Understanding Your NDIS Home Modifications Benefit
What Is NDIS Home Modification
Home Modifications are changes made to your home so that you can safely enter or leave your home and move easily around the commonly used areas of your home regardless of your mobility needs. Home modifications allow you to adapt your living area to accommodate using a cane, crutches, walker, wheelchairs, or other necessary medical equipment related to your disability. This NDIS category includes a professional assessment of your disability-specific access needs, design and planning of home modifications, installation of specialized equipment or fixtures, and related remodeling changes to your home. Home modifications support your NDIS plan to lead an ordinary life. The Home Modifications benefit may be included under the Capitol Fund category of your NDIS plan.
Why Are Home Modifications Important
Independent living has proven to benefit both the mental and physical health of people with disabilities. You have the same rights and choices in your life as people without disabilities. This sense of independence is a key factor in living a fulfilling life. Home modifications can help remove the physical barriers within your home that make life harder.
The Home Modifications included in your NDIS plan enable you to:
Improve safety in the home
Achieve greater independence
Increase participation in self-care
Contribute to healthy living
Raise your sense of well being
Promote and support social interaction with family and friends
Enjoy a higher-quality of home life
Who Is Eligible For Home Modification
Home modifications may be included in your NDIS plan if…
You or your caregivers are unable to access and use commonly used areas or rooms in your home.
Your home’s current condition negatively affects your current living arrangements and required care.
A qualified and approved occupational therapy assessor has completed a home assessment and recommended home modifications for you. Possible alternatives such as the use of appropriate mobile equipment must be considered.
There Are Three Types Of NDIS Home Modifications
• Simple home modifications are low cost and easy to find. These include grab rails, anti-slip floor treads, and mounted shower chairs. Simple modifications can often be done by family, friends, or community support volunteers. Most low-cost home improvements (<$1,500) do not require a quote.
• Minor home modifications are non-structural changes that will require an experienced professional to properly assess the situation and determine the best modification solution. These building projects are relatively simple and costs remain relatively low. Minor home modifications include a non-structural door widening or a basic ramp installation. An occupational therapist assessor will evaluate your needs and complete the minor home modifications template to be submitted for approval.
• Complex home modifications are renovation projects that involve structural changes to your current home. These types of changes are more costly and will require a skilled building professional and a greater level of certification. Complex home modification projects may involve work in several different areas or rooms of the home or the entrance to the home at the same time. Due to the size of such projects and to ensure the best results in your Complex Home Modifications, a project manager or independent building certifier may provide professional supervision as an NDIS-covered expense. A qualified and approved occupational therapy assessor will provide the required complex home modification assessment template and certify the effectiveness of the modification to meet your life goals and future needs.
Quotes will be requested and accepted for modifications that are determined to be reasonable and necessary by NDIS guidelines.
You are always free to choose a more expensive option at your own expense. Your NDIS plan will cover the reasonable and necessary cost component of the home modification renovation, and you will be responsible to pay the additional costs. These items may include a more expensive type of material, finish, or style than is required.
Complex Home Modifications (CHM) which involve structural changes to your home require a greater level of certification and will require an approved assessment, a detailed specification of works, and two building quotes. The Complex Home Modifications assessment template is completed by a qualified occupational therapy assessor and a consulting building construction professional. They will work in partnership with you to determine the best choices available and a plan to meet your home accessibility, comfort, and safety needs.
Complex Home Modifications costing over $30,000 will require the use of an NDIS Registered Buildings Works Project Manager. They will help you in the design, planning, and appointment of qualified builders for your project.
Provides you with a safe way in and out of your home. This may include the pathway outside your home or any ramps or lifts needed to reach the doorway level.
A pathway or sidewalk must lead from the car parking area or front of the property to one accessible doorway. This may be made of concrete or another suitable building material, at least 1000mm wide, and have a slip-resistant surface.
An access ramp is commonly used to replace any steps or stairs if you are a wheelchair user or need other mobility aids. Ramps may be made of treated wood or reinforced concrete with a slip-resistant surface. A straight ramp must be at least 1000mm wide between the handrails or meet special width requirements if there are turns or corners.
A platform lift may be used if an access ramp is not suitable. Ramps may become too steep and dangerous if the access doorway is 1000mm higher than the connecting pathway. The consulting building professional may recommend a vertical platform-type lift in the scope of works in such cases. If a vertical platform lift is recommended, the selected equipment must be able to be safely used without a weather cover.
Promotes confidence in a safe and accessible place for personal care and hygiene needs. The most common accessible bathroom will have a toilet, hand basin, and shower in the same room. This will typically include the building or renovation of one bathroom in the home. The bathroom may be private or shared. If there is more than one bathroom in your home, your occupational therapist assessor and consulting building professional will recommend which bathroom should be used considering its location in the home, the plumbing you already have, and the fixtures to be used. The bathroom modifications may include the removal of your current bathroom, appropriate cabinets and cupboards, recommended fittings and fixtures, required plumbing needs, grab rails, towel rails, and bathroom flooring.
An accessible toilet may include home modifications to make a new or existing toilet functional, safe, and easy to use. Replacement of your current toilet seat with a raised or padded seat, the addition of wall-mounted or drop-down grab rails, slip-resistant flooring, and other assistive devices can help provide safe toilet transfers. A new toilet wall-mounted toilet or repositioning of your existing toilet may be needed to improve space and mobility in your bathroom.
An accessible hand basin provides ready access to the sink and vanity area by offering needed space for knee and foot clearance for users of wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Replacement of standard taps with mixer taps, lever handles, and extended handles may also increase functionality and personal independence.
An accessible shower often includes a stepless shower base, tiling or other waterproofing of shower walls and floor, and a suitable slip-resistant surface for connecting bathroom floors. Where a shower curtain is to be used, an ‘L’ shaped curtain track with ceiling support is recommended.
Ensure easy access to your bedroom and for safe transfers in and out of bed. Usually, your bedroom will be located on the same floor as your home access doorway. This offers the most living space possible. The bedroom should be connected to or as close as possible to the accessible bathroom you use. Home Modifications to the bedroom may include ceiling hoist lifts and special electrical needs directly related to your disability.
A hoist transfer with an over-the-head hoist may be considered if you are reliant on hoist transfers to and from your bed. Your Occupational Therapist will assess if a mobile lifting hoist would be more appropriate with consideration of your specific care needs. If a ceiling-type hoist is recommended, a suitable ceiling hoist structural support may be required for the roof space above the bedroom ceiling. A special General Power Outlet at ceiling level may be needed for an overhead hoist.
Bedroom electrical needs, including changes to electrical wiring, fixtures, and outlets for medical or disability-related equipment may be considered a reasonable and necessary home modification. General Power Outlets may be required to provide for the safe use of special equipment such as an inflatable mattress, electric bed, or respiratory support equipment. Additional General Power Outlets connected to a backup power system may be needed for life-sustaining equipment. Suitable air conditioning within the bedroom may also be considered.
Assist you in reaching your goals of independent living and meal preparation in your own home. Kitchen modifications are based on several factors including your specific disability, your ability and desire to participate in meal preparation activities, your potential to be independent in the kitchen, and the design and condition of your current kitchen and cooking appliances. Common kitchen modifications include changes to improve access to your kitchen benches, cupboards, and cabinets, modified kitchen appliances, and accessible storage areas.
Improved access to your kitchen workspaces may include the installation of new kitchen benches, cabinets, and cupboards that allow open space underneath for knee and foot clearance for greater wheelchair access. The kitchen bench and sink height can be lowered, to allow for easier access from a seated position when using a wheelchair or other mobility devices such as a cane, crutches, walker, or wheelchair.
Accessible kitchen appliances and range tops offer greater independence with the ability to safely access major kitchen appliances. Easy reach range tops make independent meal preparation a real possibility by providing a safe and accessible cooking surface. Additional General Purpose Outlets may be required for a safe power supply of an accessible reach range or refrigerator.
A mobile kitchen bench on castor wheels with height adjustment can be a suitable alternative for an accessible bench top and storage space. Hard-to-reach cabinets can be replaced with roll-out shelves to increase accessible storage areas.
Interior home modifications may be necessary to ensure your ability to freely move about your home regardless of your disability. If you rely on a wheelchair or other mobility device, barriers such as narrow doorways and small steps can be a significant challenge when moving between rooms. Widening of doorways within your home typically includes access to one living area, one bathroom, one bedroom, and one kitchen. Minor step renovation or threshold ramps can be used to level floor surfaces throughout the living area. Replacement of flooring may be considered if your current flooring severely limits your mobility. A stair climber, platform lift, or elevator may be useful in assisting you to move between levels in your home. These assistive devices can be electric, hydraulic, or battery operated.
Automated systems can offer you increased self-reliance in the home by providing assistance with everyday functions you may be unable to do for yourself. Tasks normally taken for granted, such as opening doors and turning on room lights can present very real obstacles to your independence. Automated systems with motion sensors can give you control of operating doors and lighting throughout your living area. Preprogrammed climate control can keep you comfortable year-round. Even telephone access and emergency call systems may be operated with voice activation and command. NDIS does not consider entertainment devices reasonable and necessary and will not be provided for.
Modifications for a new home plan must accommodate your specific disability needs. A good home design will offer functional and usable space with unobstructed access to all living areas. Only reasonable and necessary modifications to a new home based on your disability needs will be considered. The property should be as level as possible and the home a single floor to avoid the need for ramps, lifts, or stair climbers. Rooms you will need to use should have adequate space and access. A larger bedroom and bathroom and wider hallways and doorways are best. Benchtops, power outlets, and light switches should be within easy reach. Your occupational therapist, qualified and certified in new building modifications should be consulted when considering a new location.
What Is Not Covered by NDIS Home Modifications Funding
Not all home modification costs will be paid for by your NDIS plan. All costs must have prior approval and be found to be reasonable and necessary by NDIA. You always have the choice of a more expensive option, but will be expected to pay the difference between the authorized option and the one you select.
- Some types of materials, fittings and fixtures may not be approved if they are considered above standard grade. This includes more expensive finishes on fixtures and fittings, polished or colored concrete for style, and costly types of materials such as wrought iron and stone masonry.
- The installation of swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs is not included in the home modifications benefit. Not even those designated for hydrotherapy.
- Repairs of any prior damage found in the home, discovered during the modification project will not be included in the Home Modifications project cost. These repair costs will be the responsibility of the homeowner.
- Cost of routine maintenance and repairs to general-purpose structures, fittings and fixtures, or equipment are not included in the home modification budget. These expenses are a normal part of life and not disability specific.
- The building of additional rooms, lifts inside your home to move between multiple floors, or extensive ramps in your home to access multiple home levels are not considered a reasonable home modification. Your living area should be contained within a single-floor layout, but will be determined on a case-to-case basis.
- Any cost of home modification work that does not comply with the approved scope of works specifications, the Australian Building Code, or local building regulations will not be paid.
We Can Help With Your NDIS Home Modification Needs
The goal of NDIS Home Modifications is to keep you safe and as independent as possible in your own home. The CareSide can help you assess your home accessibility needs and navigate your NDIS Home Modifications Plan. Call your local CareSide location and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable CareSide representatives and get started now. Your NDIS home modifications can help make everyday living a little easier for you and your caregivers.