Navigating the NDIS can be daunting, especially if the NDIS marks the first time you or your loved one are accessing supports and services. The Inform Online NDIS 101 series aims to take some of the confusion out of understanding, accessing and using the NDIS by providing straightforward information and resources.


More than four million Australians have a disability. And, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, many of those people live with their primary carer. While it can be rewarding, caring for a loved one can also be physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. That’s why respite care is so important.


What is respite care?

Respite care provides carers with a break from the demands of care. But, just as importantly, respite care provides people with disabilities the opportunity to get out into their community, to play sport, travel or learn new skills.

There’s nothing wrong with needing a break from the people we live with day-to-day. In fact, some time away from each other can be incredibly healthy. For carers, regular breaks can mean that they are better able to continue to provide their loved one with quality care. For families, respite can help improve the health and happiness of the family unit.


Respite care and the NDIS

NDIS plans are focused on people with disabilities and their goals. That means that supports provided seek to assist with things like day-to-day tasks, skill development and social and economic participation. It’s for this reason that respite care is not listed as an NDIS support category. However, the National Disability Insurance Agency appreciate the value of supporting families and carers so they can continue to do the important work that they do. That’s why supports like residential respite, in-home respite and facility-based respite can be included as part of an NDIS plan.

Residential respite, which is now called Short Term Accommodation Assistance, is provided across three levels:

  • Level One: between 7 and 14 days per year
  • Level Two: between 14 and 28 days per year
  • Level Three: 28 days per year

Depending on your circumstances, additional or higher levels of Short Term Accommodation Assistance may be available.

In addition to the Short Term Accommodation Assistance, many of the supports covered by NDIS plans often provide respite inadvertently. For example, support to play sport, attend an art class or develop skills can often provide a break for carers, so too in-home support that provides domestic and personal care.


Tips for accessing respite like care

As with other elements of the NDIS planning process, accessing Short Term Accommodation Assistance or respite like care requires some preparation and planning.

  • Before your planning meeting, take the time to sit down and write a carer statement. There isn’t a fixed style for carer statements but it’s helpful to describe what care is provided and what kind of support is needed and why.
  • Because the focus of the NDIS is on building the capacity of people with disabilities, it’s important to describe how any supports required contribute to your loved one achieving their goals. Try not to use the word respite. Instead, describe how access to support helps with community access, skill development or social and economic participation.
  • Speak to your doctors, counselors or allied health professionals and ask them to write letters of support that illustrate the types of support required.


For more information about supports for Carers visit the NDIS or chat to your Local Area Coordinator.


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