At the end of September 2022, the Minister of the NDIS, the Hon. Bill Shorten announced that NDIS participants would have faster and easier access to minor home modifications. Simplifying the minor home modification process for participants is one of the significant points the Australian Government and the NDIA wanted to focus on this year.

The new process means less red tape for NDIS participants and their families and faster access to the modifications they need to allow them to live safely and independently in their own homes.

The need-to-know changes to NDIS home modifications.

Before this announcement, NDIS participants had to provide the NDIA with at least one quote from a builder and recommendations from a home modification accessor—like a qualified occupational therapist.

Now, there’s no need to go through this process for minor, non-structural modifications that cost under $20,000. Once the NDIA agrees on the necessary modifications, the funds are allocated to the participant to make those changes to their home.

Minister Shorten said, “This new process will help streamline the approach for minor home modification requests.”

What NDIS considers home modifications.

The NDIS website defines home modifications as “custom-built changes to your home to help you access and use areas of your home”; they can be minor or complex changes.

For minor modifications, there are two categories:

  • Category A is for modifications under $10,000.
  • Category B is for modifications between $10,000 and $20,000.

Complex modifications are changes that involve a few parts of your home at once or anything that may change the house’s structure. A qualified occupational therapist is still needed to certify the effectiveness of changes you’d like to ensure they meet your goals and will improve your quality of life.

The NDIS funding for home modifications is a great asset for those participants and their families who utilize supported independent living (SIL). The goal of SIL is to help you live comfortably in your home with help or supervision with personal care and other daily tasks. If home modifications will help you achieve easier independent living, then definitely look into how you can get started.

For more information on home modifications, visit the NDIS website.

The difference between supported independent living (SIL) and specialist disability accommodation (SDA)

Supported independent living provides NDIS participants with support to help them live as independently as possible. SIL will provide support for those living alone or in a shared home. SIL provides participants with opportunities to enjoy independence, make new friends, and access the assistance they need. This includes personal care, household tasks, medical needs, social skills, and clinical support.

Specialist disability accommodations (SDA) are for people who need specialist housing solutions for high support needs or extreme functional impairment. SDA funding is aimed to cover any disability-related house expenses like home modifications.

If you need both types of support, SIL and SDA will be separately funded in your NDIS plan. It’s set up this way so that you have more options in choosing accommodations best suited to your needs and SIL support.

For more information about SDA eligibility, visit the SDA Operational Guideline.

In review

With the recent announcement by the NDIS Minister, home modifications and funding will be easier for participants to access. The process for acquiring funds for non-structural, minor home modifications will become streamlined without needing an occupational therapist’s approval, leading to fewer delays in getting on with modifying their homes and living their lives.

If you’re interested in SIL and accommodations in New South Wales, visit Equality Disability Health Care Services.

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