Category Archives for "Disability"

Nov 25 2020

Plan Spending Flexibility Changes

NEWS
The NDIS have released some stuff about important things, to get your feedback.
These are about some big changes to plan spending flexibility, and about how independent assessments are used to get into the scheme.
There are 4 papers, 2 about Early Childhood changes |(some good stuff in there) but I want to talk about the other two:
Planning policy for personalised budgets and plan flexibility
and
Access and eligibility policy with independent assessments
https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/improving-ndis
It’s really important that our community read these and give feedback.
Here are some of my initial thoughts (plenty more to come, I’m sure)…
Things I like:

  1. Everyone will get a personalised budget, and the money will be flexible between support categories (except for some stuff, like SDA and capital equipment and mods etc.)
  2. Independent assessments will mean some people will get access to NDIS quicker, and won’t have to pay for reports beforehand.
    Things I don’t like:
  3. They are proposing that you only get a month of your budget at a time, and that every year it starts over (although some of the unused budget might rollover into the new year)
  4. Goals don’t affect your personalised budget (I don’t see how this is possible – if your goal is to move out of home, you’ll need a higher budget, surely?)
  5. There’s no way to appeal the results of your independent assessment (but you can appeal the plan budget amount)
    Things I’m unsure about:
  6. I don’t understand how standardised budgets based on independent assessment will take into account an individual’s unique goals – if I am happy in a 1:6 group program my funding will likely be fine, but if I want to pursue a microenterprise and need a facilitator and some 1:1 support, will I get enough funding through this proposed process?
  7. What if I want to live alone and not with 1:3 support? My “functional impairment” hasn’t changed, but I need more funding in that situation…
  8. How are they going to work “exemptions” to independent assessments – a can of worms!
Image may contain: text that says "ndis National Disability Insurance Scheme Consultation paper: Planning Policy for Personalised Budgets and Plan Flexibility November 2020 Version 1.0 ndis.gov.au"
Image may contain: text that says "ndis National Disability Insurance Scheme Consultation paper: Access and Eligibility Policy with independent assessments November 2020 Version 1.0 ndis.gov.au"
Nov 19 2020

Letter to our South Australian clients and families

To our Growing Space Clients,

You have no doubt heard the news yesterday, that here in South Australia we are now in a six day “hard” lockdown.

What South Australians can’t do

You will not be allowed outside of your home, except for essential trips – the supermarket or immediate medical appointments and supplies for example. You are not allowed to go for a walk or do exercise outside of your home and yard.

Shopping centres will be shut except for supermarkets/pharmacies, and take-away food places will also be closed.

What South Australians with Disability can do

Children of essential workers and vulnerable children (which includes disabled children unable to be cared for at home) are the only children allowed at school over the next week.

Disabled people with significant behavioural support needs which cannot be met within their home/yard and need to be able to go out to walk for example, can apply for a health exemption at healthexemptions.covid19@eso.sa.gov.au – your Support Coordinator can help you make this application.

Support workers that are needed for essential services for you are still allowed at your home and they are allowed to travel to you. This includes where someone needs to go out to regulate severe behavioural support needs.

How The Growing Space can help

If you are reliant on take-away food, or do not have enough essential food or medical/consumable supplies or any other urgent need please contact your Support Coordinator as soon as you can and we will work to arrange the supports you need.

Please contact your Support Coordinator for any support you need and we will do what we can to help.

We can also help with explaining special NDIS changes due to lockdown. You can find more information at https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus.

An Easy English explanation

I have attached an Easy English document at https://www.thegrowingspace.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/South-Australia-Covid-19-Lockdown-Update-Easy-English.pdf which explains the changes and how we can help. This might be useful for you, or someone you love.

Free video e-Learning

The Growing Space Learning team have TODAY released our Thriving Through COVID-19 online learning course – given the new lockdown in SA, we have decided to offer this course for FREE, so do please sign yourself up and watch whenever it suits you!

https://learning.thegrowingspace.com.au/

We’ve got your back

Myself and our Growing Space Team wish you all the best for the next week, and please know that we are here, we’ve got your back.

We’re all still working and available and can help answer your questions and get you the supports you need – if we don’t know the answer to a question, we will find out and get back to you, as quickly as we can.

Take care,

Sam
The Growing Space

Apr 27 2020

Information for Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients in response to COVID-19

OK – so the key points from this document for people on a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment who lose their job (ADE/supported or open employment) due to covid and have an employer who registers for JobKeeper are:

  1. You can get both DSP and JobKeeper, but if you earn too much with JobKeeper, your DSP will “Pause” during that time (until end of Sept 2020) BUT you get to keep you Health Care Card, cheaper prescriptions etc, and you’ll go back to your regular DSP amount after the JobKeeper payment ends – but you HAVE TO let Services Australia (used to be Centrelink) know. Job Keeper is taxable.
  2. If you are on Carer Payment, your Pensioner Concession Card/Health Care card will ONLY be valid during the 12 weeks of the JobKeeper Payment and you will need to reapply for Carer Payment as if you were starting again (although some of the same reports might be able to be used if they’re not too old). Job Keeper is taxable.

There is some other stuff in there about Commonwealth Rental Assistance and who gets the $750 and $550 payments as well, but above are the key points I wanted to point out.

This document has been developed to answer any questions that Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients may have around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my Disability Support Pension (DSP) be impacted if I receive the JobKeeper payment?

Yes. The amount of DSP you are paid depends on how much income you earn. If you are receiving more money through the fortnightly $1,500 JobKeeper payment, than you were before, you may get less money through your DSP. However, it is likely that you will be receiving more money overall.

Most single people on the youth rate of DSP will have their DSP payment suspended for the period that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.

When the JobKeeper payment stops on 27 September 2020 and if your income goes back to what it was before receiving the payment, then the amount you receive on DSP will also go back to what it was before.

Any DSP recipient that loses their DSP as a result of the JobKeeper payment will have their DSP suspended for the period they receive the JobKeeper payment, however will retain their Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) and associated benefits for the entire period. Any concessions they currently receive through their PCC should be retained (however many of these are provided by States and Territories and eligibility for those is a matter for the States and Territories).

DSP recipients whose DSP payment is reduced to nil due to increased employment income will continue to have access to Commonwealth concessions on medical benefits and pharmaceutical concessions provided by the PCC for 52 weeks.

Recipients of DSP whose partner’s income brings them over the income limit for the payment are entitled to keep their PCC for a period of 12 weeks after their DSP payment ceases to be payable.

When the JobKeeper Payments cease, the recipient will need to advise Services Australia of the change in their circumstances, and assuming no other changes to circumstances have occurred, their DSP will re-commence. A DSP recipient that is working can suspend their entitlement for up to two years without needing to re-apply for DSP.

If you have questions about your DSP, please contact Services Australia on 132 717. More information about the JobKeeper scheme, including information on eligible employers and employees can be found at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper.

Will my Carer Payment (CP) be impacted if I receive the JobKeeper payment?

Yes. The amount of CP you are paid depends on how much income you earn. If you are receiving more money through the fortnightly $1,500 JobKeeper payment, than you were before, you may get less money through your CP. However, it is likely that you will be receiving more money overall.

When the JobKeeper payment stops in six months’ time and your income goes back to what it was before receiving the payment, and assuming there are no other changes in circumstances, then the amount you receive on CP will also go back to what it was before.

Any carers that lose their CP will receive no CP for 12 weeks while receiving the JobKeeper Payment. They will retain the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) for those 12 weeks. However, after 12 weeks, CP will be cancelled and the PCC will no longer be able to be used. When the JobKeeper Payment ceases, the recipient will need to re-apply for CP from the beginning of the process. A previous medical report may be able to be re-used, depending on how old the report is.

If you have questions about your CP, please contact Services Australia on 132 717. More information about the JobKeeper scheme, including information on eligible employers and employees can be found at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper.

Will the Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) be impacted if a DSP recipient has their DSP suspended?

Generally, when your Disability Support Payment (DSP) is reduced to nil due to employment income, this means your CRA has also been reduced to nil.

Where your DSP payment is suspended for up to 2 years, your CRA will also not be payable.

Once your DSP payment resumes, your CRA payments may also resume, provided you continue to meet the CRA requirements.

Special rules apply in some circumstances. Please contact Services Australia on 136 240 for detailed information about CRA eligibility and rates.

Am I eligible for the additional $750 Economic Support Payment?

If you are currently receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP), Age Pension or Carer Payment, you are eligible for the Economic Support Payment of $750, which was paid to you between 31 March 2020 and 17 April 2020. You will receive a second payment of $750 from 13 July 2020 if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

You do not need to apply for this payment, it will be automatically paid to you.

People receiving other government benefits may also be eligible for the $750 Economic Support Payment, however, you will only get one payment, even if you get more than one qualifying payment or card.

More information about the Economic Support Payment, including a full list of eligible payments can be found at https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/news/750-oneeconomic-support-payment.

Will I get the extra $550 Coronavirus supplement?

If you are currently receiving one of the following Governments payments, you will receive the temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight on top of your current payments:

• JobSeeker Payment, Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension
• Youth Allowance for job seekers
• Youth Allowance for students and apprentices
• Austudy for students and apprentices
• ABSTUDY for students getting Living Allowance
• Parenting Payment partnered and single
• Farm Household Allowance
• Special Benefit If you receive the Disability Support Pension, Age Pension or Carer Payment and not one of the above payments, you are not eligible for the Coronavirus supplement.

Will I have to pay tax if I get the JobKeeper Payment?

The JobKeeper payment is considered taxable income. More information on tax thresholds and income tax can be found at https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/.

If a supported employee would like to know more about taxable income, they should speak to their employer, family or carer or an Advocacy organisation for assistance.

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