Who are Carers?

Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, a serious long-term illness, a terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. Carers help and support the person they care for with daily activities, emotional, social and financial support. Carers of NDIS participants, most likely care for someone with a significant and permanent disability who is under the age of 65 years. 

Why do we need to know about the NDIS?

It is important for carers to understand and be prepared for the NDIS. Participants of the scheme, are now offered choice and control over the way they purchase and receive  their support needs, through individual packages of support. This is different to the previous block funded model, where service providers tendered for government funding to help groups of people.

The NDIS recognises that Carers play an important role in supporting a person with disability, and the wellbeing of the family is taken into account when putting together a plan for participants. Carers can support the person they care for prepare for the NDIS by ensuring:

  • The person they care for is supported to access the NDIS
  • The person they care for receives support that is reasonable and necessary, and right for their situation
  • You, as the carer of a person with disability who is eligible for the NDIS, receives the appropriate amount of support to continue in your role as someone's primary carer.

What supports are available?

The NDIS funds ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports that help a person with disability to reach their goals and increase their social and economic participation. The types of services vary depending on each individual’s needs.

For a support to be deemed ‘reasonable and necessary’ it must:

  • Be related to the participant’s disability
  • Be likely to be effective and beneficial to the participant
  • Take into account informal supports provided by families, carers and the community

What is not included under the NDIS?

The NDIS does not fund services such as education, income support, housing, employment, public transport or health services because these types of services are referred to as ‘mainstream services.’ However, the NDIS will support people with disability to connect to these types of services.

Please follow the link to understand how the NDIS works with other mainstream services: https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-and-other-government-services

Can a carer join the NDIS?

Carers cannot join themselves unless they too meet the NDIS eligibility requirements of having a permanent and significant disability, please see the NDIS Access Checklist below. However, in a caring capacity, they can benefit from the supports the person with disability receives, both directly and indirectly.

Please follow the below links for NDIS information on:

Families and Carers: https://www.ndis.gov.au/families-carers.html

NDIS Access Checklist: https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-i-eligible

Are there supports available to carers outside of the NDIS?

Yes, there are a range of supports available to carers including respite support, counselling, education and training, peer support and advocacy. For information call the National Carer Advisory Line on 1800 242 636

What happens if the person I care for is not eligible for the NDIS?

If the NDIA determines a person with disability to be ineligible to participate in the scheme, that person cannot receive funded supports through the NDIS. However, the person with disability or their carer can contact the NDIS for support through the Information, linkages and capacity (ILC) building programme for referral and other support options. 

Please follow this link to NDIS information on continuity of support: https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/people-receiving-supports-other-governments/continuity-support

If you disagree with an NDIS decision regarding your eligibility, you can request an internal review. This can simply be stated to the NDIA or you can complete their respective form.

Being advised you are not eligible, may be due to a mistake in completing the access request form by either yourself, the GP or specialist(s). Requesting an internal review is an important consideration where you believe you or the person you care for, meets the criteria to become a participant of the scheme. You may wish to seek advocacy in your state or territory to support you through this process.

NDIA Internal review process: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/reasonable-and-necessary-supports/decision-review.html

Can we appeal if the person I care for is found ineligible?

A person with disability or their nominee, who is not satisfied with a decision made by the NDIA can apply to have their case looked at again. This application needs to be made within three months of the initial decision. If the person is still not happy with the decision after the review, they can then apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The administrative appeals tribunal: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/how-review-planning-decision

How do I find mainstream services that aren’t funded under the NDIS?

This is the role of the Local Area Coordinators and Early Childhood Early Intervention access partners who have partnered with the NDIA. These models of support are currently being rolled across Australia in stages. Please refer to the NDIS in your area or call the NDIA 1800 800 110 for more information on when these models are operational in your region.

The NDIS may also pay for supports to build the capacity of the person with disability to use mainstream services. For example, training people with disability on how to use public transport. Please contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 for more information.

Where can I find rules or guidelines about the NDIS?

The NDIS has Operational Guidelines to assist the NDIA in making decisions or recommendations about people with disability, their families and carers. These Guidelines are based on the NDIS Act. The NDIS Rules and Guidelines also refer to the ways that carers can be involved in the assessment and planning process. 

Some of these guidelines refer directly to carers for example The Planning and Assessment Operational Guidelines state that ‘the role of families and carers should be considered and respected.’