The NDIS, since being introduced to Australia, has provided about 250,000 Australians who have a permanent and significant disability with funding for supports and services. The overall target is 500,000 people.
This scheme provides funding directly to individuals so they can create a plan and work with carers. While the NDIS has been life-changing for thousands, the funding is not infinite. Each participant has a limited amount of money they can use to support their goals. It is important to use this money wisely so it lasts throughout the entire year.
Here are some tips for maximising your NDIS budget:
Reach out to friends and family
Carers cost money so it may benefit you to speak with friends and family about how they can help you for free.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on family to provide professional services. However, a relative may be able to help manage carers on your behalf or spare an hour or so of their time each day/week for basic tasks.
Having even a small amount of informal support can minimise the amount of your budget you have to spend on non-skilled tasks.
Look for community help
Similarly, there may be volunteers in your area who can help you manage your disability. Some volunteer services work with community organisations to offer basic help for a short amount of time per week.
Source things second-hand
Your NDIS budget may extend to equipment as well as support workers. Pre-used mobility aids and rehabilitation machinery can cost far less than buying new.
If you are looking to purchase second-hand, make sure to try before you buy and if possible find out if the equipment has any warranty left. While buying used equipment can save you money, it will be false economy if the item doesn’t work or breaks down soon after you bring it home.
Maximise your NDIS budget: Plan ahead
To make the most of your NDIS budget, it really helps to make a plan. Think of the tasks your carers can help you with and how to make the most of them when they’re present.
Consider how you will streamline each carer’s tasks by having a to-do list ready when they arrive. In addition, you can create procedural documents for your carers. This way, they can quickly learn what to do and become more productive with the time they have.
Touch base with others
Relying on the advice of people in similar situations is so helpful for finding solutions to your problems.
If you’re an NDIS participant, speak to others about how they maximise their NDIS budget and qualify for funding. There may be some money you do not realise you are entitled to. What’s more, your contacts could have tips on how to minimise unnecessary expenses.
Self-manage your NDIS budget
Many NDIS participants rely on agencies to send care support workers. This can be a good option, however the need for administrative ‘middle-men’ drives up the costs involved. As a result, you have less money to spend on carers.
In addition, because your annual NDIS plan is fixed, any increases to approved rates by NDIS for your care, means that your care hours will reduce unless you can source care at rates under the approved NDIS rates.
Instead of using an agency, consider NIDS self-managing and hiring your help independently so you have more flexibility and can maximise your NDIS budget. Doing this will result in being able to afford more hours from your carers. You could also decide to pay your carers a little bit extra so they are loyal to you and feel their efforts are being recognised.
To make NDIS self-managing easier, use an app like Real Support Choices. For the cost of only $99 per month, this makes it easy to create rosters, manage timesheets and pay your carers. You’ll no longer need the help of an agency, which can eat into your budget to the tune of many thousands of dollars per year.
As well as maximising your NDIS budget, using Real Support Choices and self-managing gives you the option to choose your own carers and set the hours they work. This can further improve flexibility and boost your quality of life.