Can a Friend Be an NDIS Support Worker?

As an NDIS participant, you may be wondering - Can a friend be an NDIS support worker? Read this article to understand the relationship between the NDIS and your loved ones.

Updated on Apr 02, 2024
5 min read

The NDIS considers family and friend support crucial for participant care. Their loved ones play an important role in helping them live with their disability. 

But can a friend be an NDIS support worker?

Technically speaking, your friend can provide you with informal support. But this won't be funded by the NDIS. 

NDIS support workers must be official providers approved by the NDIS. The only way for a friend to be an NDIS support worker is for them to qualify as an official provider. 

If you want to know more about NDIS family support,  keep reading. In this article, we will talk about the limitations of NDIS support and how they're tied to your loved ones. 

Can a Friend Be an NDIS Support Worker?

If you receive funding through the NDIS, you are entitled to various types of support. This includes:

  • Daily living support
  • Transportation
  • Therapeutic supports
  • Home modifications
  • Assistive technology
  • Social and community participation
  • Plan management 

Therapeutic support is provided by healthcare professionals, while other types of support can be provided by NDIS carers.

The NDIS provider works closely with the participant, their family, carers, and other stakeholders. Together, they develop a personalised NDIS plan. Your NDIS plan should outline the support and services you need.

NDIS support includes family support. The participant's family and friends play a key role in their NDIS plan. Along with the help they receive from NDIS support workers, NDIS participants also get emotional and practical support. 

But can family members and friends be your NDIS support workers? In most cases, the answer is no. 

The NDIS funds supports that are reasonable and necessary

The reason the NDIS wouldn't fund this type of support is because it's considered a part of the participant's everyday life. 

The NDIS doesn't fund support that an ordinary person would think is reasonable to expect from friends. This also applies to family and the community.

The NDIS and Family/Friend Support

Aside from the support you receive from the NDIS, you also get help from friends and family. This is also known as informal support. 

Informal NDIS support can include help from:

  1. Family members
  2. Friends
  3. Teachers
  4. Neighbours 
  5. Other members of the community

All these people form your informal support network. 

Families often provide emotional support to those with disabilities. They help them navigate challenges, celebrate achievements, and cope with daily life. 

They may also provide practical support, such as assisting with personal care, household tasks, and transportation.

Your friends can also help you battle the challenges of living with a disability in many ways. 

This type of support is an important part of your everyday life, whether you have a disability or not. 

That's why it isn't funded by the NDIS. In other words, it's why your friend can't be your official NDIS support provider. 

Are There any Exceptions?

As we previously explained, you can't hire your friend to be your NDIS support worker. 

But, there are some situations where the NDIS may approve family members or friends to provide formal support care. 

The NDIS has guidelines in place to manage potential conflicts of interest when friends or family members become support workers.

This ensures that the support provided remains focused on the participant's needs and goals and not on personal relationships.

To qualify for formal care, an NDIS participant must meet certain rare exceptions, including:

  1. Situations where there might be a risk of harm or neglect to the participant if formal support isn't funded
  2. Family members have to provide paid formal support for religious or cultural reasons
  3. Participants in extremely remote areas don't have access to support services
  4. Cases where the strong personal preferences of the participant make family members suitable for providing formal care
  5. When all other support options have been considered, leaving no alternative

Another factor to consider is the type of support provided. If a friend helps with day-to-day activities or emotional support, this is not considered formal support and will not be funded. 

Participants must obtain written approval from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). They have to do this before they become informal support group members as paid supporters. 

This process ensures transparency and adherence to NDIS regulations. 

Who Qualifies as an NDIS Support Provider?

Support workers, regardless of their relationship to the participant, need to meet certain requirements set by the NDIS

This process includes:

  • Registration with the NDIS
  • Compliance with the NDIS Code of Conduct
  • Compliance with NDIS practice standards

Providers must be registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This involves meeting certain standards related to quality of care, safety, and governance.

Providers must also adhere to the NDIS Code of Conduct. It outlines the expected standards of behaviour and ethical practices for anyone delivering services under the NDIS.

NDIS providers are required to comply with the NDIS Practice Standards. They set out the requirements for delivering safe and effective support and services to NDIS participants. 

These standards cover areas such as governance, privacy, risk management, and service delivery.

It's essential to establish clear boundaries between the support worker role and the personal relationship. This helps maintain professionalism. It also ensures the focus remains on the participant's needs.

Another factor to consider is duty of care. As a support worker, whether a friend or not, there is a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of the participant at all times.

Formal vs. Informal Supports NDIS

As an NDIS participant, you can receive different types of support through the NDIS. Your family members and friends may want to be included in your support network. 

But in most cases, your friends cannot qualify as official NDIS support workers. The line between professional and friendly would become too blurry, which is why it's wiser to work with official NDIS providers.

Inclusive Home Care offers NDIS providers who are committed to helping you and putting your health and well-being first. We are here to help you live more comfortably and independently. What's more, we have the necessary experience to help you deal with your disability.

If you want to know more about how our services work, feel free to contact us

Schedule a free personalised consultation now.

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