Over time I’ve observed a lot of mixed messages regarding timeframes for Complex Home Modifications (CHM) for NDIS participants.
Different service providers will suggest different timeframes. Below are the answers to some of the most common questions I encounter regarding timeframes, which are based on my experience in having working in the home modifications space for many years, in the NDIS system and in the system prior to it.
– How many hours of Occupational Therapy funding do I need in my NDIS Plan?
To submit a high-quality funding request, with a well thought out concept, the right dose of participant, Builder and Occupational Therapist (OT) involvement, and a good chance of approval, it will generally take a minimum of 30 hours of OT funding. It can take additional time, for example, if there is more than one area of the home requiring modification, or, if continual changes are required to refine the concept drawings and scope of works.
Some service providers may offer to complete a funding request for less hours, however I would have concerns that this would impact the quality of the application. I would question whether the proposed concept drawings and scope of works have been thought out enough to ensure they meet the long-term needs of the participant once completed, and if this might impact the likelihood of funding approval. Like anything in life, if you want a quality product or service it will usually cost you more.
Note that also needed are funds for a builder consultation and two builder’s quotes. NDIS will usually provide $1,000 for this under the Capital Supports Budget in a participant’s NDIS Plan.
– How long will it take to prepare my funding request for CHM?
‘How long is a piece of string?’ – this is one of those questions. There are many variables including:
- The Occupational Therapist’s existing workload;
- How much work is needed on the concept drawings and scope of works after it is initially shown to the participant;
- The availability of those involved for appointments. For example, it may take a month to access an appointment with a Builder to complete the OT / Builder consult, which is a required step in the CHM process;
- The time is takes Builders to prepare their quotes, which is usually between 2 and 6 weeks.
– How long will it take from when I see the Occupational Therapist until when the modifications are complete (pending funding approval)?
Again, this is a hard question to answer because of the variables mentioned above. In addition to the above list, there is the time it takes NDIS to decide regarding funding, and then if approved, the time it takes for the builder to have the capacity to complete the job, and the time it takes to complete the job once started. Ultimately, CHM are not a quick process and take many months, sometimes over a year to complete.
Don’t let this deter you from starting the process though. The outcome at the end can be well worth the wait and have many benefits including maintaining your independence, improving your safety, accessing care givers, and continuing to live in your home despite a disability. If you have a good team of service providers (Occupational Therapist, Building Services, Coordinator or Support or Local Area Coordinator) involved, it can be a very positive experience!