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A Guide to NDIS Respite Guidelines

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Everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a participant

Short Term Accommodation (including Respite Care) is for accommodation away from your usual home, funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Usually funded when regular carers are unavailable or need a break, Short Term Accommodation is an essential support service offered under the scheme.

In most cases, the NDIS will fund respite care for up to 28 days a year. These days can be taken in stints depending on the needs of the participant. For example, it might be appropriate for someone to take two 2-week periods away from home, while in other cases, one weekend a month might be better.

In this article, we’ll examine the criteria and guidelines that underpin NDIS respite care and short term accommodation. By the end, you should have a good idea of what the NDIS will fund, and what it won’t fund.

HealSoul is here to deliver better respite care support for NDIS participants. With a strong emphasis on compassion and respect, our disability support workers are here to assist you as you find your own sense of independence outside of the home. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What is respite care under the NDIS?

Short term accommodation and respite care is an important disability support that allows you to live away from home for a short period of time. This may be to support your usual carers as they take a break from their role as carer, or to assist you if your usual support network is not available for a short period.

Respite care takes place at a facility equipped to offer the service, and will give participants the same levels of disability support that they’ve come to expect at home. The support includes:

  • Personal care assistance with bathing, hygiene, and first aid
  • Accommodation privately or with others
  • Meals and snacks
  • Activities that you and your provider agree upon

It’s not necessarily a reactive disability support. There are a range of benefits to taking a brief stint away from home. These include:

  • Allowing you the space and setting to try new activities and develop new skills
  • Giving you the opportunities to meet new people and make friends
  • Maintaining your current support network by granting carers a break

Respite care usually takes place with groups of NDIS participants. In some cases, you may require individual support depending on your situation and needs.

Everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a participant

How does the NDIS make decisions about respite care?

To meet the NDIS funding criteria, the NDIS must find that your respite care supports meet a range of criteria. Here are the main questions they ask:

  • Is your need for respite care related to your disability?
  • Does your respite care assist you in achieving your goals?
  • Does your NDIS respite care assist you in participating in the community?
  • Does your NDIS respite care offer value for money?
  • How much support does your family and other informal supports provide?

Let’s take a look at these questions in detail. Keep in mind that this is all related to respite care for adults. For NDIS respite care for children, get in touch with our team.

Is your need for respite care related to your disability?

Respite care and short term accommodation funded by the NDIS must be related to your disability. It will not be supported if it’s for a day to day living cost, like long term accommodation, or temporary housing in the event of home modifications or a holiday.

Respite care is usually funded if:

  • Your usual supports are unavailable
  • You might not need as much support in future
  • You can maintain a functional capacity
  • You can increase your independence
  • You can do more activities

Does your respite care assist you in achieving your goals?

You must be actively pursuing your goals if you are to enter respite care. The setting should offer a way for you to increase your independence or build your skills, while also allowing your regular carers a break.

Does your NDIS respite care assist you in participating in the community?

Your respite care support must also allow you to more actively participate in the community around you. Usually, you’ll be involved in group activities that can help you develop your social skills and overall independence.

Does your NDIS respite care offer value for money?

The NDIS will always weigh up your disability support, how much it costs, and how it will benefit you over time. One of the key considerations is if your respite care can be shared with a group, and how many people it can be shared with. 

It’s uncommon that the NDIS will fund individual support in a respite care setting. However, there are exceptions depending on your personal situation. It’s always best to talk to your local NDIS support coordinator to find out about your eligibility for individual support.

How much support do your family and other informal supports provide?

Your informal carers are family, friends, and other community networks that usually offer you support when you need it. If they can support you in the long term, they might benefit from you entering respite care for a short break. The well being of your network is just as important as yours, so the NDIS will weigh up if their support is assisting you in reaching your goals effectively.

Everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a participant


There are other ways that the NDIS can offer respite-adjacent support to your family, including:

  • Outside support to access events and groups in the community
  • In-home care and support
  • Capacity building supports

These guidelines may seem complex, but with a little bit of assistance, you can find an equitable outcome. In the end, the NDIS guidelines are applied to help you get the most out of life, and to improve your independence.

HealSoul has your back when it comes to navigating the NDIS respite care guidelines. We’ll work with you to find better outcomes for you, while giving you the tools you need to live more independently. You can get started with a free consultation with our expert team.

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Sabina Kamal

Experienced Founder with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Career Development, Payroll Processing, Interventions, Team Building, and Organisational Leadership. Strong business development professional with a Advanced diploma of Community Sector Management focused in Community Management from Skills certified Australia.

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