The NDIS is generally not set up to handle most emergency situations. If you are in a crisis and are in need of urgent or immediate attention, your first port of call should always be the emergency services.
Should you be hospitalised, the majority of your supports covered by the NDIS will likely temporarily cease. The hospital, and therefore the medical system, will pick up the responsibility for your care, which is outside the purview of the NDIA. We have previously covered Supports in Hospital here: Supports in Hospital.
Health services have an obligation to have ‘capabilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities’. This means that the NDIS will not fund supports provided in hospital, as these are expected to be covered by the medical services directly.
Regular supports delivered by an NDIS support worker are generally considered inappropriate for delivering support in a hospital environment, as there may be additional demands like operating specialised equipment that they are not suitable qualified to manage. However, the NDIS may consider funding support workers in a hospital environment to:
Give guidance and training for hospital staff should you have challenging behaviours.
Give specific training to help hospital staff communicate with you if you have complex communication needs.
Should your hospitalisation result in new of differing requirements from the NDIS on your discharge, a NDIS Health Liaison Officer can assist in arranging this. Most new plans in this situation are approved within 30 days of being admitted to hospital.
Should you be impacted by a natural disaster, such as a bushfire, flood, or cyclone, this may impact the supports that you require. This may be because your Assistive Technology needs to be repaired, or you may need to leave your home for a short period of time. As before, should you be in immediate danger, the first contact should always be to the emergency services.
While there are no provisions within the NDIS to add additional funding to plans during emergency situations, your regular funding can be used to fund additional supports or repairs as required. You may wish to consider a change of circumstances should this disruption leave you at risk of exhausting your funding.
Invoices do not need any additional approval at this time. You may wish to discuss the situation with us so that we can ensure these additional invoices are processed without the need to check on their requirement. Assuming there is sufficient funding, we can process invoices during this emergency period.
Assistive Technology is often a more complicated situation. Due to the increased cost, it is more likely that there is insufficient funding available. The NDIS will also only fund any given item once during a plan. You will need to submit a claim to the NDIA to approve a second purchase. This includes items such as mobility scooters, or approved beds and other such equipment.
Emergency situations can be a challenging time, even without having to consider your NDIS Funding. Sometimes, the most important step you can take is to delegate authority to someone else – for example a Support Coordinator or a Nominee – until you are back in a more stable situation.
While the NDIS is not equipped to handle immediate emergency care, it can certainly be there ready for you once you have returned to your regular situation. In the meantime, the relevant emergency services are more than capable to take over your supports while you require them.