The NDIS and carers – Carers NSW

The following blog is from Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis. We invited Carers NSW to discuss what the NDIS means for carers in NSW. The 6th of April also marks the 40th anniversary of Carers NSW.

The NDIS is an unprecedented opportunity for people with disability, their families and carers to receive the support they need to achieve their goals and engage with their communities.

With the NDIS comes the good news that more NSW residents than ever before will be able to access funded disability support. People with disability, their families and carers will also have more choice and control over the disability support they receive.

Better funded, more tailored support promises to reduce the pressure on many family carers, freeing them up to go back to work or study, take better care of their own needs or focus on other responsibilities. Whether these outcomes are being realised at a larger scale is not yet clear, but positive stories abound.

What is clear is that the NDIS will not take over the role of family carers; encouraging informal support networks is a key priority of the NDIS.

The NDIS legislation, rules and guidelines acknowledge the importance of carers in the lives of participants and the need to ensure that the support they provide is sustainable.

With the participant’s agreement, carers can:

  • be involved in the planning process
  • provide a ‘carer statement’ about how their caring role impacts them
  • have a separate conversation with the planner, where appropriate
  • help the participant to manage their supports
  • receive funded supports that build their capacity to care

Many carers will benefit greatly from the NDIS supports provided to the person they care for. However, it is important to remember that the NDIS is ultimately focused on the participant’s needs and preferences, not the carer’s.

Given that many existing carer support programs are set to be incorporated into NDIS, governments must ensure that carers are included and supported by the NDIS in line with carer recognition legislation, and that adequate carer specific supports continue outside of the NDIS.

Governments must also ensure that carers experience continuity of support throughout the transition to the NDIS and receive adequate information and support as they prepare.

I’ll conclude with a quote from one respondent to the Carers NSW 2014 Carer Survey, about what the NDIS means for carers.

The NDIS is allowing my son to receive invaluable support, especially speech therapy, which we could not afford to provide at the current level without the assistance of the NDIA. The difference it is making to his abilities will have a life-long impact on how he interacts with the world. It has given us a renewed hope for his abilities to cope with adult life, and will hopefully reduce the level of financial assistance he will require as an adult.”

For more information about the NDIS and how it effects carers, you can visit www.carersnsw.org.au/NDIS.