What is the NDIS?

An NDIS will change the way we currently provide disability services. Rather than funding based on historical budget allocations, a funding pool will be based on actuarial assessment of need.
It’s aim is to recognise that disability is for a lifetime, and so it will take a lifelong approach to providing care and support. This means that assessment will look beyond the immediate need, and across the course of a person’s life. For example, home modifications might be expensive up front, but if they afford a person with significant disability the opportunity of greater independence, or if they mean that a parent carer can continue to care for their loved one, it’s a good investment.
Taking a lifelong approach also means focusing on intensive early intervention, particularly for people where there is good evidence that it will substantially improve functioning or delay or lesson a decline in functioning.
Importantly, the idea of the NDIS is to support choice for people with disability, their families and carers, and put people in control of the care and support they receive, based on need. Of course, there will also be safeguards in place to support people in exercising this choice and control, and to help them make informed choices.
The aim of the NDIS is to ensure people are no longer “shut out” from opportunities and from independence by providing the appropriate and necessary supports that allow people with disability to reach their full potential.
How will it improve the lives of people with disability, their family and carers?
An NDIS will look beyond immediate need, and will focus on what’s required across a person’s lifetime. At its core will be:
A lifetime approach – funding is long-term and sustainable. People with disability and their carers will have peace of mind that the individualised care and support they receive will change as their needs change.
Choice and control – people choose how they get support and have control over when, where and how they receive it. For some, there may be the potential to manage their own funding.
Social and economic participation – people with disability will be supported to live a meaningful life in their community to their full potential.
Focus on early intervention – the system will have enough resources and will be smart enough to invest in remedial and preventative early intervention instead of just providing support when a family is in crisis.
Could I be worse off?
With a scheme of this size there is always a possibility that people can be left worse off. The fact that the implementation of the scheme will be over the next 5 years suggests that the government is committed to ensuring that this is not the case. There are trial sites that will help guide the implementation process and the entire process looks to be very consultative. The best thing you can do is to ensure your concerns are voiced at our roundtable meetings so that we can feed this information directly to advisory boards.
Ability Care are committed to advocating for our clients every step of the way through this implementation.
When will the NDIS be implemented?
The first stage of an NDIS will commence from July 2013 in launch sites in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, the Hunter in NSW and the Barwon area of Victoria providing care and support for thousands of people with significant and permanent disabilities.
Governments are building the scheme in selected locations in the first instance to ensure that the implementation of the scheme is informed by feedback from people with disability, their families and carers, and service providers and community organisations.
It is expected that the scheme will be fully implemented by 2018 across the whole country.
Who will be eligible?
An NDIS will work with people who have a permanent disability that significantly affects their communication, mobility, self-care or self-management to ensure that they get the support that is reasonable and necessary to meet their needs. This could include an individual plan and an individually funded package.
Individual support will also be given to people for whom there is good evidence that early intervention would substantially improve functioning (for example, autism, acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy or sensory impairments), and those for whom early intervention will delay or lessen a decline in functioning (for example, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease).
Others will be able to use the scheme to get information about what supports they might be able to use in the community (for example community groups like sporting clubs) and from other government programs such as health, employment support and education.
What kind of supports does the scheme provide?
An NDIS will move away from the crisis model where families only receive support if they are unable to continue in their caring role and there are no other options. Instead, it will work with families before they reach crisis to make sure that the valuable informal care they provide can be sustained.
The list of supports the NDIS would provide include:
•  Aids, equipment, home and vehicle modifications
•  Personal care
•  Community access – to support community inclusion
•  Respite
•  Specialist accommodation support
•  Domestic assistance
•  Transport assistance
•  Therapies
•  Guide and assistance dogs
•  Case management and coordination
•  Specialist employment services
•  Crisis/emergency support
I am a carer. How will an NDIS help me?
A core aim of an NDIS is to better support families in their caring role, and to ensure that role is nurtured and can be sustained.
We know that current system sometimes overlooks the role of family and carers, and doesn’t support long-term, sustainable care.
 What options are available until the NDIS is implemented
Queensland is already rolling out the Your Life Your Choice self-directed support framework that will position Queenslanders for the implementation of an NDIS. This initiative will give people with a disability, their families and carers greater choice and control over the services they receive and who delivers them. You can find out more about this by asking the staff at Ability Care or visit our website at www.abilitycare.org.au
How will Ability Care be supporting me through this process?
There are a number of ways in which Ability Care will be preparing clients for ‘the new world’.

Client Communications – 

We will be providing various platforms for which to deliver information from us to our clients and from our clients to us. This will include blogs, newsletters, reference and focus groups, roundtable discussions, face to face meetings with clients and their families.
Advocacy- Information to emerge from Roundtable and focus group meetings with our clients and the sector as a whole will not only help further develop strategy, but will also be directly fed to advisory committees to ensure our clients voices are heard by those implementing the NDIS.
A white paper is also being developed from the visit that Tony O’Hare and Michelle Costanzo Curd had in the UK that will be provided to advisory committees.
Self Directed Funding – Ability Care is a provider of self-directed funding model, your choice your life.  (Jac to add in info here)

What can I do to have my say?

An NDIS Advisory Group has been established to provide independent advice to the Select Council on Disability Reform. The Advisory Group will be engaging with people with disability, their families and carers, stakeholders and the sector on the foundations necessary for reform and the overall design of an NDIS.
The Government has also funded the National Disability and Carer Alliance to engage with the community and disability sector. As part of the engagement process, the Alliance will develop and organise forums for the community and disability sector to come together about the NDIS.
The Alliance is made up of three peak disability bodies – National Disability Services, Carers Australia and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
Furthermore Ability Care will be hosting ongoing roundtable discussions and focus groups with our clients and their families to not only support you in better understanding this somewhat complex scheme but to ensure your voices are heard and forwarded directly to peak disability bodies.

How can I ensure I stay updated, informed and prepared?

Ability Care is committed to ensuring we stay abreast of any changes, and embrace any opportunities we can to ensure our clients are advocated for during the implementation process.
The full scheme will not be implemented until 2018, which means advocacy will play are large role between now and then. The best way to do this is for us to collectively stay informed about the NDIS and work together to prepare for it. Your attendance at focus groups and roundtables held by Ability Care is one of the best ways to do this, we will also be making information available to you on an ongoing basis in the form of newsletters and blog posts of our website www.abilitycare.org.au.
We also encourage you to take the time to read the Productivity Commission Report, a copy can be  found at http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support/report
Other websites to visit include:
•           www.ndis.gov.au
•           www.nds.org.au
•           www.qld.gov.au/disability