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

For the latest advice on office closures as a result of the bushfires, please read the Bushfire information and support news item. 

The following provides information for participants and providers affected by bushfires. 

This information is also available in Easy read format. 

If you require further information, please check the bushfire response frequently asked questions or contact the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110. 

During an emergency

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 our best advice on what you should do.

Support after an emergency

NDIS participants

Any NDIS participant who needs assistance with their disability supports due to the bushfire situation is encouraged to contact 1800 800 110 to discuss their circumstances.

The NDIS contact centre is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

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

The NDIA has enacted its Crisis and Recovery processes which ensure dedicated resources to support impacted areas. The Agency has dedicated incident leaders for each impacted State/Territory to support the delivery of NDIS services on the ground for impacted participants and providers.

Every effort is being made to ensure processes for impacted participants are simple and clear with a specific point of contact.

Where appropriate we can quickly make changes to plans to minimise administration and paperwork for the impacted participants.

Participants and carers should contact the Contact Centre to seek advice around if meetings in impacted areas will proceed or need to be rescheduled.

It is important for participants and carers to follow advice from their local emergency services and health department on if it is safe to travel.

Impact of air quality 

Many communities across Australia are experiencing hazardous air quality levels for prolonged periods of time as smoke continues to be produced by the widespread bushfires

For more information about exposure to smoke, and ways to prevent exposure, including advice from Chief Medical officers on the use of masks, visit www.health.gov.au.

If you are concerned that the bushfire smoke is worsening the impact of your disability, you can contact the NDIS call centre on 1800 800 110 between 8am and 8pm.

Urgent Assistive Technology repairs

To make sure participants can access urgent repairs for their Assistive Technology (AT) supports even when they don’t have funding in their plan, the 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 supports, 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 on 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.

Payments from Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services)

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

Bushfire-affected Australians in declared regions can claim disaster payments from Services Australia.

Impacted people can call 180 22 66. Information on eligibility is available on the Services Australia website .

State-based assistance

Financial assistance may also be available through state and territory agencies: 

New South Wales

NSW Government support 

Queensland

Queensland Government financial assistance

South Australia

South Australian Government financial assistance

Tasmania

Tasmanian Relief and Recovery Arrangements 

Victoria

Vic Emergency

Western Australia

Emergency WA

Advice for carers

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are a national network that provide a link to carer support services and help carers with options for short-term and emergency respite. Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres continue to provide unplanned short term and emergency respite services for those carers eligible for support, including carers of National Disability Insurance Scheme participants if required. 

Carers might be able to get emergency respite care at short notice if they suddenly find they can’t provide care. Carers can talk with their local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 (or 1800 059 059 after hours).

A phone-based counselling service to provide short-term emotional and psychological support carers in their caring role. The Counselling Service is a free confidential service available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, with professional counsellors available to talk through any concerns carers may have. Please visit the Carer Gateway website or phone 1800 422 737 (Monday to Friday 8am -6pm) free call noting calls from mobiles may incur a cost. Alternatively, carers may contact the Carers Association in their state or territory to see what services are available through the Carers Association or phone 1800 242 636 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).

The Carer Gateway Community Forum is available to assist carers to connect with other carers and share their stories, knowledge and experience with others. Please visit the Carer Gateway website.

Information for carers on planning for emergencies is available to support you during the bushfire season. 
 

Advice for providers

If you are a provider and have been contacted to deliver services to a participant immediately before, during or after the emergency.

  • The priority is to ensure that disability supports meet the immediate needs of NDIS participants.
  • The NDIA understands that disaster events can affect service delivery requirements and generate unplanned costs.
  • The NDIA can make changes to participants’ budgets through the unscheduled plan review process, so that expenses incurred in the delivery of disability supports can be claimed on the basis of changed circumstances.
  • Please deliver the services required and following the disaster contact the Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 or provider.support@ndis.gov.au and include Natural Disaster in the subject line. The NDIA will arrange for an urgent plan review post 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 Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.

Provider payments from Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services)

NDIS registered providers must ensure they only claim for supports as per the Price Guide and Support Catalogue. There are a range of Australian Government and State and Territory recovery programs to support providers in recovery from a natural disaster.

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) is available to people whose homes have been lost or directly damaged, people who have been seriously injured, or are an immediate family member of someone who has lost their life. This is a non-means tested payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children.

Also the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) is a short-term income support payment form the Australian Government to assist individuals who can demonstrate their income has been affected as a direct result of a disaster.

When available, DRA assists employees, small business persons and farmers who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.

These Australian Government payments are administered by Services Australia . The fastest and easiest way to claim is to call 180 22 66.

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

This page current as of
7 February 2020