Informal Supports Explained

Everyone needs a strong support network to offer encouragement, provide assistance when needed, offer advice and emotional support, to actively listen, and to have our best interests at heart. For a person living with disability, having that network can be even more important, especially for those who need assistance with their day-to-day activities. No matter who you are, the informal supports in your life can help you feel supported and safe.


Young-boy-in-a-wheelchair-in-the-kitchen-with-his-family-doing-the-dishes
Young boy in a wheelchair in the kitchen with his family doing the dishes

What are informal supports?


Informal supports are unpaid supports that can be provided by family members, friends or people that you know within your community. These supports are considered to be informal because there is no formal agreement in place like a service agreement, and you don’t pay for the support provided.


The informal supports provided by family, friends and your community range from social interactions through to assistance at home or in the community with daily tasks, or going to and from appointments, school, university or work.


Informal Supports and the NDIS


When your NDIS plan is being created, your informal supports will be taken into consideration so the NDIA can understand where the gaps are within your current support network and what kind of funding you may need for formal (or mainstream) paid supports.


Support provided by family and friends is typically regarded by the NDIA an integral part of life for everyone, whether you live with disability or not. Which means, the NDIA does not consider it reasonable and necessary to fund informal supports.


Although the NDIA will generally not fund informal supports, there are some very exceptional circumstances where they may provide funding for religious or cultural reasons or if there is a risk of harm or neglect to the NDIS participant. If you feel you have exceptional circumstances, discuss this with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner during your planning meeting or plan review meeting or you can contact the NDIA on 1800 035 544.


Funding may also be allocated to provide support to families through counselling opportunities related to the disability that the participant lives with and capacity building skills that can be developed within the family in relation to disability and family life.


The NDIA aims to increase the independence for participants while also increasing the sustainability of any family caring arrangements.


What to do if your informal supports change


As with any significant changes in your daily life, if there is a change with your informal supports, you need to let the NDIA know. This can be done by completing a change in circumstances form and contacting the NDIS by emailing enquiries@ndis.gov.au, phoning 1800 800 110 or visiting your local NDIA office in person.


Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or support@first2care.com.au.