For the 4.3 million people living with disabilities in Australia, access to necessary care and services can be difficult to manage on their own.
Through a unified approach, state and territory governments are committed to supporting people living with disabilities to maximise their potential and participation in the community.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), people living with disabilities can afford and coordinate the support they need so their skills and independence can improve.
To answer some questions and concerns about the NDIS, MePACS offer a guide to navigating the scheme and demonstrate how a personal alarm can assist with greater independence.
What is the NDIS and what does it stand for?
The NDIS is a national program that is tailored towards the individual, providing support, better coordination and access to necessary care and support services for people living with disabilities.
The NDIS was introduced by the Australian Government in 2013 – beginning with a trial stage known as the NDIS Launch – and then rolled out across Australia from July 2016.
National: The NDIS is being introduced across all states and territories.
Disability: The NDIS supports people living with physical, intellectual, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities, who meet a list of eligible criteria.
Insurance: The NDIS ensures people born with a significant or permanent disability will get the help they need.
Scheme: The NDIS helps its participants improve their lives through developing skills and independence.
Am I eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
You are eligible to apply for NDIS funding if you are under 65 years of age, are an Australian citizen or resident or permanent visa holder, and have a permanent or significant diagnosed disability.
A permanent disability means the disability is most likely to last a lifetime, whereas a significant disability has a substantial impact on completing everyday activities.
The NDIS website has a list of questions to help you determine your eligibility:
- Are you aged between 7 and 65?
- Do you live in Australia and have Australian residency?
- Do you usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
- Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
- Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?
If you are eligible for the NDIS, you will be asked to make an Access Request so the application for NDIS funding can begin.
Once approved, the next step is creating an NDIS Plan, which includes outlining individual goals and how you will achieve them with the help of a Support Coordinator. A Support Coordinator will assist you to implement the funded supports in your NDIS plan, linking you to community, mainstream and other government services.
How can an NDIS Plan be managed?
NDIS plans can be either self-managed, plan managed or managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
Self-Managed NDIS Fund
The person with a disability will organise their NDIS funding themselves.
Plan Managed Funds
A Plan Manager will organise payments to necessary providers within the NDIS Plan on behalf of their client. Instacare, Maple, Plan Partners and My Plan Manager are all registered plan management providers that can ensure timely payments for you.
NDIA Managed Funds
Payment is made directly from NDIA to necessary providers on the NDIS participant’s behalf.
What is NDIS funding and what can it be used for?
The funding provided by the NDIS falls under the following categories:
Core Supports help you with everyday activities, items, participating in social and community events and transport. All of these are centred towards your NDIS plan, and what kinds of goals you want to achieve – such as going to work, maintaining household cleaning or buying low-cost equipment to help improve your independence and/or mobility.
Capacity Building Supports
Capacity Building Supports help build your independence and skills to reach long-term goals, such as improving relationships, living arrangements, an education or your health and wellbeing. Funding can only be used in a certain category, and not shared between them as individual supports must be approved.
Capital Supports help afford assistive technologies, equipment and home or vehicle modifications that may be more expensive and need higher investment. These funds can only be used for a specific purpose.
Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks they were previously unable to, or had great difficulty accomplishing – wheelchairs provide mobility for those who cannot walk, while assistive eating devices can enable people who cannot feed themselves to do so.
People living with disabilities can also find they feel safer engaging in social groups with assistive technology, and increase their independence in the home or wider community for longer without significantly increasing household expenses such as a 24hr carer.
Funding for a MePACS personal alarm comes under assistive technologies in capital support, which can include equipment for mobility, personal care, communication and inclusion in recreational activities. Personal alarms can also help vulnerable people stay independent at home or assist carers to manage risk for their loved one.
What is MePACS?
MePACS is one of the leading providers in Australia for Personal Alarms. For over 30 years, 40,000 customers have trusted MePACS to keep them safe. We’re backed by an Australian Healthcare provider and all our profits go back into public health and research. We pride ourselves on excellent customer care and looking after the welfare of our clients.
MePACS are an authorised NDIS provider for personal alarms which fall under the Assistive Technology or Consumables funding categories. If your goals are centred on independence and social inclusion, a MePACS alarm will help you achieve those goals and should be included in your plan.
Why would an NDIS participant want a MePACS Personal Alarm?
If an NDIS participant is injured, unwell or does not feel safe, a MePACS personal alarm can assist them to signal for help if they are alone, cannot contact a carer or are out in the community.
A MePACS personal alarm is worn either as a pendant around the neck, or on a band around your wrist.
At the press of the button, an operator from our 24/7 monitoring service will respond within two minutes and ask if help is required, then arrange the required assistance from a carer or ambulance service.
MePACS offer both home and mobile alarms to give clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing help is always available, whether they are at home or out and about. This supports people with disabilities whose goal is to increase community engagement.
In the disability sector, MePACS also supports disability workers with a duress alarm, which allows them to signal for help for themselves or their client.
MePACS personal alarms are used by people from all walks of life, from seniors to people with chronic conditions, people with disabilities and lone workers. We have been able to help many NDIS participants to feel safe and secure, including Sandy; who uses her NDIS funding to help live independently in her own home in Melbourne.
“My family, my care coordinator and I knew that I needed a service that we could all rely on,” said Sandy.
“We needed reassurance that should I have another fall or need emergency help, I would receive assistance fast.”
How do I apply for a MePACS Personal Alarm through the NDIS?
The great thing about a personal alarm is that it is safe and easy to use, and relatively low-cost compared to other Assistive Technologies.
To include a MePACS alarm in your NDIS plan, funds need to be available in the Core Support and Assistive Technology Categories.
To apply for a MePACS personal alarm:
Ensure that your NDIS plan includes appropriate funding for assistive technologies under Core or Capital Support.
Contact MePACS on 1800 685 329 or visit our website: www.mepacs.com.au
We will complete an application with you over the phone and arrange installation of your alarm with you.
The funding provided in your NDIS Plan for Assistive Technology can differ depending on how your plan is managed.
If you receive funding under the NDIS, you are not eligible for a Government Funded alarm via the Personal Alert Victoria scheme (PAV). The personal alarm will instead be funded privately, through the NDIS or a Home Care Package (HCP).
What if I am not eligible for the NDIS?
There are a number of supports and services provided by the Government and the community sector for people with disability across Australia. The NDIA may identify that your supports are best delivered by these other service systems.
If you are aged 65 years and over you are not eligible for the NDIS. In most cases, you will receive support via the Commonwealth Aged Care system. This can include Home Care Package (HCP) funding, or funding via Personal Alert Victoria (PAV).
Frequently Asked Questions about the NDIS
What does the NDIS pay for?
The NDIS can help pay support funding for many essential services, including daily personal activities, home tasks and modifications, transport and access to work and education.
Is the NDIS means tested?
A means test determines whether an individual possesses the means to live without the help provided. The NDIS is not means tested, but has eligible criteria for applicants to meet.
What is the NDIS mobility allowance?
The NDIS mobility allowance is funding for transport. It assists people with disabilities who cannot use public transport, without substantial assistance, to travel for work, study, training or employment services.