Bushfire information and support for NDIS participants and providers

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The current bushfire situation across the country is impacting a number of NDIS participants, their families, carers and providers.

The information below will assist those who have been impacted.

Participants

I have been impacted by bushfires. Who do I contact for support?

If you are in immediate danger, your local emergency services are your first responders during this period. Emergency services will issue warnings when an emergency is likely to impact your area.  

Your state and territory emergency services will provide you with information on what is happening and the best advice on what you should do:

ACT

NSW

Northern Territory

Queensland

South Australia

Tasmania

Victoria

    Western Australia

    If you are not in immediate danger and require assistance with your disability supports, contact the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 to discuss your circumstances. The NDIS Contact Centre is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

    What is the NDIA doing to assist participants in affected areas?

    The NDIA has enacted its Crisis and Recovery processes to assist impacted areas. Dedicated NDIA representatives are being mobilised in fire affected areas to assist impacted participants and providers. Every effort is being made to ensure processes for impacted participants are simple and clear and there is a specific point of contact.

    What help can I get from the NDIS?

    NDIS participants impacted by the bushfires are being prioritised to ensure they can continue to receive their NDIS supports, including any additional supports that may be required such as replacing equipment, additional care or therapies.

    Where appropriate we can quickly make changes to your NDIS plan to minimise paperwork. 

    How do I tell the NDIS about changes to my circumstances? 

    We understand your circumstances may have changes as a result of the bushfires. Normally when changes occur, you would need to complete a change of circumstances request. However, to simplify the process for you, we will conduct Agency initiated reviews for participants known to be in affected areas. This means we can quickly make changes to plans to minimise administration and paperwork.

    Through this process, we will discuss any changes in your circumstances and any changes to your support needs.  

    Is my local office open?

    A number of NDIA and our Partners in the Community needed to close their offices due to bushfires, air quality concerns, and weather conditions in or around fire affected areas. While most offices have now reopened, some offices remain closed. You can check the news item for the latest information

    Will my planning or review meeting go ahead?

    If you have an NDIS meeting booked and you live in an affected area, please contact the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 if you need to reschedule an appointment or  seek additional information about your meeting. 

    You will be offered the choice of having your appointment via phone with an alternate office, or rescheduling to a later date when the office may re-open.  

    With most offices now open, you planning or review meeting is likely to go ahead as scheduled. Your local office will contact you if your meeting needs to be rescheduled. 

    It is important for participants and carers to follow advice from their local emergency services and health department as to whether it is safe to travel in their area.

    NDIA staff will be available in Services Australia Mobile and Pop-Up Service Centres and Pop-Up Service Centres in affected areas to assist people who are unable to access an NDIS office. 

    What if my plan is due to expire and I can’t attend my meeting?

    Please contact the NDIA Contact Centre on 1800 800 110. Depending on your situation, there are a range of options we can discuss with you, including automatic plan extensions of varying durations. 

    What do I do if my provider is not operating?

    Please contact your Support Coordinator, LAC or the NDIA Contact Centre.  We will work with you to ensure that suitable alternative arrangements are made.  Please be aware that many people who work for providers in affected areas are also likely to be personally impacted, but we will do what we can to support participants. 

    What financial assistance is available if my family, home or business has been impacted by the bushfires?

    Bushfire affected Australians in declared regions are able to claim disaster payments the Services Australia (Centrelink). 

    Assistance is available if you can show you lost income or have been adversely affected as a direct result of the bushfires.

    These Australian Government payments are administered by Services Australia .The fastest and easiest way to claim is to call 180 22 66. The phone line is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and 8am to 5pm on weekends. Information on eligibility is available on the Services Australia website .

    Your local State and Territory Emergency Recovery website will also have further information.

    Assistance from the NDIS may be available through an adjustment to your plan if additional or replacement supports are required. 

    What do I do if I need an urgent Assistive Technology repair?

    To make sure participants can access urgent repairs for their Assistive Technology (AT) even when they don’t have funding in their plan, the NDIS Contact Centre can provide authorisation for funds over the phone.

    Repairs and maintenance of AT is included in a participant’s NDIS budget where they are funded for AT supports. If there is no funding available for an urgent repair, the Contact Centre can provide an authorisation number over the phone to ensure participants can access the support they need and providers are paid appropriately.

    Urgent repairs include repairs to equipment the participant is dependent on for safety, mobility, communication, or activities of daily living (e.g. showering). 

    Generally out-of-hours repairs should be limited to making the AT safe and usable. 

    Repairing AT damaged in a natural disaster will be classified as an urgent repair. This extends to hiring a replacement item where needed (e.g. the AT is destroyed or significantly damaged) until a more permanent solution is available.

    If a participant needs an urgent repair to their AT, and does not have funding available in their NDIS budget, the following action should be taken:

    Agency-managed participants

    • Providers should always try to complete a service booking for an urgent repair.
    • If this doesn’t work, the provider should call the Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 to seek a pre-claim authorisation approval. Providers will need the participant’s name, NDIS number, and date of birth to gain authorisation.
    • If a repair is required outside of Contact Centre hours (8am to 8pm), a repair can be made to make the AT safe and usable or an alternative support hired. Approval for further repair, and/or a pre-claim authorisation can be provided the next business day.

    Self-managed participants

    • Participants should pay the provider for urgent repairs directly and then claim against their plan.
    • If there isn’t sufficient funding available in their budget, call the Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 for assistance.

    Plan-managed participants

    • The participant’s registered plan management provider can pay the AT provider for urgent repairs and claim against the plan. 
    • If there isn’t sufficient funding available in their budget, call the Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 for assistance.

    Providers

    Our business has been contacted to deliver services to a participant who has been affected by the bushfires. What do I need to know?

    The priority is to ensure NDIS participants continue to have their disability support needs met. 

    We understand disaster events can affect service delivery and generate unplanned costs. We can make changes to participants’ budgets through the unscheduled plan review process, so expenses incurred in the delivery of disability supports can be claimed on the basis of a change in their circumstance.

    Please deliver the services the participant requires then contact the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 or provider.support@ndis.gov.au. Please include “Natural Disaster” in the subject line so we can arrange for an urgent plan review after the disaster event. 

    Providers delivering Support Coordination or other essential supports should continue to provide services and claim, but should assist the participant in arranging a plan review by contacting the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.

    How do we claim payments?

    NDIS registered providers must ensure they only claim for supports as per the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue. Call the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 if you have any questions regarding payments.

    Our business has been directly impacted by bushfire. Is there any support available?

    There are a range of Australian Government and State and Territory recovery programs to support providers to recover from a natural disaster. Australian Government payments are administered by the Services Australia  and your local State and Territory Emergency Recovery services.

    This page current as of
    7 February 2020