NDIS support budgets: the basics
Your child’s NDIS plan includes your child’s funding. This is the total amount you can spend on supports for the duration of your child’s plan, usually 12 months.
There are 3 NDIS support budgets, which fund different kinds of supports:
- Core supports budget – this is for supports that help your child with everyday activities and current needs.
- Capacity building supports budgets – this is for supports that help your child build their independence and skills.
- Capital supports budgets – this is for supports like assistive technology, equipment, home or vehicle modifications, and one-off purchases.
The money in your child’s plan will be in one or more of these support budgets, but your child’s plan might not include all 3 budgets.
Each budget is divided into several categories. And each budget has different rules about how you can spend the money in its categories. For example, in some budgets, you can use the money in one category to pay for things in another category.
This means some budgets are more flexible than others.
The supports in your child’s NDIS plan must be reasonable and necessary. This means they must be directly related to your child’s developmental delay or disability and help your child work towards their NDIS goals. The supports must also be value for money and likely to work.
Core supports budget
The core supports budget has 4 categories:
- Assistance with daily life – for example, this might pay for someone to help get your child dressed and showered. Or it might pay for short periods of additional care to give you respite.
- Consumables – this might cover everyday items like continence products or shower stools. It might also include low-cost technology like communication apps.
- Assistance with social and community participation – for example, this might be funding for a support worker to help your child take part in social and community activities like art classes or choir. This might also give you respite while your child is with the support worker.
- Transport – this might be specialised transport for attending school or funding for a teenage child to get to social activities if they can’t use public transport independently.
The core supports budget is the most flexible of the 3 budgets. You can use money in most categories of this budget to pay for supports and services in other categories, as long as the money is spent on reasonable and necessary supports that help your child work towards their NDIS goals.
For example, if your child stopped needing nappies halfway through their plan, you could use money allocated to nappies in the consumables category for extra support in another category, like a support worker to help your child take part in an exercise class.
A note about the transport category
The transport category isn’t as flexible as the other categories in the core supports budget. Not all plans will include transport funding. You’re more likely to get transport funding for your child to get to an activity if a child of the same age without developmental delay or disability could get there independently.
Capacity building supports budget
The capacity building supports budget has 9 categories:
- Support coordination – this is funding for an support coordinator to help with using your child’s plan.
- Improved living arrangements – this is funding to help your child find and maintain an appropriate place to live when they’re ready to live independently of you.
- Increased social and community participation – this is funding to increase your child’s skills so your child can take part in community, social and recreational activities.
- Finding and keeping a job – this is funding for training and other support to help your older child find and keep a job.
- Improved relationships – this is funding to help your child develop positive behaviour and interact with others.
- Improved health and wellbeing – this funding includes exercise or diet advice that helps your child manage the effects of their developmental delay or disability (but the NDIS won’t pay for gym memberships).
- Improved learning – this is funding for advice and other support that helps your child make the transition from school to further education.
- Improved daily living – this is funding for assessment, training or therapy that increases your child’s skills, independence and community participation. It might also cover support for you – for example, to help you learn how to guide your child’s behaviour in social situations.
- Improved life choices – this funding pays for a plan manager to help you manage your child’s plan, if you choose this option.
You must spend the money in the capacity building supports budget according to the categories in your child’s plan – that is, you can’t move money from one category to another.
But within each category, you can decide what supports to spend your child’s funding on. For example, you might decide to spend all the money in the improved daily living category on weekly occupational therapy appointments for your child. Or you might choose to pay for a fortnightly occupational therapy appointment and a fortnightly social skills group. This is fine so long as both expenses help your child work towards their NDIS goals.
Capital supports budget
The capital supports budget has 2 categories:
- Assistive technology – this includes equipment to help your child with mobility, personal care, communication and recreation. For example, it might cover a wheelchair or vehicle modifications.
- Home modifications – this includes home modifications like installing a handrail in a bathroom. It might also cover specialist disability accommodation. If you think your child needs specialist accommodation, you can discuss this with your child’s therapists and your early childhood partner, LAC or NDIA planner.
Your child’s NDIS plan will say exactly what you can use the funding in the capital supports budget for. You can’t use it for anything else.
You can see your child’s NDIS plan on the myplace portal. The names of the categories in your plan are different from the names used on the myplace portal. The NDIS publishes a full list of the support budget category names used in your plan and in the myplace portal.