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3 years ago

MSWA Bulletin Magazine Summer 2019

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THE NDIS TEAM MONEY MYTHS WITH THE NDIS Money makes the world go around or so they say, and while the introduction of the NDIS has brought with it many changes, perhaps the biggest change has been the way organisations like MSWA and our Customers interact with the subject of money. Funding has always been a hot topic across the disability sector; it has always been a concern and dictated the amount of services we could provide. But now it is more visible and requires a new way of thinking. GEOFF HUTCHINSON MANAGER CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT One of the goals of the Scheme was to take away the year-to-year funding questions that used to exist under the block-funding model. New governments, wars, droughts and general changes to national priorities could influence the size and availability of funding for disability services. However, while NDIS funding is now guaranteed, there are new worries, questions and myths starting to emerge. So, I thought it would be appropriate to answer some of these. MYTH 1 I’m going to run out of funding. This is mostly incorrect. In late September, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that the final budget for 2018-2019 would be in surplus for the first time since 2007-2008. The subtext of this announcement was that this surplus was built on a .4bn underspend across the NDIS. Part of this was the delay in getting people onto the program, the other was that on average, customers only spent 75% of their available funding. Funding is designed to last for the length of a plan (around a year) so while some management is required, most people will be ok. MYTH 2 If I don’t spend my funding on services, I will get it back or have it added to my next plan. Also, incorrect. If at the end of the plan you have funding left over it will go back to the NDIA and you may receive a question from your LAC as to why the underspend occurred? Funds are provided based on your year goals so work with your MSWA team to ensure you reach them. MYTH 3 It’s my money and I can spend it on what I want. Sorry but no. The NDIS is not actually a free market as some people have suggested. It’s a monopsonist where one entity (the NDIA) does all the buying and sets the price. The NDIS determines what you can purchase and how much it costs. There are some things within your plan that you can move around (that’s the choice and control) however others are well and truly set. From myself and everyone in the Customer Engagement team, have a happy and safe summer. MYTH 4 I will need an accounting degree to manage my NDIS Plan. It wouldn’t hurt but ultimately incorrect. The NDIS has three different levels of support for plan managements. You can choose to have your funding agency managed, choose a designated plan manager, or choose to selfmanage if you want ultimate power. Your involvement is dependent on you and your preferences so if you would like to talk through these options, give the MSWA NDIS team a call to discuss. You’ve probably heard it said that you should never discuss religion, money, or politics with people. And while I am happy to stay clear of religious and political debates, it is important that we talk more about money matters when it comes to the NDIS. MSWA is putting new supports in place to help you navigate this new frontier and understand the NDIS funding system. As always, if you have any questions, please let us know. 16

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY POWERED MOBILITY DEVICES VERITY DE FRIES MSWA SENIOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST Walking can be difficult for many people with MS due to several reasons which may include reduced leg strength, impaired balance or fatigue. Some people may benefit from using mobility devices such as a wheelchair or scooter. There are many factors to consider when working out which device is going to best suit you and your needs. SCOOTERS Scooters are ideal for accessing the local community, with larger models being able to ascend hills and travel distances of up to 50km in one battery charge. Smaller models are also available, as well as scooters that can be dismantled for transport in the boot of a car. These will have less power so are often not able to travel long distances. Most will come with a basket for small items, and some may be fitted with a sun canopy or larger rear storage bag. POWERED WHEELCHAIRS Powered wheelchairs are generally more compact than scooters and can be more easily navigated around tight corners, such as in a house. However, they can still boast enough power to be used out and about, depending on the type of wheelchair. The other benefit of many power wheelchairs is that they can be customised to suit your needs, incorporating different style seats, backrests, headrests and a range of other features. These can then potentially be modified in the future if your needs change rather than having to get a completely new device. Some power wheelchairs can be dismantled for transport in a standard vehicle. These wheelchairs lack the ability to be customised and have fewer features available, so it depends on your priorities and needs as to whether these would be suitable. POWER ASSISTANCE Another option is to retrofit battery powered wheels onto a manual wheelchair – known as power assistance devices. These can take different forms, such as converting the wheelchair to having joystick control (like a powered wheelchair), using an accessory item such as a watch to control ’go and stop’, or emulating the use of a regular manual wheelchair but reducing the amount of physical effort you need to put in yourself. Contact the Occupational Therapy department on 9365 4888, and we can work with you to find the mobility solution that will best suit your needs. 17