Helpdesk Top Questions: March 2023
The NDS Helpdesk team have chosen the following questions and responses from the past month.
We have a potential client who is 17 and interested in moving into a new SDA build when they turn 18. As the provider, we need to know the client’s SDA category and funding level to plan and budget. Can the participant apply for SDA funding before turning 18?
NDS understands that it is possible for a participant to apply for SDA funding before turning 18.
The NDIS website states: "If you’re turning 18 in the next year or two, you may be thinking about moving. It’s never too early to start thinking about what this might look like for you in the future. If so, talk to us about the home and living goals you want to pursue. We can help you work out the best option for you and help you explore your options."
The participant can express interest in home and living supports, including SDA, by completing the Supporting Evidence: Home and Living form.
Via a different arm of our business, my organisation provides non-disability-related services as well as disability services. Do the workers in our non-disability services need an NDIS check if we are an NDIS registered organisation?
Some NDIS registered disability support providers offer a range of services not targeted at people with disabilities. Perhaps they are larger organisation providing for drug and alcohol dependence, homelessness, family violence, children's services or registered training, for example.
It is not implausible that a person with disability might access these non-disability related supports. However, for workers in these other areas, building rapport with people with disability on NDIS plans would not be an ‘integral and ordinary part of the performance of normal duties’.
Consequently, our understanding is that workers who work exclusively in these other settings would not be required to have an NDIS check. NDS received confirmation from the NDIS Commission that ‘the NDIS Worker Screening check is for workers who are engaged to provide supports or services to NDIS participants ... [for which] claims for said supports or services are made against the individual’s NDIS plan (funding).’
For participants living in legacy group homes, is there a circumstance where they might lose their eligibility for SDA if they moved out of their current accommodation?
NDS understands that during the transition to the NDIS, there were participants who were grandfathered onto the scheme at the settings they were in. For example, someone residing in a five-bed group home was transitioned over to an NDIS SDA package that funded a bed in a five-bed home.
Our understanding is that some grandfathered individuals may be at risk of losing their SDA eligibility if they sought reassessment for a move into a new build or a legacy build of a different size or design category as their current residence. This is because some of these grandfathered participants would not fit the eligibility requirements for SDA if they applied for SDA today. We are going to raise this issue during the NDIS Review.
Are Supported Independent Living (SIL) residents and their support workers still required to isolate for seven days if they test positive for COVID-19?
There are no government requirements for isolation for disability workers. Instead, disability providers need to identify, as part of their risk management strategy, what is appropriate for their organisation to minimise infection transmission among workers and people with disabilities.
There are current health authority recommendations that can guide COVID-19 policy development. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommend the minimum isolation period associated with vulnerable settings, including residential disability services, is seven days following a positive COVID-19 test result. This accounts for the time a person can be infectious even if they don’t have symptoms. To reduce interactions with vulnerable people, those with symptoms ought to isolate while symptoms persist.
NDS is aware of providers with a policy of five-days isolation for workers who test positive. This minimises infection transmission while easing workforce shortages. However, it is each provider’s responsibility to set appropriately safe policies for their workplaces. In any event, policies setting isolation periods should be flexible, in case they need to be adjusted if new COVID-19 variants emerge with different transmission timeframes.
Updated risk management information for providers applicable to 2023 can be located at the NDS COVID-19 Toolkit webpage.
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