Planning a budget as an NDIS participant during COVID-19

As the year has unfolded, many additional financial concerns have arisen for Australians. For those living with a disability, who rely solely or even partly on access to funding, a tough financial climate can often exacerbate an already stressful budgeting situation.

While creating and working to a budget may seem like a chore to begin with, taking time to methodically consider your regular expenses can be a useful process. You might find that you are unnecessarily spending more than you need to in some areas, or that there are upcoming expenses that you should consider putting money aside for to avoid future stress.

How do I create a budget?

For general budget advice, the Australian Government have compiled a number of resources, including a simple money manager which is a good starting point as you begin to consider your regular expenses.

Incorporating a Stimulus Package into Your Budget

In response to financial hardship resulting from job losses attributed to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Government has announced a number of stimulus packages. Depending on your circumstances you may be a recipient of these. You will need to continue budgeting carefully, even if you receive a one time or short term stimulus. If your budget leaves you with additional funds at the end of the week, consider saving this surplus for a rainy day as unexpected expenses such as medical needs, car or home maintenance.  

What Additional Support can the NDIS Provide During COVID-19?

For those with access to funding from the NDIS, your NDIS plan would outline any expenses which relate to your funding. In general the plan’s budget is created for a fixed term to assist you in meeting both your short and long term goals. While you do have the ability to request changes to your plan from the NDIS, once you have accepted your plan, under normal circumstances you will only able to use the funding in the way described in the original plan.

Due to the unprecedented current circumstances that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDIS have made some concessions to the way in which participants can spend their funding. Current concessions include broadening access to low cost assistive technology including smart devices that will enable people to communicate with their service providers online. Fitness equipment has also been added to this list. Thorough information regarding the temporary changes to the way that NDIS participants can use their budget has been put together by the NDIS. They have also compiled some frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 and the NDIS that will provide participants with the latest advice.

Can I access additional Government Funding?  

You may be eligible for funding which you are not currently aware of. The Centrelink Payment Finder is a useful tool which guides you through a series of questions in order to help you find payments relating to your circumstance. Furthermore, if you have been diagnosed with a condition that impacts your life, there may be funding specifically available to assist you. For example, people living with the rare genetic condition Epidermolysis Bullosa are eligible for a dressing scheme funded by the Australian Government. The National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS)  provides eligible participants with access to subsidised dressings, bandages and ancillary products.
Support groups for your specific condition will be able to point you in the direction of any funding that may be available for you.

 

How Can I Save Money on Health Care Products?

So you’ve created your budget and noticed that health care products are a substantial expense; searching for ways to save on this cost should be your next step. Purchasing all your items in one place can be a useful way to save money, due to reduced delivery costs or reduced time and effort travelling to multiple stores. Similarly, looking out for discounts and deals on health care products can help you to reduce your costs. Independence Australia’s convenient online store allows to get all your healthcare needs in a quick and convenient way, and don’t forget that when you spend $50 or more on health care products from Independence Australia, delivery is free!

Looking for more NDIS or healthcare advice?

Check out our wide range of NDIS and healthcare information and support from the team at Independence Australia.

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