provider have agreed on.
STA can provide you with a fantastic opportunity to access the support you need to increase your independence or develop new skills. It can also provide you and your carers with a well-earned break from each other (because we all need a break sometimes). It’s often funded when your usual carers aren’t available, or for you to try new things.
The NDIA has indicated that they generally fund STA as a group price, unless there is evidence you require individual support due to your disability. This means you may share supports with other people. So, before planning your STA check to see what you’ve been funded for or if it is affordable with the funding provided.
Do I have funding for STA?
The NDIS funds STA under the Core Support category ‘Assistance with Daily Living’ (Category 1). Which means, if you have been funded for ‘Assistance with Daily Living’ you can use that funding for STA or respite. However, it is vital that you ensure that you have enough funding for your day-to-day supports before using that funding on STA or respite.
If there is not sufficient funding and you need STA or respite to be factored into your NDIS plan, it is best to discuss this with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner during your planning or plan review meeting.
If there isn’t enough funding in your plan and you need Short Term Accommodation you can ask for a plan review. The NDIA can include additional funding in your plan to cover Short Term Accommodation if it’s reasonable and necessary.
It is important to note that there is a significant difference between respite and a holiday, and that STA is not a way to use the NDIS to fund a holiday. If a participant is planning to book a hotel, resort or AirBnB, be sure that it is being booked for respite and not a holiday. If you are uncertain, speak with your LAC, Support Coordinator, or our First2Care support team.
Does STA need to be stated in my plan or included as a goal?
No, it doesn’t. If STA or respite isn’t stated in your plan and you have available funding in your Core budget, you can use that funding for a range of supports including STA where it meets the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria.
The NDIA may fund STA with other supports that provide a respite effect, and help your carers keep supporting you in the long-term. They consider the risk and benefits to you and your family’s wellbeing if they continue to support you (without STA).
Can my carer or current supports come with me?
Unfortunately, there is no simple yes or no answer to this question. In most cases, the intention behind providing STA or respite is to give both you and your carer the opportunity to spend some time apart. STA and respite can be useful in preventing carer burn out and provides a chance for the participant to live more independently.
However, there are some situations where there are a lot of formal supports when your carer may be able to go with you. If you are unsure, the best thing to do is consider what is reasonable and necessary under the NDIS and speak with your Support Coordinator, LAC or NDIA planner.
Can STA be used in a crisis situation?
STA is not for housing crisis situations. STA can only be funded where the need relates directly to your disability. In situations where a crisis can occur, such as your carers suddenly can’t care for you, or you’re at risk of harm in your current home, the NDIA can help you work out the best option to meet your support needs.
If you have any further questions about short-term accommodation or respite, you can contact your personal First2Care Client Manager or our Support Team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to your Support Coordinator, LAC, Early Childhood Partner or NDIA planner for more information.