NDIS funding: two women in COVID masks discussing NDIS funding at an outdoor cafe

Why people don’t spend their NDIS funding

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds eligible people with disability to access support, gain greater independence, learn new skills, find jobs or volunteer in their community, and improve their quality of life.

However, recent NDIS data suggests that only 76 per cent of allocated participant funding is used, which means many people with a disability are not getting the support they need to live their best life.

This article will explore the four most common reasons people don’t spend their total NDIS funding. We hope that by understanding these reasons, more people can access the support they need and reach their goals.

1. People don’t know what their NDIS funding can be used for

The NDIS is a complex scheme, and many people do not fully understand how the NDIS works and how the funding can be managed appropriately. This lack of understanding often leads to some people not using the full potential of their allocated funding.

Participants and families may not be aware that their NDIS funding can cover various services, from home modifications to therapy sessions, travel, respite and more.

The NDIS offers a range of resources that cover the basics of the scheme, how to manage your NDIS funds, and information on different supports that can be accessed. You can find more information about the scheme’s work on the NDIS website.

Plan managers can also tell you what the NDIS will pay for and what it won’t. The best plan managers are the ones that will work with you to make sure you’re spending your funding in the right way and help you understand why certain items or services are not eligible for NDIS funding.

2. People don’t have the right supports

A support system is essential to access and use your NDIS funding effectively.  If you want to achieve particular things, you need service providers that are willing to help you work towards your aspirations.

NDIS support coordinators are invaluable for participants with big dreams, complex plans or difficulty managing their support. As experienced professionals, support coordinators can work one-on-one with you to understand your needs and aspirations, create a plan to achieve your goals and provide you with the support, guidance, and resources to get there.

Having the right team puts you ahead of the pack because you have a helping hand to get all the necessary support. It also means that you’ve got someone looking out for you who will make you aware of any changes to the NDIS that may impact you.

3. People don’t have time to manage their NDIS funding

It is easy to be overwhelmed by day-to-day commitments such as work, family, and other life aspects. As a result, participants and families do not have the time to plan their NDIS funding and arrange the required services and support.

We recommend engaging the services of a Plan Manager to participants and families with a lot on their plates.

Plan management is just one of the options for managing your NDIS Plan. But it’s fast becoming the method of choice for many NDIS participants because it gives you more freedom and control over your NDIS budget while reducing time-consuming administration such as bookkeeping, audits and budgeting.

Your plan manager submits claims to the NDIS portal on your behalf, pays your invoices and helps you with any NDIS payment issues. Unlike self-management, you don’t need to participate in any payment auditing. You won’t have to provide invoices, receipts or other evidence to the NDIA to show how you spent your NDIS funds. Your plan manager takes care of that for you.

With less stress and more time, you can focus on what’s important, work towards your goals, and be confident that your NDIS funds and paperwork are being cared for.

Anyone with an NDIS plan can choose to use plan management. You simply need to ask your local area coordinator or NDIS planners for it at your next plan review meeting. You can also do it mid-plan by telephoning the NDIS on 1800 800 110 or getting in touch with your local area coordinator. You can find your nearest NDIS office with the online office locator app.

4. People are afraid of losing their funding

Another reason people don’t spend their full NDIS funding is the fear of losing it altogether.

This fear can lead to people not using the total amount of their funding as they are worried that they will be in breach of the NDIS rules and their funding will be removed or reduced.

It is doubtful that NDIS would take away someone’s funding if they are making reasonable use of their money and are not in breach of the NDIS rules. However, being aware of the NDIS rules and how they apply to you is crucial. You can read all of the scheme’s guidelines on the NDIS website.

You can contact NDIS directly if you are unsure or set up a meeting with NDIA to discuss any queries you may have. Remember that NDIS is a scheme to help you, so there is no benefit in not using your total NDIS funding if you are eligible.

If you encounter challenges with the scheme or feel you’ve been treated unfairly, we recommend contacting an NDIS advocate.

NDIS advocates provide support, guidance, and representation to participants and their families. It’s their job to make you aware of your rights and entitlements and help you access the support and services you deserve.

Lifely can help you get the most out of your NDIS funding

At Lifely, we are committed to helping NDIS participants achieve their goals and live their best lives.

With a focus on participant-centred care, we provide tailored support designed to meet each participant’s unique needs and goals.

Our team of NDIS support Coordinators, plan managers and support workers can work closely with you to develop individualised support plans that reflect your needs and navigate the system to surround yourself with the right people and services.

You can read more about what we offer on our services page.

We also support free NDIS advocacy services in Bendigo and Mildura. The advocates are independent of Lifely. Advocates act solely in your interests and help you exercise choice and control over your NDIS experience.

Advocacy is free of charge thanks to Bendigo Health’s Carer Support Services which has generously funded the disability advocacy service to support you to: 

  • Access the NDIS 
  • Prepare for your plan reviews 
  • Help you understand NDIS decisions 
  • Evaluate ‘reviewable decisions

You can be a Lifely participant, but you don’t have to be to access the service.