NDIS participants living in aged care and registration with the NDIS Commission

Nov 15 / Policy Team

Support coordinator, Francine, reached out to the Summer Foundation when she was told the lively 64-year-old she supported must give up access to the NDIS if she wanted to continue living in the residential aged care (RAC) facility she has lived in for 10 years. 

If she continued to receive funding from the NDIS she would have to move out, with little more than a month’s notice. Francine was appalled by this predicament. She contacted the Summer Foundation for guidance and support.

It appears that some NDIS participants (participants) are being incorrectly advised that they must give up their NDIS support to continue living in RAC. Support coordinators are searching for answers, but have found that there is little information available.

The Summer Foundation is working with participants in RAC, RAC providers, support coordinators, the NDIA and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) to ensure participants’ rights are upheld. If you are working with someone in this situation the Summer Foundation may be able to assist you on info@summerfoundation.org.au or 1300 626 560.

Key Information

  • It is important that NDIS participants living in RAC do not give up their NDIS support.
  • Being asked to give up NDIS funding or leave your home contravenes the NDIS Commission Code of Conduct and aged care legislation on choice. 
  • NDIS eligibility is from 0-64. A person can remain an NDIS participant after their 65th birthday for as long as they wish, but if they relinquish their NDIS funding they cannot re-enter the scheme after their 65th birthday.

Key contacts

  • NDIS participants in RAC and their supporters can call Summer Foundation – Sinead McKee, YPIRAC Service Coordinator – Email: Sinead.McKee@summerfoundation.org.au | Phone: 0456 770 781
  • RAC providers can call Summer Foundation – RAC Engagement – Email: racengagement@summerfoundation.org.au | Phone: 1300 508 945  
  • NDIS Commission – Email: contactcentre@ndiscommission.gov.au | Phone: 1800 035 544

What is the issue?

Participants living in RAC are dual participants of the NDIS and aged care systems. RAC providers are subject to the regulation of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission.

In December 2020, RAC providers delivering services to participants automatically became registered NDIS providers. RAC providers must now renew their registration with the NDIS Commission. They will have 9 months from December 2022 to complete the registration application and external audit. The NDIS Commission offers some flexibility on this time frame.

Although the dual regulatory obligations are intended to ensure all participants have access to the same level of safeguarding no matter where they live, many RAC providers have found the dual regulation a burden that hinders their already limited capacity to deliver care. Navigating the varying compliance requirements of these 2 systems can be complex, especially for smaller RAC providers.

Some RAC providers want to opt out of supporting NDIS participants because they are unsure how to navigate these registration and audit requirements.

What should happen?

It is important participants do not give up their NDIS status and supports. NDIS supports can enable a person to spend time in the community, do things they enjoy, meet with family and friends and build independence. Importantly, NDIS funding can also assist a person to explore living in the community. 

Participants in RAC are likely to be eligible for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and support to live well in the community. Exploring an independent life and building confidence to leave RAC takes time, as does the application for SDA and securing the right housing and supports. Continuing to have access to NDIS-funded supports enables participants in RAC – including those older than 65, and under 65 – to continue to have options and choice about their living arrangements into the future.

What support is available?

RAC providers, participants living in RAC and their supporters all need access to accurate information. You can call the Summer Foundation on 1300 626 560, or email info@summerfoundation.org.au for the latest information and support.
The Summer Foundation’s aged care engagement project can support RAC providers to manage dual regulation and support for NDIS participants to consider. 
The NDIS Commission encourages providers to get in contact for support in managing regulations and supporting participants. It has also produced information for participants about RAC provider audits and how they can be involved.
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