Understanding NDIS budgets

Posted on 26 October 2017

The NDIS is a new way of providing disability supports, and an important part of being an NDIS participant is having choice and control over the funding allocated to you in your plan to achieve your goals.

Having a budget might be big change to what you have had in the past, so here are some of our popular question and answers asked by NDIS participants and their families about understanding and managing a NDIS budget.

Find out more information about understanding your plan and supports and choice and control.

What are the different areas in my budget and what can they be used for?

Core budget – includes supports to help your child complete activities related to day-to-day living and to increase their social and economic participation;

Capital budget – includes supports, such as assistive technologies, equipment and home or vehicle modifications, to help your child live an ordinary life; and,

Capacity Building budget – includes supports including therapies to help your child to build the skills they need to live the life they want, such as opportunities to further their education, participate socially, learn something new and eventually work

Core funding (or core budget) is allocated in your plan for everyday living activities and working towards your longer-term goals. It is made up of different categories of support such as:

  • Consumables (e.g. purchasing everyday use items such as continence aids)
  • Daily Activities (e.g. support with self-care activities during the day or evening)
  • Assistance with Social and Community Participation (e.g. supports to enable you to engage in social or recreational activities)

What is considered a consumable in my NDIS plan?

Consumables are everyday use items you require to manage your personal disability related needs. Many of them are disposable items or are consumed. These can include continence products, home enteral nutrition (HEN) products and low cost assistive products for eating and drinking.

They are funded from the Core budget of a plan and have their own support category. The NDIS AT and Consumable Code Guide lists commonly used assistive technology (AT) and consumable supports.

More information on Assistive Technology, and what is considered consumables, can be found on the Assistive Technology page.

Is my Core Budget funding flexible?

There are three types of support budgets in your funding package:

  • Core Budget – includes supports to help you complete activities related to daily living and work towards your longer-term goals
  • Capacity Building Budget – includes supports to enable you to build your independence and skills
  • Capital Budget – includes assistive technologies, equipment and home or vehicle modifications, and funding for capital costs you may need.

Your Core Budget is the most flexible, and includes four categories of support:

  • Consumables (e.g. purchasing everyday use items such as continence aids)
  • Daily Activities (e.g. assistance with self-care activities during the day or evening)
  • Assistance with Social and Community Participation (e.g. supports to enable you to engage in social or recreational activities)
  • Transport (e.g. if you are unable to use public transport because of your disability).

The good news is you can generally use Core Budget funds allocated against one support category to purchase supports under another support category unless funds have been set aside for a specific purpose such as periodic payments for transport.

More information can be found in the Managing your NDIS funding package factsheet. The Understanding your Plan factsheet also has some useful information about your plan in it. You can also visit the Understanding your plan and supports page on our website for more information.

As your day-to-day living activities and long-term goals are very specific to you, your core budget is the most flexible part in your funding. What you use your core budget for can look different for everyone. However it is important to remember that this part of your budget is centred on everyday living activities and long-term goals, so how you decide to use this funding must align with your goals. There is more information on understanding your plan and supports , as well as downloadable resources on managing the different parts of your budget on the NDIS website. You can also find out more about NDIS plans in the "Your plan, your budget" video (external link).

Do I need a separate bank account to manage my NDIS package?

If you choose to self-manage all or part of your NDIS Budget, it is strongly advised that you have a separate bank account just for your NDIS funds (your NDIS bank account).

As an NDIS participant, the bank account must be opened in your name. If the participant is a child, the bank account should be in the child's name and the child's representative must be listed as a signatory to the child's account. If the bank account is not able to be opened in the participant's name, the account must be in the name of the nominee or child's representative who is approved to self-manage the NDIS funding.

I am self-managed. Do I need to pay invoices upfront and then claim for a reimbursement? How long does a reimbursement take?

As a self-managed participant, you can choose how you wish to pay your service provider's invoices.

Some participants pay their invoice as soon as it comes through, and then request a payment (reimbursement) via the myplace Participant Portal.

Other participants may choose to request a payment through the myplace Participant Portal and once the money has been deposited into their nominated bank account, they pay their service provider.

It's up to you.

It usually takes 24 hours for the payment request to be processed through the myplace participant portal and be deposited into your nominated bank account.
Its important that you have a Service Agreement and Service Bookings to ensure you payments are successful first time.

A Service Agreement is a formal agreement between a participant and provider.

They help to ensure there is a shared understanding of:

  • expectations of what supports will be delivered and how they will be delivered, and
  • each party's responsibilities and obligations and how to resolve any problems that may arise.

A Service Booking is the way a participant engages with their chosen provider(s) online. The service booking nominates the type of service, dates of support, and funding to be allocated to a given provider.

Find out more about self-managed plans in this factsheet (PDF).

My family has multiple plans to manage. Do you have any suggestions how to stay on top of it all? Should I set up separate bank account for each plan?

If you choose to self-manage all or part of your NDIS budget, it is strongly advised that you have a separate bank account just for your NDIS funds (your NDIS bank account). As each plan is different, it would be helpful to have a separate bank account for each plan. As an NDIS participant, the bank account must be opened in your name. If the participant is a child, the bank account should be in the child's name and the child's representative must be listed as a signatory to the child's account. If the bank account is not able to be opened in the participant's name, the account must be in the name of the nominee or child's representative who is approved to self-manage the NDIS funding.

Ultimately it does come down to how your family finds it best to manage the financial transaction of each plan. For further information about managing supports in your plan, including the different ways to process transactions, making service bookings and using the myplace Participant Portal, visit the participant section of the website.