Peter Tully’s tips for receiving NDIS funding with First2Care
Prior to the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), many Australians with a disability, such as Cerebral Palsy like Peter Tully, might have struggled with basic day-to-day tasks that others take for granted.
“Under the old system, I waited 25 years for two hours of support in the middle of the day so I could have a cup of tea and lunch without having to plan it all ahead,” says Peter. “I coped and managed, but I got a letter every year saying there was no funding.
“Unless you were desperate or not coping, you didn’t get any funding. That basically means you couldn’t do anything about it. There were times that I struggled, but they just told me to get on with it.”
As someone with Cerebral Palsy and being 50% deaf, this lack of support made seeking independence very difficult. It meant Peter had to live with his parents until they were in their mid-70s; that is, before his now-wife, Linda, came along and they moved in together.
But Peter is a resilient man, and today he shares with us his thoughts on preparing for the NDIS with success.
Peter’s thoughts on the NDIS and the changing disability sector
While he admits to feeling some uncertainty around the introduction of the NDIS, Peter knew it would be very beneficial.
“From my perspective, I was more excited than fearful of change. I say to people we need to embrace change. We learn things and create new opportunities. If we didn’t embrace change, things would stay the same.”
Peter explains funding under the NDIS is less about how much someone struggles. He considers the NDIS to be much more “reasonable” when it comes to matching needs with desired goals.
And that’s great news for Peter and his family, who require NDIS support as well. Peter’s loving wife of almost 10 years, Linda, has a mild intellectual disability, with their 30-year-old son, Nick, having Cerebral Palsy, a moderate intellectual disability, epilepsy and bipolar.
Peter and Linda’s life as disability advocates
Peter and Linda have been voluntary advocates for people with disability in Ipswich, Queensland since April 2010. As a result, they’re familiar faces across Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and Able Australia (formerly ICA).
Through their community organisation, Disability Community Awareness, Peter and Linda have supported many locals with disability, their families, and carers in a variety of roles. This includes liaising with service providers, the local Councils, and Members of Parliament. The Tullys also provide insight on a one-on-one and group basis, addressing TAFE Colleges, schools, conferences, and motivational events.
What are Peter’s thoughts on First2Care?
Peter first heard about the First2Care platform through a National Disability Services (NDS) forum run in Queensland. It was there that he met First2Care’s CEO, Andrew Wallace. But Peter’s knowledge of the platform was strengthened through QDN.
“The Advocacy field was growing,” says Peter. “I talked to people about it and read more about it. I’m a very big researcher!
“If it wasn’t for one-on-one discussions with Andrew and support, I’ll be honest with you, I would have probably walked away. Once I knew how easy it was (to use) and the concept, it changed my perspective of what the program was trying to do or be capable of doing.”
How can First2Care help with pre-planning meetings?
When it comes to pre-planning meetings, Peter is very familiar with the process involved.
“In my independent role, before I was a peer-to-peer mentor, I probably assisted 20 people in a volunteer capacity. Since I’ve been with QDN, I’ve probably done about 10 or so. Then I’ve done 10 or so with immediate family or friends. That’s nearly 50 pre-planning meetings all up, including my own.”
Having just completed his third pre-planning meeting, First2Care has assisted Peter on both a personal and professional level.
“First2Care has allowed me to document everything I’ve forgotten about since my previous meeting. It allows me to keep a list of the expenses I’ve paid for out of my NDIS funding. It also allows me to think about my future goals and dreams and how they relate to my future life.
“Unless your goals and dreams line up with future life, NDIS won’t fund it.
“When I’m supporting people, First2Care helps me with the data. Once they’re shown how to use the software, it can help them see how they’re going and see the things they might have forgotten. Plus, any additional expenses they might have forgotten to raise in the pre-planning meeting. First2Care covers it. So, when they go to their next meeting, they’ve already got the basic data there.”
Peter acknowledges some people prepare for meetings by typing everything up in a Word document, which he says “works just as well.” However, he says First2Care has two key benefits.
“The first benefit is that it has all the basic questions and areas to prompt you as you’re thinking about it. The second benefit is, depending on the current plan, you can document the things you might missed and update your ‘Future Life’ (called ‘My Life Now’). If you don’t have a program, then you have to do it all manually.
“(With First2Care), you’ve got basic prompting to guide you through the plan review meeting. Every year, my funding has increased because I’ve worked hard to talk about my future life and made sure my goals and dreams relate to it. As long as it’s reasonable and necessary, the NDIS has funded the support required.”
How valuable is a tool like First2Care to prepare for the NDIS?
Peter highlights people are often fearful about their pre-planning meetings.
“They’re meeting a complete stranger, and then all of a sudden have to talk about their whole life and future life. You’re entering an unknown zone.
“First2Care allows you to document and be ready for your pre-planning meeting. Then, if you want to, you can send a summary to your Planner before the meeting. It gives them a summary of the participant they’re doing the pre-planning meeting with. The participant can also go in there with a printed copy to prompt themselves when having the discussion.”
“If you send it in beforehand and have printed out, it minimises the fear or uncertainty or unknown. It breaks down some of the barriers.”
Peter’s final piece of advice
Don’t be worried if you haven’t used all your NDIS funding from the previous plan.
“Under the old system, if you didn’t use the money from your previous funding from the Government there was a big possibility you could get less next time. Under the NDIS, your plan for the year is based on your goals and dreams,” says Peter.
“There’s nothing wrong with not using all your funding as long as you can explain to the planner why you didn’t use it all. For example, you couldn’t find the right service provider.”
Over to you
What are your experiences with preparing for pre-planning sessions? Have you felt organised or unsure if you’ve collected enough data beforehand? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Have a review coming up? Walk into that meeting with confidence. Sign up for our free NDIS pre-planning tool today.