The friendly crew at Leap in! plan management, many with lived experience themselves, are highly experienced in supporting families to make the most of their child’s NDIS Plans. Leap in! plan manager, Tabitha answers some common questions about respite care and the NDIS.
Everyone needs a break from time to time. Respite care under the NDIS can provide children and teens with disability and their parents/carers an opportunity to have a break or a change of scenery.
Q. How does respite care under the NDIS work for children and teens?
Respite care allows for both a child with disability and their parent/carer to have a break or a change of scenery.
Under the NDIS, respite care is usually referred to as ‘short term accommodation’. For children or teens, the NDIS may fund short term accommodation if they require more support than other children their age. In some cases, the NDIS may fund alternative supports instead such as in-home support.
Q. What types of short term accommodation/respite care does the NDIS fund?
Respite care is generally funded for up to 14 days at a time, for a maximum of 28 days per year.
It can be used for a variety of purposes including:
- A chance for your child or teen to build independence.
- A place for them to make new friends or develop new skills.
- To give parents, carers, family members or other informal supports a break. It’s intended to be funded as a group support, unless there is evidence your child needs individual support because of their disability.
Q. Does respite care cover food costs and other expenses? The funding for respite care covers all basic expenses in a 24-hour period related to providing the service including:
- Personal care
- Short term accommodation
- Overnight support
- Negotiated activities.
Keep in mind that the NDIS doesn’t fund the cost of entry fees or spending money for additional activities.
Q. Is respite care available for short periods of time, such as overnight or a couple of hours?
Yes. If the respite care required is for less than 24 hours, it may be possible to negotiate a reduced rate with the provider.
Examples include dusk to dawn respite or support for a few hours during the day that is not covered by other NDIS supports such as Social and Community Participation.
These short-period respite arrangements are typically charged as an hourly fee and subject to the maximum hourly rates set
by the NDIS for in-home and out-of-home assistance.
Q. Do I need to specifically ask for respite care at my child’s planning meeting? What happens if something changes
Yes. If you’re preparing for your child’s first plan meeting or plan reassessment, it helps to consider in advance how much funding may be needed for respite and discuss this in your child’s plan meeting.
Things to think about:
- Are there regular times when you/your child’s carer are unavailable? If so, document these including the length of time and regularity.
- Do you/your child’s carer have any holidays or breaks planned in the foreseeable future?
- How respite care can be used to help look after the long-term wellbeing of your family.
- How respite care might help your child or teen achieve their goals (such as trying out what it is like to stay with other people or developing their independence).
It’s worth noting that if your child or teen has Core supports in their NDIS Plan, you can use it to fund short term accommodation if it helps them to achieve their goals and meets the usual NDIS reasonable and necessary requirements.
Q. What happens if something changes during my child’s plan and we need additional respite time?
If there is funding in your child’s Core budget, you can use this to pay for short term accommodation as long as it relates to your child’s disability needs.
If there isn’t enough funding in your child’s NDIS Plan to cover reasonable and necessary additional respite time, you can ask for a plan reassessment.
The NDIS may fund more than 28 days in a year for children at risk of going into residential care, but will not fund more than 30 days at a time or more than 60 days a year.
Q. Will the NDIS pay for a holiday for my child?
Short term accommodation is not intended for holidays and should be related to your child’s disability, such as for respite or improving their skills.
If you are planning a holiday with your child, other NDIS supports may be available for assistance with paid supports or care for your holiday. Generally, it will not cover holiday accommodation or entry to attractions.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE US TO ANSWER IN THE NEXT EDITION OF SOURCE KIDS? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. SEND YOUR QUESTION TO [email protected]
Call Leap in! on 1300 05 78 78 or email [email protected] to speak with a team member experienced in the NDIS and early childhood approach.