NDIS support budgets: the basics
Your child’s NDIS plan includes your child’s funding. This is the total amount you can spend on services and supports for the duration of your child’s plan, usually 12 months.
There are three NDIS support budgets, which fund different kinds of supports:
- Core supports budget – this budget funds supports that help your child with everyday activities and current needs related to your child’s developmental delay or disability.
- Capacity building supports budgets – this budget funds supports that help your child build their independence and skills.
- Capital supports budgets – this budget funds supports that include 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 three 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 and services 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 achieve their NDIS goals. The supports and services must also be value for money and likely to work. They should take into account support your child gets from you, your family, the community and other government services.
Core supports budget
The core supports budget has four categories:
- Assistance with daily life – for example, this might pay for someone to help get your child dressed and showered, or additional care for short periods to provide you with respite.
- Consumables – this covers everyday items like continence products or shower stools. It also includes 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 provide you with respite while your child is with the support worker.
- Transport – funding in this category should help your child achieve other goals in their plan, like getting to occupational therapy, or taking part in an art class. It might include general and specialised transport for attending school.
The core supports budget is the most flexible of the three 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 helping your child achieve their 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 social and community participation.
A note about the transport category
The transport category isn’t as flexible as the other three 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 nine categories:
- Support coordination – this is funding for an NDIS 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. This category might also cover support for you – for example, to help you learn to guide your child’s behaviour in social situations.
- 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 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 helps increase your child’s skills, independence and community participation. Therapy can be individual therapy or in a group.
- 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 plan – that is, you can’t move money from one category to another.
But within each category, you can decide what services and 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 reach their goals.
Capital supports budget
The capital supports budget has two 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 special disability accommodation. If you think your child needs special accommodation, you can discuss this with your child’s therapists and your NDIS 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. And therapists usually need to recommend these expenses.
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 on your plan and in the myplace portal.