Is the support something we would reasonably expect your informal supports, like family or friends, to provide?
We need to be satisfied that funding the support takes into account what is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide.
To make sure we understand how disability supports might work for you, we consider:
- the things you’re able to do for yourself
- any support you have from others in your network – including family members, relatives, friends and local community services.
When we fund supports under the NDIS, we have to think about whether it’s reasonable to expect your informal supports to provide that support. We can’t fund supports that an ordinary person would think is reasonable to expect friends, family or the community to provide for you.
Informal supports are the help and support you get from friends, family and the community. They are called ‘informal’ because you don’t pay for them, and they’re not part of a formal agreement. They are the usual things friends and family do for us, and with us.
Most of us get some kind of help and support from friends and family. In our society, we expect that friends, family and our community will support each other and help each other out when they need it.
A good example is families who have young children. In our community, we expect families will provide most of the support a young child needs. They will change a child’s nappy, make sure they are safe and drive them around places.
Grandparents, uncles and aunties often have a role to play in supporting young children as well. Neighbours and friends might also help care for the child.
As a child gets older, our society’s expectations of the role of the family and community in caring for the child changes. For example, we expect schools to help support the child’s learning needs.
We also usually expect the role of family in providing personal care for a child would reduce as they get older and develop new skills and independence. But families are usually still responsible for things like food, emotional support, decision-making and providing a safe home.
It’s a similar idea for adults. Our society expects that adults – like family, friends and neighbours – will provide some support to each other. This might be things like taking a friend with you to the football game, or providing emotional support if someone is upset.
NDIS supports won’t ever replace the support people like your friends and family provide to you. This support is given freely because people care, and is often quite different to supports bought with NDIS funding.
You have a special bond with your friends and family that’s different from your relationship with paid carers. And there are potential risks and problems for you if your friends and families become your paid carers.
To make sure we understand how disability supports might complement your circumstances, we consider:
- the things you are able to do for yourself
- any support you have from others in your network including family members, relatives, friends and local community services.
We also have to consider the benefits you may get from your informal supports. For example, your family and friends may be more effective at helping you meet other people, or helping to build your social skills, than paid supports can.
We consider if we can help these relationships so that you get the support you need. For example, we may be able to fund training for your informal supports, so they can help you build your skills.
We also think about the capacity of your informal supports to continue caring for you, for example if they’re ageing or sick.
There are different things the law for the NDIS says we need to consider for adults and children.
If you’re under 18
If you’re under 18, we consider what support is reasonable to expect parents to provide at your age. It’s normal for parents to provide substantial care and support for children. We consider that it’s usual for parents to provide almost all the care and support that young children need.
For example, it’s reasonable to expect parents to provide transport to and from their child’s after-school activities. Of course, the amount of care and support for a child without a disability would typically reduce as they get older.
For children under 18, we consider:
- if your needs are ‘substantially greater’ because of your disability, compared to other children the same age – that is, you need much more disability support
- any risks to the wellbeing of people providing informal support to you
- if including funding for the support will help build your skills and capacity in the future, or reduce any risks to you.
For example, we consider any health, safety or other impacts resulting from what’s involved in meeting your disability support needs.
If you’re over 18
If you’re over 18, we consider:
- if there are any risks to you or your informal supports if you rely on them to provide the support you need
- how much your informal supports would help improve or reduce your independence and other outcomes.
We also consider the suitability of informal supports to provide the supports you need, including:
- how old your carers are and their capacity to provide the support
- if other family members and the community can help your informal supports in their caring role
- the intensity and type of support you need, and if it’s appropriate for your informal supports to provide this, based on their age and gender
- any long-term risks to the wellbeing of your informal supports.
When we consider the risks for people over 18, we consider if the supports are sustainable for your informal supports. We consider the health, safety and other impacts on family and carers in the long term.
For example, we wouldn’t expect a child to have their schooling affected because they need to provide care. We also wouldn’t expect an elderly parent to be responsible for physical activities, if it may result in injury.
We generally don’t fund family members to provide supports funded under the NDIS. There are very limited situations where we can consider this. Learn more about Sustaining Informal Supports.
Simon is getting his first NDIS plan. For the last 15 years, Simon and his wife Jan’s preference was that Jan provide all the physical support he needs at home, such as toileting and showering.
But as Jan is getting older, it’s not safe for her to keep lifting Simon. It’s becoming risky for her to keep providing this support.
Jan and Simon think it might be best for someone else to provide the personal care support that Simon needs. Their children have moved out of home, and it’s not reasonable to expect them to help Simon with personal care.
Based on this information and other evidence, Simon’s planner decides that the personal care support meets this criteria. It takes into account what is reasonable for his family and others to provide. If the personal care support meets the other funding criteria, we may fund the personal care support for Simon.
Simon and Jan still prefer Jan to do the other support Simon needs though, such as helping Simon eat his meals. At this time, we wouldn’t fund a support worker in Simon’s plan to help him eat his meals. It’s reasonable to expect Jan to help Simon with this, as it’s what they want to do and it’s not a safety risk for Jan.
Qing is 14 and wants to join a local footy club. Like most 14 year olds in this situation, she needs someone to drop her off and pick her up from the Saturday matches and the weeknight training sessions.
But unlike most 14 year olds, she needs someone to help her get dressed before she can go to the match. Her parents have been doing this, but as Qing is getting older she no longer wants her family to help her get dressed.
It’s reasonable to expect her family or other informal supports to drop Qing to and from the match and training sessions. So we wouldn’t fund transport in Qing’s plan.
But at age 14, it’s not reasonable to expect her family to help her get dressed.
Based on this information and other evidence, Qing’s planner finds that the personal care support takes into account what is reasonable for family and others to provide. If it meets the other funding criteria, we may fund personal care support in her plan.