Carers Australia

The voice for carers across Australia

Disability Information Helpline

The Disability Information Helpline provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of COVID-19.

The Helpline is available from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEDT) by calling 1800 643 787 and can refer people to advocacy, counselling, and other supports they may need.

More information about the Helpline, as well as a range of accessible COVID-19 resources, is available at www.dss.gov.au/disabilityhelp.

NDIS

The Federal Government announced a number of changes to the NDIS to assist participants and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a number of these measures have had different expiry dates and vary between states and territories. Check their official page for regular updates.

Information about the changes to how the NDIS works during the COVID-19 pandemic is available in 12 languages. They have also produced a series of animation and Auslan videos to explain some of the changes.

Alternatives to face-to-face planning meetings are currently in place, with participants able to request a telephone, email or webchat meeting. If you or the person you care for wants a friend, family member or someone to help them with the meeting, they can let the NDIA know when they call. When the person assisting in the planning meeting is in a different location in Australia, the NDIA needs to be informed of their contact details so they can dial them in separately.

NDIS plans can be extended up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support. If the person you care for has a plan review scheduled, the NDIA will still contact them to discuss plan amendments. However, if they are happy with the current plan, a planning meeting will not be necessary. The extended plan will have the same core and capacity building budget funding (excluding capital) that is in their current plan added to the extended plan

The NDIS has also temporarily broadened the flexible approach to low cost Assistive Technology items, including smart devices, to enable continued access to disability supports through telehealth and telepractice. These arrangements will be in place until 28 February 2021.

Funding arrangements are in place to allow NDIS participants in Victoria and New South Wales to claim the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks up until 28 February 2021

It is important to note the Government will continue to monitor conditions in the sector and make adjustments that may be required.

If you do need additional assistance, or NDIS plan funds are low, you can also call 1800 800 110. The NDIA Contact Centre has special teams of planners available to discuss your situation and undertake a plan review if needed.