The capital supports budget is a separate funding category within the NDIS, designed to cover the costs of one-off purchases such as assistive technology, home modifications, vehicle modifications.
This budget is split into two categories: Assistive Technology and Home Modifications .
Participants may also use the funding for repairs and upkeep. The wording in the Capital Funding budget should be specific in regards to repairs and maintenance, as sometimes this can be paid from core funding.
Some high cost Capital items require a quote. The quote is then sent to the NDIA for approval before the funding is released to the plan manager. Such quoted items may not have any value attached in the Plan, the Plan just requests that a quote is required.
Assessing Participant Needs
Assessing participant needs is an essential part of the capital supports budget process. Research and quotes need to be obtained before an NDIS plan meeting or review, as these budget items are not flexible, and it may take some time to get the plan reviewed again.
For example, a participant with a physical disability may need a specialised wheelchair to participate in their chosen sport. To identify this need, an Occupational Therapist would work with the participant to make recommendations, and then assess their mobility requirements to determine the best wheelchair for their needs. These items can only be considered with OT recommendations and NDIA approval.
The Funding Process
Once the participant’s needs have been identified, they can then apply for funding for capital supports. The funding process for capital supports is different from the Core Support budget, as it involves a more detailed assessment of the costs associated with the purchase of the item or modification.
For example, if a participant requires a vehicle modification, a quote would need to be obtained from a licensed vehicle modification specialist, outlining the specific modifications required and the associated costs.
What does “Stated” refer to in the NDIS plan?
When it comes to “stated supports,” there is no room for flexibility and funding has been allocated for a specific support or service. This indicates that the funding has been specifically designated for a particular support or service, and cannot usually be used for any other purpose.
Some stated supports require a quote to be supplied and then is listed on the plan at the exact amount of the quote. E.g Powered wheelchair, Item Code, Quoted price. In most cases stated supports cannot be replaced with any other item. The NDIS can allow light reviews, or full plan reviews if situations change.
Home modifications are changes made to a participant’s home to help them access and use different areas of it. These changes can be small or large. An example of could be installing handrails or grab bars in the bathroom or other areas of the home to improve safety and accessibility. Minor home modifications include works under $20,000 that don’t change the structure of the home.
A complex home modification may involve more structural work for participants who may have difficulties moving around their home, trouble with personal care, or even modifications to help out carers as well.
Raj gets his bathroom renovated – Complex modification example
Our client Raj is unable to walk unaided and mostly uses a walking frame around the house and a wheelchair when getting out in the community. Raj’s plan stated that funds could be applied for once quotes were sent to NDIA and approved. The NDIA then releases the money into the plan, so the plan manager can manage all the invoices related to the payments.
This funding has enabled a bathroom renovation for Raj, who is cared for by his parents. The bathroom now has smooth transitions from bathroom to shower recess, with no step, as well as a shower seat and rails, and supports at the toilet. This renovation has made it easier on Raj to be more independent from his parents, as well as protecting the health of his parents, who don’t have to do as much heavy lifting as Raj gets older and more independent.
Assistive technology is equipment or devices that help a participant to do things they can’t do because of their disability
The capital support has very specific rules around Assistive Technology (AT) in this part of the budget, and is different to the way “low cost” AT is funded in the Core Supports budget. This is for low risk “off-the-shelf” items which cost less than $1500 and require no modifications.
Some examples include:
- Vehicle modifications
- Adjustable bed frames
- Rental or hire costs on AT
- Hearing and vision assistance (including assistance animals)
- Wheelchairs, walking frames and other equipment to stay mobile
- Transfer equipment to assist carers. E.g Wheelchair loading platforms
AT is broken into low risk and high risk categories.
Low risk includes item that are unlikely to cause harm, off-the-shelf and easy to setup or install without professional help.
Higher risk AT products include items that might be more complex, known to have the potential to cause harm or requiring professional installation or setup, whereby participants must get advice from an AT assessor, to make sure the technology is suited to their needs.
If a participant has AT in their plan, they will also have at least $500 included in their Capacity Building Improved Daily Living budget, ideally enough to seek advice from an independent advisor about specific AT requirements.
NDIA also breaks down AT into low, mid and high costs. It’s important to note that quotes do not need to be provided to NDIA for AT under $15,000, but some evidence including a cost estimate is needed. Only AT items over $15,000 require both an assessment by an AT advisor and a specific quote, which when approved by NDIA is released to the plan.
Case Study: Assistive Technology
Johan is a participant in the NDIS with a vision impairment. He requires a specialised computer screen reader to access his computer. Johan’s plan has a budget in his Capital funding. His plan has a computer screen reader under his capital supports.
The most appropriate computer screen reader for his needs is assessed and he obtains a quote from a licensed assistive technology provider. A quote is submitted to the NDIA for approval, and once approved, this assists Johan in purchasing and setting up the new screen reader. With this new assistive technology, Johan is able to continue his work and hobbies independently, enhancing his quality of life.