Sally Aurisch and Lauren Henley
We recently delivered a number of workshops across NSW to help people understand how to get the support they need under the NDIS or My Aged Care. We will also be making teleconferences available to members in each state and territory over the next few months. In the meantime, though, here we answer some of the most common questions we received during our workshops.
My Aged Care
Before we get into the FAQ part, it’s important to understand that there are two different levels of care available under the aged care system. These come in the format of:
- An entry level program called the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. This level of support lets you access a range of subsidised services within your local community.
- A home care package. If you are allocated a home care package, you are given a sum of money each year which you can spend on services that meet your needs.
Are assessments for technology and equipment covered by My Aged Care, or do I have to pay for them myself?
Home Care Package: If this need is identified in your care plan and there are adequate funds in your package, the cost of the assessment can be covered.
Entry Level Package (Commonwealth Home Support Programme): Support from an occupational therapist is available as part of the programme. They may be able to recommend specific items. Limited funds are available to support the purchase of items.
Can you use up to five years’ worth of equipment allowance to get JAWS?
No. It is expected that you would contribute anything that the aids and equipment fund does not cover.
Will you still be charged a co contribution if you are not accessing the service, like when you are on holidays?
The basic daily fee is still paid while you are on social leave or hospital leave from your package, but your home care provider cannot ask you to pay this fee while you are on leave from your package because you are in transition care or residential respite care. (Taken from the My Aged Care website)
What constitutes financial hardship?
If contributing to your care and support arrangements would cause you financial hardship, you can also apply for the Hardship Supplement. If you are assessed as being unable to pay part or all of the required co-payments once submitting your application, the government can provide your service provider with an additional supplement to ensure that you still get the support you need.
To apply for the hardship supplement, you will need to submit a hardship supplement application form to the department of human services. For further information about the application process, you can contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme was established to help people under the age of 65 access the support they need to live an independent life.
What are the exact criteria for an individual to be classified as blind or deaf blind?
Permanent blindness in both eyes, diagnosed and assessed by an ophthalmologist as follows:
- Corrected visual acuity (extent to which an object can be brought into focus) on the Snellen Scale must be less than or equal to 6/60 in both eyes; or
- Constriction to within 10 degrees or less of arc of central fixation in the better eye, irrespective of corrected visual acuity (i.e. visual fields are reduced to a measured arc of 10 degrees or less); or
- A combination of visual defects resulting in the same degree of visual impairment as that occurring in the above points.
(An optometrist report is not sufficient for NDIS purposes.)
Deaf-blindness is confirmed by an ophthalmologist and audiologist, and assessed as resulting in permanent and severe to total impairment of visual function and hearing.
What can a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) assist me with once I receive my plan?
An LAC can:
- Explain the different budgets in your plan and how you can use them
- Assist you to locate and connect with suitable service providers in your local area
- Show you how to use the Provider Portal and make claims if you are Self Managing or would like to be able to review your budgets
- Support you to find mainstream and community based programs and organisations that may meet your needs
- Answer any ongoing questions that you may have about the NDIS and your plan.
What sort of things can I use the funds allocated to “dog guide Maintenance” for?
You can use this money to cover any costs associated with your dog guide. These include:
- Flea, tick and worm control products
- Grooming and washing
- Veterinary costs
- Any other items that your dog may require.
BCA will be continuing to seek opportunities to provide workshops in other states. We will also be making a series of fact sheets available to members that relate to specific aspects of the NDIS and My Aged Care. These factsheets will be available in the coming weeks, so watch this space.
If people are treated unfairly or discriminated against in their dealings with the NDIS, for example, being denied access to information in their preferred format, they may be able to access support to resolve the issue through our individual advocacy service.
In Victoria, we have received funding to employ a Support Linkages Officer. Our Support Linkages Officer, Kristin Nuske, can work one-on-one with Victorian residents who are blind or vision impaired who are just starting out on their NDIS or My Aged Care journey.
Kristin can assist with pre-planning, support people during planning meetings and assessments, and help people to resolve issues of concern with the National Disability Insurance Agency or the My Aged Care Contact Centre. We are aware that this service is desperately required in all states and territories, and are working hard to secure funding to enable us to address this need.