Why the NDIS wants to support your life with your partner
What is a goal? For the NDIS, it can be all sorts of things.
In an NDIS plan, your goals describe what you want to achieve, develop or learn over the course of the plan.
For example, at your NDIS planning meeting, you could advance a goal where you wish to enhance the quality of your relationship with your partner or another family member.
You could think about what might help you to achieve that, and you could use some NDIS core funding for those specific supports.
“Often people who are not well funded have developed a routine that is okay, and will just make do," says Peter Van Benthem, Peer Support Coordinator with AQA/Spire.
"If you have developed a life that works okay, you may be reluctant to tinker with it. You might think that life is as good as it gets, or that you don’t deserve more.
"The truth is, you do deserve more. And this is not just about you. You will be helping not only yourself but everybody around you if you adopt the goal of making life at home more fun and relaxing.”
Mr Van Benthem has funding from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) but he says the principle for NDIS participants is much the same. Loving relationships will go a long way towards keeping you happy and healthy, and so the NDIS will fund support that helps you sustain those relationships.
“For example, I am fairly high-needs quadriplegic. My wife and family maintain a well-kept home, and support me in many ways. But if I get some cleaning assistance to do things my wife would otherwise do, that gives my wife more time.
"Now on Friday mornings, we go out together and have coffee. When we do that, she’s more relaxed, and we have good time together. She is not thinking she should be back at home doing work.”
The support does not have to be directly about time spent together, Mr Van Benthem notes. Maybe your loved one would like more time just for him or herself – so that they could get out and see friends, or spend a couple of hours in front of the fire reading a book.
“That would count too,” Mr Van Benthem says. "It gives us all more independence, so that when we’re together it is better quality.”
Fiona Scoullar, NDIS Service Development Officer with AQA Victoria, observes that close relationships are important in everyone’s life.
“Maintaining them is difficult, and even more difficult if your partner or another loved one is also your carer,” Ms Scoullar says.
"The NDIS can provide assistance with this, for example through funding personal care that can give your family member more freedom to identify, first and foremost, as that family member, rather than as your carer.
"From the perspective of the NDIS, it is better for everybody if your partner feels happier and more satisfied as your partner. And a big part of that could be their feeling, as much as possible, that they are your partner – not your carer.”