Tips for Accessing Supports During Lockdown

5 August 2021


Although being in lockdown can be stressful, it’s important to know that you are not alone. The NDIS is an essential service, which means you will continue to be supported throughout the duration of the lockdown. Some adjustments may need to be made to some of your NDIS supports, for example extra COVID safety precautions, online classes instead of in person, work from home etc., however you can continue to access your supports and work towards your goals.

Tip #1 – Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is why you can access PPE like face masks, face shields and gloves through your NDIS plan. This is particularly important for anyone who received face-to-face supports as this can help to keep both you and your service provider safer.

If you receive an average of at least one hour of face-to-face Assistance with Daily Life support per day from a support worker, you can access up to $50 of PPE each week from their PPE allocated budget to use when your support worker is supporting you. If you have a reasonable and necessary need for PPE when your support worker is supporting you, but that support is less than the above mentioned one hour minimum per day, you can still access PPE through your Core Support budget.

Tip #2 – Meals and Shopping

If lockdowns and restrictions are preventing you from being able to do essential shopping or your support worker cannot help you prepare your meals, you may be able to use your NDIS Core Supports funding to have meals delivered to your door.

Meal preparation and delivery* must be an existing approved support included in your plan. If you have this funding approved, lockdown periods are the perfect time to utilise this finding to have meals prepared and delivered.

The breakdown of meal prep and delivery vs. ingredient cost varies depending on the provider. Usually, approximately 70% of the meal price can be paid for through your NDIS plan, with the other 30% paid out-of-pocket. Plan managed clients can access a broader range of meal prep and delivery services, including unregistered providers such as YouFoodz.

You can continue to support your local cafes and restaurants by picking up a treat like a coffee, pastry or salad, and following safety measures like social distancing, checking in and wearing a face mask. You can easily find cafes and restaurants that are open during lockdown by checking their social media accounts, or through useful websites like CafeSmart!

CafeSmart is a new initiative by homelessness advocacy group StreetSmart, which includes lots of ways you can support local cafes. You can donate the cost of a coffee, or look at a map of all the cafes in your area that are open during lockdown. All participating cafes donate $1 per coffee purchase to helping fight homelessness and supporting people experiencing homelessness.

For more information about the CafeSmart program, visit streetsmartaustralia.org/cafesmart

Tip #3 – Essential Providers

Most service providers are considered essential workers and are allowed to continue to work throughout the lockdown. Alongside those who provide support work, therapy support, and other health or social assistance support to people with disability, gardeners and cleaners are also considered essential for participants who have a reasonable and necessary need for this type of support.

Some providers (and participants) may have concerns around the restrictions laid out by the government and how that may impact a provider’s ability to deliver that essential support. It is recommended that providers have proof of their appointment that clearly states that they are delivering an essential service to a person with disability to help prevent any interruption to their ability to provide support.

Tip #4 – Get Creative

Being in lockdown can be difficult for a number of reasons, one of those is the effect it can have on your mental health. This is why it is so important to ensure that you are maintaining positivity in your day-to-day life by doing things that you enjoy. Of course, we understand that you may not be able to interact with others in person, or attend your weekly dance class or sporting event, however, there are plenty of options that are now available virtually.

Things like virtual tours and concerts, cooking, meditation, and exercise classes, watching animals at the zoo, and so much more all available online. And, if your NDIS goals relate to building your social skills and engaging more within your community, you may even be able to use your funding to pay for some online classes or lessons.

Some of our favourite virtual options:

Victoria Zoo: Animals at Home (Live)
Taronga Virtual Zoo Lessons
Exercise Options (something for everyone)
Friendline
Online resources for kids

Tip #5 – Plan Management

Lockdown may cause some interruption to your supports. However, with plan management, participants have more choice and control over who they engage as part of their support team. This is because plan managed participants have access to both registered and unregistered providers. Thankfully, the NDIS have made it easier for participants to switch to plan management during the pandemic.

We want to make sure that all out Plan Managed participants always feel informed and supported, especially during the ups and downs of this pandemic. Please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly support team on 1300 322 273 or email support@first2care.com.au if you have any questions.

Tip #6 – You are not alone

This is less of a tip and more of a reassurance – you are not alone. If you are having a difficult time, whether it is because of the lockdown of for any other reason, help is always available. We have listed some organisations you can reach out to if you need someone to talk to.

Lifeline – 131 114
Lifeline is a national charity that provides every Australian access to a 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service.

Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
Beyond Blue is an independent Australian non-profit organisation that works to address issues associated with depression suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental health needs.

First Nations Dedicated Support Line - 1800 959 500
https://supportact.org.au/get-help/first-nations-support-2/ First Nations Dedicated Support Line has 24-hour support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The counsellors create a culturally safe space to express feelings of anxiety, depression, substance use, finance issues, and any other worries or concerns.

Domestic Violence support – 1800 737 732
Domestic Violence support offers a 24-hour national sexual assault, and family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experience or who may be at risk of family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

National Debt hotline – 1800 007 007
National Debt hotline is a non-profit service that can assist Australians who are struggling financially to manage their debt problems.

If you are one of our First2Care Plan Managed Participants, we want you to know that we are here for you. We will continue to operate during our normal hours and ensure that invoices are paid on time. If you would like to contact our friendly team, you can do so via 1300 322 273 or by emailing support@first2care.com.au.

*First2Care made a mistake in our original Tips for Accessing Support during Lockdown, saying that the NDIS will pay for meal delivery such as Uber Eats, which is rarely the case. We apologise for any confusion this may have caused. We do not recommend accessing meal preparation and delivery using your NDIS funding if it’s not already approved within your plan.