NDIS – How it can work for you!

Navigating the new world of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be a tricky thing! It is a new way of getting supports and works on the premise of a ‘Person Centred Care’ model. The idea of person-centred care is to allow more choice and control for each person with disability. It works on building a plan to create individual agreed goals, with the aim to provide reasonable and necessary supports for people with disability to achieve their goals. This may include increasing independence, community involvement, employment outcomes and improved well-being.

As an insurance scheme, the NDIS takes a lifetime approach, investing in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life. In addition, the NDIS’s objective is to deliver supports that allow for a consistent approach nationally instead of a system that is varied depending on which State you live in. With a single pool of money administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), this enables people with disability to get the supports they need, when they need it.

The most important thing to know is how do you meet the criteria to be eligible for the NDIS. From the perspective of Scleroderma, it is about thinking of the definition of disability. Your GP or Specialist needs to demonstrate the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’ and determine the impact on your daily activities.

Scleroderma, MS and many other illnesses are classed as Medical Conditions, which under the NDIS legislation are not deemed as disabilities.  If you have a restriction or limitation – that is what counts.  The WHY will come in for the question of permanency – and yes, that is Scleroderma. In reflecting on what you do on a daily basis, the considerations of your daily activities such as showering, eating and dressing yourself are what matters and evidence is required on the difficulty of these activities. Other factors to consider are around your limitations of leaving the house, and your participation in the community and employment.

The two main questions on the Access Request Form which your Doctor is required to complete that will provide evidence of your disability are:

  1. What is your primary impairment?
  2. Do you have any other impairments?

Talk to your Doctor, advise them to document your impairments or mobility restrictions. This could include restrictions with walking due to joint contractures and/or skin thickening or toe and leg amputation. As long as it demonstrates that it is an impairment. If you have finger amputations, or hand contractures this will be your impairment to ensure it links to limiting or restricting your daily activities. There are components later in the form to explain how these impact daily living activities, such as assistance with dressing, shopping, cooking etc and will be used to assess your intended supports. The word Scleroderma can be added in question 2, but it cannot be a stand-alone component of an impairment. Adding something like reduced lung capacity which inhibits walking long distance due to Scleroderma might be an example.

When documenting the impact of a person’s disability a GP or other health professional will be asked to write down how your disability impacts your mobility/motor skills; communication; social interaction; learning; self-care; and self-management. It is a good idea to share the Accessing the NDIS Fact Sheet with your GP or Allied Health Professional to assist in your completing your Access Request Form.

Directly from the NDIS website, the legislation states that the NDIA must be satisfied a disability attributes to one or more intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairments or to one or more impairments attributable to a psychiatric condition. Below is another statement from the website:

For the purposes of becoming a participant in the NDIS the focus of ‘disability’ is on the reduction or loss of an ability to perform an activity which results from an impairment. The term ‘impairment’ commonly refers to a loss of, or damage to, a physical, sensory or mental function.

However, the additional criteria to be eligible is that your disability must be permanent, you need to be under 65 when you first enter the NDIS and be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent Visa. You also need to be in an area where the NDIS is being rolled out. Another myth that we need to bust is that a person does not have to be an NDIS participant to receive support from the NDIS. The NDIS will connect people with disability, their families and carers, including people who are not NDIS participants, to disability and mainstream supports in their community.

To find out more about information, visit NDIS or call 1800 800 110.

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