As a carer, you play a vital role in the life of someone living with disability, whether it’s helping with daily activities, or giving emotional, social and financial support. Because of your hands-on role, you have first-hand knowledge of the challenges experienced by the person with the disability. You may also have a full understanding of the level of care required, and what supports they need so they can live life to their full potential.
How carers are involved in the NDIS
The level of involvement you have in the NDIS will depend on the disability of the person you care for, and how much involvement they would like you to have, or how well they can make decisions, communicate and manage the plan themselves. Some carers will need to make all the decisions on behalf of the person they care for, and be fully involved in the NDIS process.
As a carer, you can offer valuable insight and knowledge during the NDIS planning process to help the person you care for receive the supports they need to reach their goals. You may also help to make sure that the NDIS plan is managed appropriately, that there are regular reviews, and be responsible for initiating any internal reviews, if needed. Scheduled plan reviews occur every 24 months. However, a review may occur earlier if your circumstances change.
Caring for someone with a disability is an enormous responsibility, especially performing the caring role while looking after other family members, or even while working or studying. Navigating the NDIS to make sure the person you care for gets the right supports adds to this responsibility and may feel overwhelming – but you’re not alone.
While the NDIS plan focuses on the person you care for, the types of supports in the NDIS plan may also have direct or indirect benefits for you as a carer. These may include:
- family support and counselling
- building skills and capacity of other family members to help manage how disability affects family life
- supports that increase the participant’s independence, and ability for the participant to enjoy social and community activities independent of their carers
- supports to help with the role of caring, such as personal care and domestic help related to the person’s disability
- a support worker to be included in family outings to help the person with disability, especially if the family has other children
- access to respite care to give carers a break from their caring responsibilities.
Carers can also access support through other agencies, including:
- Department of Social Services (DSS)
- Carer Gateway
- Young Carers Network
- Department of Human Services (Centrelink)
Caring for someone with mental illness
A person with a permanent psychosocial disability that substantially reduces their capacity to perform every day activities may be eligible for NDIS funding.
Getting support for your child
Children under 7 years old, who have a developmental delay or disability, may also be eligible for funding. Under the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach, Early Childhood Partners can provide help, advice and access to early interventions and support for children.