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July 2020

AFDO Disability Loop eNews


A good way to find out more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Hello <<First Name>>,


Welcome to Disability Loop eNews. We hope you are keeping well and connected with friends, family, and good support. Here you will find recent news about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and helpful NDIS-related resources either from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) or from other organisations.

New advice about face masks for Victoria

The Victorian government has announced that from 11:59pm Wednesday 22nd July, everyone in the Melbourne metro area and Mitchell Shire MUST wear a mask whenever they leave home.  

The government said it does not have to be a surgical-grade mask – it can be any kind of face covering, such as a reusable mask, a scarf, or a bandana. The fine for not wearing a mask in public will be $200.  Please be aware that there will be some reasons not to wear a mask. For example, those who have a medical reason, kids under 12 years of age, those who have a professional reason, or if it’s just not practical, such as you are unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

Also, the Federal Government announced last week that it is now mandatory for disability workers in the Melbourne metro area and Mitchell Shire to wear face masks when working with people with disability.  People with disability should also wear a mask while receiving services in their home.  Please be aware that this does not apply to children, or anyone who has breathing difficulties, or anyone who has a physical condition that makes wearing a mask difficult.

You can find more information on the NDIS website - Advice for Victoria.  You can also find resources on how to wear a mask on the AFDO website - Information for Victoria.

If you have any questions about what these changes mean for you.  You can contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787.  The Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). 
Australian Government logo with text "CoronaVirus Information for people with disability."
Participant First: Help shape the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is looking for people with disability and their families to take part in their "Participant First" project.

The Participant First project sees the NDIA listening to participants about the best ways for them to design and deliver better services for people with disability. This is a great chance to get involved and contribute to making sure the NDIS works the way we all want it to.

If you are interested in taking part, there is an information form to complete and return to the NDIA. The information form allows you to choose between three levels of commitment. The first involves online and email feedback. The second involves one-on-one or small group discussions. The third sees you working directly with project teams to design a product or policy.

You can find more information about the Participant First project on the NDIS website

New Fact Sheet: Preparing for a COVID-19 outbreak in a residential setting
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has released a series of Fact Sheets for people with disabilities.  The latest Fact Sheet available is about how NDIS participants can expect providers to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in a residential setting, and what they should do if an outbreak occurs in a residential setting.

We have included the links to this latest Fact Sheet below, including the Easy Read version of the Fact Sheet. An Auslan version will soon be available, as will translated versions in other languages.

Fact Sheet: How NDIS participants can expect providers to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in a residential setting. The Commission also has a COVID-19 webpage containing information fopeople with disability, and a webpage of frequently asked questions about COVID-19.
NDIS Webinar - Getting the most out of your NDIS Plan
In May 2020, AFDO held an online information session called Getting the Most Out of Your NDIS Plan. This webinar was recorded and is now available to view on AFDO’s YouTube channel.

The webinar will help you learn about NDIS ideas and processes, give you useful suggestions and tips, and boost your confidence with implementing your plan. The presenter is a person with a disability and an NDIS participant. The information is from the point of view of lived experience of disability and independent of any service provider or government organisation.

The session was conducted in two parts and runs for about 90 minutes for each part. The videos have Auslan interpreting, captioning and a transcript for each video is also available. link to the Getting the Most Out of Your NDIS Plan videos

The information session covers understanding your plan, how to find and work with service providers, options if you have concerns about your plan, how to prepare for your next plan and how to use your plan to live a better life in the community.
We have also put together a set of useful handouts in an information pack that gives you more details on the topics that are covered in the information session. You may like to download some or all of these handouts to refer to as needed. The Information Pack can be downloaded from the AFDO website here.
We hope you enjoy the videos and find them helpful.
What does the NDIS mean for me?
The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) and AFDO gave a presentation last year, at the Wyndham Disability Expo called "What does the NDIS mean for me?" 

The video of this presentation is now available on the Wyndham City Council's YouTube page.  The video is aimed towards people with disability from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, and will explain some commonly used terms in the NDIS to help people learn about basic concepts like what a goal is? And what does self-advocacy mean?"

You can view the video - What does the NDIS mean for me? here.  We regret that as the video was not produced by AFDO, the video does not include captions.
Support available to Melbourne participants

The NDIA is encouraging participants that live in the Melbourne metro area and Mitchell Shire to contact the National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 and select option 5 if their situation has changed due to COVID-19. 

The NDIS has introduced a range of measures to ensure participants can continue to get the support they need including:

  • NDIS plans to be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support 
  • Face-to-face planning shifted to telephone meetings where possible    
  • Temporarily broadened the flexible approach for low cost Assistive Technology items. This allows participants to access low cost AT items, such as smart devices and physio equipment, in consultation with their existing support providers.
  • To support participants living in Supported Independent Living arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDIA has introduced two new support items for cleaning services and higher intensity support.
Survey for NDIS participants about COVID-19 changes to the Scheme  
The NDIA is encouraging NDIS participants to take part in the new University of Melbourne survey about the changes they made to the NDIS in response to COVID-19.

The survey gives participants, family members, and carers a chance to share their experience of interacting with the NDIA and the Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey will also help the NDIA to understand your experience of using telehealth to access health services.

The survey is voluntary and anonymous. Your responses will not be shared with anyone outside the research team. Completing the survey is not related to the NDIS planning process, and it won’t have any impact on your NDIS plan, funding, or services. 

The survey is screen-reader friendly and will take about 15-25 minutes to complete.  You can ask someone you trust, like a family member, friend, or your support worker to help you complete the survey. 

The survey is now open and you can fill in the survey here.
Participant Information Access is available now
The NDIA is making important changes to improve participants’ access to their personal information.

The new Participant Information Access process is an easier and faster way for current and prospective participants, or their authorised representatives, to access the personal information the NDIA hold about them.

Using the new online form, participants can make a request for:
  • information about an access decision, including the reasons for the decision 
  • information about an NDIS plan or plan review, including the information relied on to make the decision and the reasons for the decision 
  • medical and other documents provided to the NDIA.
The NDIA will aim to respond to requests within 14 days, but no later than 28 days.

For further information visit the Participant Information Access page of the NDIS website. 
Latest NDIS data now available
The NDIA has released the 5th set of NDIS data on the NDIS Data and Insights website. It includes a range of new and refreshed data, including detailed reports into Participant Outcomes and Family/Carer Outcomes.

This data release also includes:
  • market dashboards for each Local Government Area (LGA), supplementing the dashboards by service district. This makes it easier for people to get a picture of Scheme progress in the areas they live in. 
  • new data sets on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) participants, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants based on 31 March 2020 data.  
  • refreshed data sets and tables using 31 March 2020 data for all data previously released.
The Outcomes data gives a picture of how far the Scheme has come, with highlights including:
  • Almost 90% of participants aged 25 and over said they now had someone outside their home to call for practical help. 
The data also highlights areas for continued focus, so the NDIS can continue to improve outcomes for participants. Public data releases can help you, the Agency, the sector, and the Australian community better understand how the NDIS is making a difference for people with disability. 

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