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If I don’t use my NDIS funding will I lose it?

They say if you don't use it, lose it. This doesn't have to be the case.

Written by
Dan McCutcheon

As the saying goes, if you don't use it you lose it! This doesn't always hold true for NDIS funding but it’s not too far from the truth. When your next plan reassessment rolls round one of the main things the NDIA planner or LAC will be looking at is the;

  1. Total amount of funds you had last year. 
  2. How much you spent.
  3. How much is remaining. 

Remember, just because a person was funded for a certain amount one year it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be funded the same amount the following year. In fact, one of the core principles of the NDIS is that investing in someone early in life will result in the person becoming more independent and less reliant on funding in future years. As a result, this saves the government money in the long-run. This is a fantastic idea in theory, and definitely will be the case for some people. However, this will not be the case for everyone particularly those living with complex disability support needs. 

The constant media storm around ‘NDIS cost blow-outs’ and ‘the sustainability of the Scheme’ results in a lot of public scrutiny. This puts a lot of pressure on the NDIA to account for every dollar. Unused funding is often interpreted as a signal that it wasn’t needed for that person.

Yes it’s true that funding not being used can be a sign that the person didn't require that amount of funded supports to achieve their goals because they developed their skills and accessed quality supports in their inclusive community enabling them to do more things independently. But on many other occasions, funds have not been used because of barriers such as:

  • The person didn't understand their plan or know where to start and had no one to help them. 
  • There were barriers to engaging with services such as homelessness, cultural diversity or psychosocial (mental health) disability. 
  • The expression of unmet needs (such as physical or verbal aggression) resulted in providers withdrawing services because of a lack of skills, experience or training. 
  • The person struggled to find a good provider or their provider experienced staff shortages. 

If there were barriers to using your funding, you need to communicate this clearly in the plan reassessment meeting with the NDIA. Your paid supports such as your Support Coordinator, and core and capacity building support providers must be detailed in their plan reassessment reports about:

  • What the challenges to using the funding were.
  • How you attempted to overcome them and why/why not those strategies worked. 
  • The outcomes of the support and funding used so far. 
  • Why the funding is still required in the next plan and what goals and outcomes will be delivered as a result. 

Not using your funding is not the end of the world but it’s definitely something to be prepared for because chances are the question will be asked. 

They say if you don't use it, lose it. This doesn't have to be the case.
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