Clearing up the confusion around what you can claim
Whether you’re self-managing your plan, or have a plan manager doing it for you, it pays to know the ins and outs of your plan, to avoid having your claims rejected. A good plan manager will help you understand your plan and funding from the outset.
In this blog, we’ll go through the Core Supports Category of your plan and explain what the funding can be used for. That way, you’re in control – and able to confidently show the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) at review time how you’ve used your funds to reach your goals.
Understanding the Price Guide and Support Categories
To understand what you can spend your core budget on, you first need to understand how your support is categorised within your plan. The NDIS Price Guide is the best place to find more info on the support categories. The guide gives you the maximum rates your providers can charge.
For more specific info on individual items you can claim under each category, you can check the new Support Catalogue (found on the Price Guide page linked above).
So, let’s have a better look at your Core Supports.
What are Core Supports?
Core Supports are used to help you complete daily living activities, and to access and participate in your community. Within this category, there are four key areas your funding will fall into:
Assistance with Daily Life
Assistance with Social and Community Participation
Core supports are flexible
This means your funds can be spent on any support items and services within this budget. Funds allocated for Assistance with Daily Life, can also be spent on Consumables (because they both come under Core Supports).
Just remember funding can’t be spent on other items from other categories (the Capital or Capacity Building budgets). So, if you’re unsure or have any questions, your Local Area Coordinator (LAC), Support Coordinator or Plan Manager can help.
1. Core Supports: Assistance with daily life
This part of your plan’s budget is designed to help you live your best life, as independently as possible, including assistance with Supported Independent Living (SIL).
It covers the cost of hiring someone to supervise or support you in undertaking personal care and other activities in your day to day life, while helping you be as independent as possible. This support can be provided in a range of different settings, such as:
Your hotel (while on holiday)
Out in the community (while on a social outing or at work)
At school, TAFE or university
This support includes (but is not limited to):
Transitional Support: payment of rent and utility accounts as a one-off, short term payment where you need assistance to obtain accommodation or secure a tenancy agreement, or assist with co-residency and host-family accommodation.
Help or supervision with self-care tasks: with overnight support if needed for more complex care.
Help or supervision with self-care tasks: from a live-in support worker or one that travels with you, to help you build skills to be as independent as possible.
Help with domestic activities: support to build your ability to maintain your home and yard and be as independent as possible.
Help with personal domestic activities: to plan, cook and eat as independently as possible, or delivery of meals when it isn’t provided by another service (such as part of your living arrangements).
Specialist help at home to care for a child with a complex disability: may provide parents and other informal carers with respite from their caring role to strengthen their ability to continue to provide support.
Overnight, on-call support: to help with or supervision of personal care activities.
Support for essential cleaning duties: that you can’t do yourself.
Linen service: for those unable to do their own laundry without assistance.
Support for a participant with complex needs to stay with a host family: who is qualified to provide in-home care for an agreed time.
Daily living support in shared living situations: where support hours are delivered one-to-one, but divided by the number of people living together (Supported Independent Living).
Integrated support in a centre or group residence: for self-care, accommodation, food, and activities over a 24-hour period for a short stay.
Development of daily living skills: to build your skills to self-manage your plan.
More specific information about this support can be found in the Support Catalogue on the NDIS Price Guides and Information page.
2. Core Supports: Transport
Your transport funding can assist with access to disability supports outside your home, and to pay for transport helping to achieve your goals. This is limited to people who can’t use public transport due to their disability. For examples, have a look at the NDIS Price Guide.
Your transport budget includes:
Specialised transport: that enables you to go to school/university/TAFE /educational facility, and to access employment and the community.
Travel and transport arrangements paid to support workers: who provide transport to one or more participant to or from home so they may access the community, as part of their shift. In this case, the time spent travelling is added onto the shift as additional support hours. If there is more than one participant being transported, the cost is divided by the number of participants.
Travel or transport cost incurred by providers: A reasonable contribution to additional costs, such as the cost of a ticket for public transport, road tolls, parking fees, and running costs of vehicles, can be charged to the participant if they agree but this must be negotiated and outlined in their service agreement. If you don’t have transport funding in your plan, these may be charged as out of pocket expenses to you.
3. Core Supports: Consumables
This support category is designed to help you with costs incurred by purchasing everyday items. More information on these supports can be found in the Assistive Technology and Consumables Code Guide.
Supports you might purchase under this category are:
Assistive products for personal care and safety: incontinence alarms, indwelling catheters, bags, night bottle or bags and change kits, and gel or lubricant. Sheaths, leg bags, drain bags or bottles, straps, adult pull ups, and nappies for a child’s disability specific needs – funded as an annual amount.
Customised prosthetics: low cost assistive technology (AT) for prosthetics and orthotics.
Interpreting and translation: Training in the use of Auslan and other communication techniques; TAFE course fee or equivalent. Services to interpret or translate another language, or telephone or video services to interpret or translate another language or format.
Personal mobility equipment: Low cost AT for personal mobility.
HEN Pump Accessories: Items required for syringe feeding and other consumables. Pump often free on loan, includes gastrostomy, extension tubes, giving sets, containers and syringes. As well as repairs and delivery.
Vision and hearing equipment: Low cost AT to assist people with vision and hearing impairments.
Communication and information equipment: Low cost AT for communication or cognitive support.
Assistance animals and other innovative supports: Assistance dog (including guide dog) and associated costs.
3. Core Supports: Assistance with Social and Community Participation
The purpose of these supports is to allow you to engage in the community and in social and other leisurely activities that are related to your goals. This support can be provided in different settings, such as:
In a centre (usually as a group, but sometimes one-on-one)
In the community (with friends, family, community groups, etc.)
At school, university or other educational facility (to integrate and participate in learning)
If agreed and noted in your Service Agreement, your provider may charge up to four hours in each plan, to document proposed supports and expected outcomes. These reports will help show the NDIA how they have helped you reach your goals – which can help get further funding in your next plan.
How the cost of your Core Support is worked out
The NDIA Support Catalogue lists all the line items for Core Support with the cost for each, depending on whether the support is delivered:
During the day within normal hours
Overnight or in the early morning/evenings
On a weekday, weekend or public holiday
For participants with low, medium or high intensity needs
By providers who are eligible for Temporary Transformation Payments (TTP)
TIP: Before you engage a provider to support you, ask them to draw up a service agreement for you to review. This service agreement will be your contract and outline how they’ll support you.
We hope this makes understanding your Core Supports clearer. If you still have questions, or would like help to understand and manage your budget you might like to engage a Plan Manager.
Read more about the benefits of working with a plan manager. Alternatively, our 100% FREE NDIS Plan Management app, can help you manage your plan. Read more about First2Care’s plan management features.
Over to you
As you can see, the Core Supports are there to support you to live your life as independently and as fully as you can. We’d love to know your experiences. Have you found the claiming process confusing? Or do you have any tips for anyone else? Let us know.