E-Blast: New Measures to support NDIS participants and providers through COVID-19

Over the weekend, the federal government announced new plans to ensure essential supports are in place for NDIS participants, workers and providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new announcements include:

  • NDIA will be phoning ‘high-risk’ participants to check in and ensure they have the supports they need and plans in place. They will be sharing this data and information with states and territories to make sure people can continue to get supports.
  • NDIS Plans are to be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support and increasing capacity of NDIA staff to focus on urgent and required changes to plans.
  • NDIA will have a flexible approach to amending plans, and, where necessary shift capacity building funding to funding for core supports.
  • Face to face planning is being moved to telephone meetings where possible.
  • Action plan to ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive essential disability supports they need.
  • Financial assistance to providers to help retention of workers including advance payment.
  • A 10% COVID-19 loading on some supports and changes to cancellation policies.

The NDIA and governments are currently looking at measures to source additional disability support workers to provide services to NDIS participants should the need arise. This will include up-skilling of displaced workers from other industries and matching existing and new workers to areas where there is a demand for services. However, we are yet to receive details on these plans and will keep you updated when additional information becomes available.

NDIS Participants should contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 if you need to talk to a planner, make changes to your plan or are having trouble finding supports due to COVID-19.

The NDIA have put together key NDIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). QDN has put together this short summary of some of the questions that members have been asking.  This information below has been compiled by QDN and is just some of the FAQs. The full list and answers by the NDIA of NDIS Frequently Asked Questions is available on their website. This information was developed based on what was available on 22 March. 2020.

Information for NDIS Participants

What happens if I am a participant who is impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Call your state or territory health system first if you get coronavirus (COVID-19).  The NDIA will work closely with the health system.

The NDIS will quickly sort things out so that you keep receiving your disability-related supports.  They will also talk to you about any additional supports or funding that you may need.

It is really hard for me to keep two metres from other people, because I need close care from my support worker.

You may need to have close contact with your support workers but only touch each other when you have to.

The Department of Health has put out information about social distancing .

The Department of Health has a new online Infection Control course . It is free. Learn about protecting yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19), by registering and doing the course on a computer.

You can also suggest your support workers enrol in the course too.

What happens if my support worker or carer can no longer look after me?

Providers are expected to make sure supports are provided to you.  This is one of the things they must do under the NDIS Code of Conduct and relevant NDIS Practice Standards. If your support worker or carer is self-isolating, your provider will be in touch and organise a replacement worker or carer to attend to your needs.

It is important that you discuss what your essential needs are with your providers, to ensure they are being met.

Should support workers be wearing masks?

You do not need to ask your support workers to wear face masks if they do not have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are feeling well, you do not need to wear a mask.

Masks are only helpful in stopping people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) from passing it onto another person.

Has the NDIS set up an Emergency Hotline for urgent requirements for participants?

The NDIS Contact Centre remains best option for contacting NDIA. You can call the NDIA Contact Centre 1800 800 110

Managing your plan and budget

Will there be flexibility with the support categories I can claim from?

Yes. Your Core Supports budget is the most flexible, and in most cases, you can use your funding across any of the Core support categories to make sure you can get the support you need during this time.

Can my funding be used to pay support workers to do important tasks such as grocery shopping?

We encourage providers to give you the essential support you need so you remain safe and have enough supplies.

This means your provider may need to do some different tasks for you, like visiting the pharmacy to ensure you have an adequate supply of medication or doing some grocery shopping for you.

Can I redirect my funds to family or friends to provide support that would normally be provided by support workers?

No, you cannot use your NDIS funds to pay a family member to provide you with support.

Can I temporarily change my plan from Agency Managed to Self or Plan-Managed so that I have more flexibility with my funding?

Yes, but to do this you will need a review of your plan. Contact your LAC or NDIA Planner.

There are a number of ways QDN members can keep up to date with information

Get the facts from trusted sites.

QDN also has links to helpful resources for members up on our website and will share these on QDN’s Facebook page.

  • Join your local QDN Local Support Group on Facebook – Local Support Groups are setting up digital groups online using Facebook. If you would like to join your LSG online, try searching for your local group’s name in Facebook or contacting QDN at qdn@qdn.org.au or calling 07 3252 8566 and we can talk you through how to join.



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