When the NDIS was introduced in July 2016, it offered what many hoped would finally be adequate funding to support the many Australians under the age of 65 who live with a disability.
Full rollout is expected to be completed during the coming financial year, bringing support to over 450,000 eligible NDIS participants. The money received will go towards paying for essential equipment such as wheelchairs, and employing professional carers.
How NDIS participant funding works
As reported by Australian website The Conversation, “Individuals with allocated NDIS funding can select a registered service provider to manage and provide their support, or they can self-manage and negotiate the supports specified in their agreed plan, including employing their support workers.
Only 7% of participants choose to self-manage their funds, while 35% combine self-management and agency management and 58% are fully agency-managed.”
While having a carer through an agency can be convenient, there is a drawback, in that the agency takes a percentage of the fees charged as overheads. This amount is often as much as 40% of plan funds, and means there is less money for the NDIS participant to spend accessing the support and equipment they need.
2019 NDIS price increases
When the NDIS was launched on 1st July, 2016, a Price Guide detailing the maximum amount chargeable for each support category, was published. Since then, the limits for these rates have gone up by a minimum of 23.5 per cent.
On 1st July 2019, rates jumped by 15 per cent. The Disability Support Guide shares that “NDIS funded therapy, attendant care and community participation rates will be boosted, with a minimum increase of almost $11 per hour for therapists and up to 15.4 per cent to the base limit for attendant care and community participation. Over 79% of all care is for attendant personal care”
At Real Support Choices, we can’t help but notice a discrepancy. The problem is, while NDIS rates have gone up by more than 20 per cent since 2016, NDIS participant plan funds have only increased by around 7.4 per cent.
Therefore, the cost of providing services to Participants has increased by a net 16.10% in three years, with no allowance increases to fill the gap.
Same needs, less money
Service providers are now being paid more to deliver the same care they were three years ago.
This is not a negative result for carers who have had award rate increases in that time. However, NDIS Participants, who are the silent majority and the people who are supposed to benefit the most from the scheme, face the reality of having reduced care time as an outcome of the increase in costs.
By our calculations, participants who try to maintain their current level of care will now spend their annual budgets in ten months. We can only expect the Government will be hearing about this as the current financial year draws to a close.
What can be done to improve NDIS participant experience and budgets?
The problem of the increasing gap between the rise in NDIS chargeable rates and participant funding is bound to come to a head.
In the meantime, the majority of NDIS participants who pay inflated rates due to increased service provider fees are recommended to investigate self-managing their carer shifts and payments. This will reduce the expense involved with hiring and managing a carer.
With an app like Real Support Choices, NDIS participants can create, share, update and keep track of their carer schedules. They can notify carers of shifts and send messages when things change. They can also enter special care appointments (eg physio) and arrange to pay their support workers.
Real Support Choices makes staying on top of payments, carer PAYG tax and super, with reporting simple for self-managing NDIS participants. Funding invoices are easily uploaded to the NDIS portal each week so that personal carers and specialist carers can be paid on time. There’s also a convenient dashboard to display remaining funds, making budgeting easier throughout the year.
Once agency fees are removed, self-managing NDIS participants will find they have more funds to spend directly on carers. As a result, the amount of care they receive will increase rather than decrease.
For a small monthly fee, using Real Support Choices means more NDIS care and a more comfortable lifestyle. Get started with a free trial and take the stress out of NDIS self-management, while having more to spend on carers and equipment.
Real Support Choices: Self-managed NDIS made easy
If you have decided to self-manage your NDIS care, Real Support Choices can save you time and money. This helpful app makes it easy to:
- Book carers
- Create rosters
- Manage payments
- Track your budget
- Update timesheets
- Report on your expenditure
- Store all financial records
- Manage the secure transfer of funds to your carers
- Manage all employee obligations
Click. Click. Done.
Real Support Choices will save you THOUSANDS.
Visit Click Here to start your FREE 30 Day trial (valued at $99)