The NDIS Merry Go Round
I have a story that probably rings true with a lot of members…
Before the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) came to fruition I was an uncompensated person who had to pay for everything I required out of my own pocket. This included continence products, equipment, home and car modifications; basically anything a T4 spinal cord injured person needed to participate in life.
Now the Government was telling me that I had the luxury of getting products and equipment funded through the NDIS. I made the initial phone call to organise a planning meeting with someone from the NDIS to work out a plan that would work for me. Sophia from Box Hill got in contact, and so a meeting was organised. While she offered to come to my home, I insisted that we could meet at her office, so I travelled by train to Box Hill.
We talked about what I needed, but being a self-funded and independent person, used to looking after myself, I found it difficult to come up with a plan. Some extraordinary figures were thrown around, which I agreed to at the time, thinking it would all get knocked on the head. After Christmas, I received an email from Sophia stating that my plan had been approved and that I could start to spend my allocated funds.
One of the things I requested in my plan was a Mobility Allowance, but after a few months I rang up to inquire, as I haven’t received any money for this. I was then that I was told I had to pass on my bank details so the funds would be transferred into my account automatically. I did this online and now the funds are paid each month.
I then decided that I needed new tyres for my wheelchair so I rang and asked how I would go about doing this, but Sophia informed me that because I did not specify new tyres in my initial plan I could not get them funded. How ridiculous I thought! Lucky for me, I work at AQA with someone whose job it is learning about the ins and outs of the NDIS, and so I told her about this barrier – and she found a loophole! I requested and received four new Schwalbe wheels, as well as six tubes. I have also since used my NDIS plan to receive four new castors from Mobility Plus. This taught me how important it is to be very thorough in your planning meeting, try and think ahead about what you may need – you will have a much easier time getting it approved if it’s already in your plan.
I also recently had a continence review that took place in North Ringwood with Coloplast; after much persuasion from my work colleagues. I figured that although I had enough Speedicaths to get me by for the foreseeable future it was better to get three boxes every two months to show that I was utilising my NDIS funds.
I am still working my way through the literature and working out what else I can spend my money on. I am worried that the funds will not roll over after 12 months and if I don’t spend them I will be allocated less next year. I would recommend that all members go to workshops or keep in the loop about the NDIS so they can be accustomed to the goings-on. I know I was very wet behind the ears even though I had been to workshops etc. so read anything you can get your hands on and be prepared before getting your plan done.