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Working with a host provider

Host providers can give you a little or a lot of help to self-direct your disability support. They can help you plan and choose, buy and manage your disability supports.

Host providers charge a fee (set by them, usually a percentage of your total funding) for the support they provide.

Some host provider organisations also deliver disability services, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy your services from them. Where you buy your supports is up to you—a host provider can help you make these decisions.

Getting started

When you contact your local Disability Services office they will send you a letter with your assessed needs and your current funding amount. You can give this information to host providers to help them give you a quote.

Choosing a host provider

When choosing a host provider, you may wish to think about:

  • how much planning you have already done or how much you’ll want them to help
  • how much responsibility you want to take for buying and managing your disability supports and services, and how much you’ll want them to do
  • whether you want your host provider to be close to where you live
    Remember as they don’t provide your direct services they do not need to be close—you can phone or video chat
  • what you want your host provider to help you with; for example, recruiting and employing workers, finding and buying services and managing your funding
  • the fees the host provider charges and what you get for your money, host providers set their own fees and these are not regulated by Disability Services
  • talking to as many host providers as you want. You can take your time to choose

Search the list of Your Life Your Choice host providers.

Getting a quote

Once you have chosen a host provider and you have agreed to work together, you should get a written quote from them with the fees they will charge you. The host provider should also provide this to your local Disability Services office.

When can you start?

From the time Disability Services gets the quote from the host provider it takes about 6 weeks for your funding to be paid to them. This will usually happen on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October.

Agreeing on a plan

Planning is about setting short or long term goals and then making the best use of your available resources.

You may develop your plan before you choose a host provider, or you can ask them to do your planning with you. You and your host provider must agree on where you will buy your services and how you will use the funding.

Your plan may change if your goals or support needs change. Your host provider can help you to make these changes.

Read more about planning and resources to help you plan.

Buying supports and services

You can buy services that are within the 'service categories' that you have been assessed for. The service categories are:

  • accommodation support
  • community support
  • community access
  • respite
  • advocacy, information and alternative forms of communication
  • other support.

If your needs change at any time, you can contact your local Disability Services office for a review.

Disability Services funding cannot be used for:

  • supports and services funded by other local, state and commonwealth government programs
  • day-to-day living expenses (i.e. electricity, gas, telephone, internet, general household fittings, furniture and whitegoods not used by the person with a disability in meeting their disability support needs, food, groceries, rent or the purchase, running or maintenance costs of vehicles)
  • illegal activities, gambling or activities that are harmful to your health (i.e. cigarettes).

Disability Services funding cannot be used as additional income.

The following questions will assist you to decide if you should be buying a certain support or service with your funding:

  • Is the support or service you intend to buy related to your Disability Services assessed needs (service category)?
  • Does it relate to your goals and priorities?
  • Is it of direct benefit to you?
  • Is it required as a result of your disability?

You will need to consider these questions for each purchase. All these questions, not just one, should be answered with a “yes”.

Remember you should not use your funding to pay for something:

  • another person is expected to pay for themselves.
  • another government department or community service should be providing.

Do I have to become an employer?

Self-directing your support does not mean you need to employ your own workers. You can buy your supports from disability or community services where they will be the employer and responsible for meeting all the employer obligations. Your host provider can help you work out how you want to manage employment of workers.

Some people do want to be responsible for employing their own workers. This is entirely up to you.

The following government agencies provide information about employing workers:

Taxation advice

The department does not provide business or legal advice. If you need taxation advice about GST (Goods and services tax) or PAYG (Pay as you go) we recommend:

  • consulting a solicitor, accountant or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for help 
  • reading general information on websites that might be relevant. For example:
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) website and PEARL Home provide information on employing a support worker 
  • Community Door provides information about business development
  • business.gov.au provides information on starting a business
  • ato.gov.au provides information on GST and disability services.

The department accepts no responsibility in relation to these matters. 

Goods and services tax (GST)

You should ask your host provider which purchases will be affected by GST and what this means for your funding.

When a host provider buys services on your behalf, the host provider pays the GST and is able to claim it back through an input tax credit from the Australian Tax Office (as long as the host provider is registered for GST).

When you buy your own supports or services, the person with disability pays the GST where applicable and they cannot claim it back from the Australian Tax Office.

Income and pension rulings

The Australian Taxation Office has ruled (Class Ruling CR2013/45) that any payments under Your Life Your Choice self-directed support are not considered assessable or taxable income. The ruling applies from 1 January 2013.

Any interest earned on those funds in a person’s bank account is also not considered to be taxable income.

The former Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has ruled (F2013L00911) that Your Life Your Choice is an approved personal care support scheme under section 35A of the Social Security Act 1991 and that any payments under Your Life Your Choice self-directed support are not considered income when determining eligibility for social security payments or the amount of those payments.

Managing expenditure

You need to keep records of what you have purchased for up to 7 years and we recommend you keep a summary document, like a spread sheet, to track your expenses, how much you have spent and how much you have left. Checking your expenditure against your budget is also a good idea. You and your host provider should agree on how this will be managed.

Talk to your host provider about other ways to get organised and keep records if you will be doing any of the purchases yourself.

Receiving quality services

It is important that you are satisfied with the supports and services you receive.

You will need to consider your specific needs and work with your host provider to ensure you receive quality services.  

Funded Disability Service Providers are required to meet the Human Services Quality Standards. They are audited as part of their funding arrangements with the department to ensure they meet these standards.

Other providers, who do not receive funding from Disability Services, are not required to meet these standards. Although, they may be regulated under laws that apply to all businesses, such as Australian Consumer Law, or by laws governing other industries such as health.

Receiving safe services 

You and your family have the right to be safe and free from abuse and neglect when receiving support and services.

You will need to work with your host provider to outline any specific safety needs you have when buying your supports and services. For example, you may need to consider:

  • the level of skills, training and experience your staff will need
  • any personal plans you need (e.g. water safety, road safety, safety in the home, personal safety, taking your medication, help with eating, swallowing risks, safe lifting and transferring)
  • any behaviour support needs, (e.g. positive behaviour support plan).

The host provider handbook sets out further requirements in relation to safeguards. 

Read more about preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

Restrictive practices

Adults with intellectual or cognitive disability who are self-directing their support under Your Life Your Choice and subject to use of a restrictive practice as part of the delivery of a particular disability support must:

  • use a host provider
  • purchase from a relevant service provider regulated under Part 6 of the Disability Services Act 2006 for the provision of the particular support where the restrictive practice is used.

This applies to the use of restrictive practices in the areas of containment, seclusion, chemical, mechanical and physical restraint and restricting access to objects.

Talk to your host provider who can assist you if you think there may be a restrictive practice or if you are unsure.

Read more about restrictive practices

Criminal history checks

Criminal history checks are an important safeguard for people with disability and help to ensure the safety of those accessing funded services. You should consider your level of vulnerability or any risks and discuss them with your host provider if you are seeking to employ or contract workers.

The following are suitable checks, depending on your situation:

For workers working only with adults with disability:

A National Police Certificate that:

  • is prepared and issued by State Police or Territory Police
  • has been obtained within the last 12 months
  • is renewed within the last 3 years.

Or, the following disability related cards or notices, previously issued as part of working with people with disability. 

  • a current Yellow Card issued under the Disability Services Act 2006 by the department to a person who has an agreement (written or unwritten) with a funded non-government service provider or
  • a current Yellow Card Exemption Notice issued under the Disability Services Act 2006 by the department to a person who is a blue card holder and has an agreement (written or unwritten) with a funded non-government service provider to work at a place where disability services are provided to adults.

For workers working only with children with disability:

  • a Blue Card

For workers working with both adults and children with disability:

  • a National Police Certificate and a Blue Card

Or

  • a Blue Card and one of the following disability related cards or notices, previously issued as part of working with people with disability:
  • a current Yellow Card issued under the Disability Services Act 2006 by the department to a person who has an agreement (written or unwritten) with a funded non-government service provider, or
  • a current Yellow Card Exemption Notice issued under the Disabilty Services Act 2006 by the department to a person who is a blue card holder and has an agreement (written or unwritten) with a funded non-government service provider to work at a place where disability services are provided to adults.

A host provider must provide you with sufficient information and ensure you are supported to undertake appropriate screening of your potential workers. 

You can read more about criminal history screening at:

Reporting

When you work with a host provider to self-direct your supports, they are responsible for reporting back to Disability Services.

More information

Read more about planning, budgeting, buying supports and reporting.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
22 September 2016
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