NDIS participants and providers in Victoria and NSW will be able claim the cost of personal protective equipment as part of their plan under temporary funding changes announced by the government.

Stuart Robert

The announcement came as NDIS minister Stuart Robert  revealed that three Victorian NDIS participants are in hospital with coronavirus and 25 have tested positive.

He said given there are 100,000 participants in Victoria the number is “very low”, but he would prefer it was zero.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen in recent weeks that our battle with COVID-19 is far from over,” he said.

“We know that participants who receive face-to-face supports may be at higher risk of transmission, with daily support from their workers regularly involving close physical contact.”

To help protect the sector Mr Robert said NDIS participants and providers in Victoria and NSW will now be able claim the cost of personal protective equipment as part of their plan.

Participants who receive face-to-face assisted daily living supports will be able to use the Low Cost Disability-Related Health Consumables support item to claim the cost of the PPE for the times their worker is with them.

Anyone forced to self-isolate because of COVID will also be able to claim for cleaning.

Meanwhile, additional funding for SIL providers dealing with a case of COVID-19 introduced in April will be extended, and SIL providers  will also be able to claim for higher intensity supports for participants with a positive test or who are forced to quarantine.

“There’ll be funds up to $1,200 dollars for providers to be able to manage that circumstance in a house,” Mr Robert told a media conference.

“Whether it’s for their staff just to quarantine and cover the costs, whether it’s for extra costs within the houses, we’ll make those funds available for any participant that is either tested positive or been tested and awaiting results.”

He said while Wednesday’s announcement was specific to Victoria and NSW, the government was monitoring the situation and would make further decisions if transmission moved to other states and territories.

However he distanced the government from any move to introduce paid pandemic leave after aged care workers in residential facitilities won the right in the the Fair Work Commission on Monday.

“The disability sector is very, very different to the aged care sector,” Mr Robert said.

“Rather than large numbers of senior Australians in large centres with workers going there … the vast majority of NDIS participants are at home, or living by themselves, or in other settings.”

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