Rebecca's Diary – Moving into SDA Part 2
Making the move to live independently is a big decision, made even bigger when that move is also to a different state! So I decided to write small blog entries throughout my move, in the hope that things I learnt and lived through can help others also looking to go down the same path! If you want to read a little bit about how I got to this point, check out my other article here.
Wednesday, 8th June 2022
I also have started making a list of appliances that I might need: fridge/freezer, washer/dryer, microwave, TV, air fryer, sandwich toasters, iron, vacuum. Although I’ll have support workers to assist me with things, I still want to be able to use my appliances independently as much as possible – that might be opening the fridge to get a yoghurt out, or being able to open the air fryer to see if something is cooked. Just to know that my apartment is as accessible as possible in all aspects, is something that I definitely want to do. So off I went to Harvey Norman and Good Guys to try out all the appliances, opened and closed numerous fridge/ freezers, sandwich toasters and air fryers. Let’s just say I had very sore arms by the end of it! But I would highly recommend testing the accessibility of appliances or furniture, in person!
Tuesday, 14th June 2022 Today I wrote up and submitted my NDIS Change of Circumstances Form (or Change of Situation Form), to apply for more support worker hours and the assistive technology (AT), that is required for me to move to Melbourne and out into my own home. I think this is the thing I am most nervous about. Everything else is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. But with the NDIS, they have the power to say ‘no’ to the funding I need, which could ruin my planned move to Melbourne.
Because of this, I put a lot of effort into this form and the supporting evidence I provided to the NDIS. I got AT reports from my OT (along with quotes) and a quote for onsite support from the support provider.
I also created a detailed spreadsheet that explained when I needed support workers and why. I created an average weekly schedule, to show what my week generally looks like, and then also a yearly schedule to show what my upcoming year looks like. This yearly schedule took into account public holidays, powerchair football tournaments and training camps, and special events (such as attending the Australian Open). I truly believe you can never be too detailed.
I have sent off all of this to the NDIS, and now have my fingers crossed that everything I need is approved with ease!
Friday, 17th June 2022
Today I started advertising for support workers. Thankfully, I already have one support worker in Melbourne who used to be on my team in Perth, before she relocated to Melbourne. She’ll be rejoining my team once I move to Melbourne. But I still have another 10 shifts to fill!
I won’t have any family in Melbourne for back up, so I need to find support workers who are reliable I can rely on and who are good at what they do! I also need people I get along well with, given the majority of my time ‘awake’ is spent with support workers.
I spent quite a bit of time shaping my ad, in the hope that this will help in attracting the right people. I made sure it included a good balance between being about me personally and also about what I need. when it comes to shift, care, and what I’m looking for in a support worker. I’ve had a bit of recruitment experience, so I’m hoping that experience will pay off.
I am going to schedule interviews in the coming days. Fingers crossed I find the perfect support workers for my team!
Thursday, 23rd June 2022
I have finally confirmed the majority of my Melbourne support worker team!
Unfortunately some did pull out or say no to my offer of work, so I will need to schedule a few more interviews. But I’m a big believer in things always working out, so hopefully the next few support workers I interview will be an even better fit!
Monday, 27th June 2022
My NDIS Change of Circumstances got approved today! I now have to set up a time to meet with an NDIS planner to talk through the changes and what supports and funding I need, but it feels like the process is finally gaining momentum.
Tuesday, 28th June 2022
I finally made the decision to just set a date for a move. So the date: - 25th July! Just under a month from now.
Tuesday, 5th July 2022
I met with my NDIS planner today and we discussed my move to Melbourne. I talked through the evidence I submitted for more support worker hours, and assistive technology. I came prepared for that meeting with a list of points that I wanted to make sure I got across, which I would highly recommend! I hope she now really understands my needs, and will make sure I get the funding I require to live independently.
Friday, 8th July 2022
The piles of paperwork have begun! My property manager has sent me a lot of paperwork to fill in, including signing off on what is called ‘key handover’. Because I want to have the keys ready for when I land in Melbourne, I chose to have a trusted support worker pick up the keys for me, and she’ll then meet me when I arrive in Melbourne, so I can have access to my apartment straight away!
Monday, 25th July 2022
Today’s the day! Going through a whole mixture of emotions – excitement, amazement, anticipation. But the day has finally arrived!
Tuesday, 26th July 2022
First day in my SDA apartment and there is SO much to do! I was already pretty exhausted today due to travelling yesterday, and I think that came to a head this evening when everything just got a bit too overwhelming. But it was a good lesson in communication: - Lletting those who are supporting me know that I’d had enough unpacking, organising and instructing for one day, and to please follow my pace, rather than them setting the pace and trying to rush through everything.
Friday, 29th July 2022
I have had to let work know that I need to take more time off than planned because the unpacking and setting up has taken longer than I thought ! It’s important to be flexible with how long things take – you are setting up your life, so you want to make sure it is done properly!
1st August 2022
Today marked my first official day of starting with my new Melbourne support worker team.
I am thankful to have Mum here to help train all of my new staff initially, because training is something that exhausts me a lot. So to have someone there who already knows my routine is something I would recommend! I have also made videos of all my routines, so new support workers are able to watch these and learn all the steps, and the way that I prefer things to be completed. I also gave these videos to the onsite support provider, so their staff can also become learn without needing 1:1 training sessions with each staff member. The videos will also come in handy when I need to remind staff how to complete a task, as it is very easy to take out my phone and show them the videos (which I have saved on Google Drive).
2nd August 2022
Disappointing to see in the NDIS Portal today that only just over half of the support worker funding I need has actually been put in my Plan. In fact, the new plan has almost the same support hours I used to have in Perth, where Mum was doing half of my personal care and pretty much all of the housework and other ‘adulting’ tasks like grocery shopping and cooking. But that just isn’t an option here in Melbourne! It also doesn’t say anywhere why the hours were the way they were. I contacted my NDIA planner who said to appeal the outcome (which was made by the NDIS Home and Living Team, not the planner), because she wasn’t happy with the outcome either. How can two different people at the NDIS have such different ideas about the support hours I need, when supplied with the same paperwork and evidence?
Thankfully my family have said they will stay as long as it takes to get me settled and my support funding set up right, but having to submit internal review paperwork just adds a whole extra step to this journey that I didn’t need!
Thursday, 25th August 2022
One month of living in SDA and I am absolutely loving it!
Thankfully the NDIS have now come back and funded me for the core supports I require, after I appealed the decision. They said it was an ‘administrative error’! I’m glad I had enough courage and knowledge to question what was in my Plan, and didn’t just accept that I would be stuck with not enough care or, worse, be left feeling that I had to move back to Perth because living in Melbourne wasn’t possible with the budget I had. If I can pass on any message to anyone else who doesn’t get the right funding (that you have good evidence for) – please appeal it! Don’t feel that you are stuck with it, you have a definite right to reasonable and necessary support and funding.
Moving to Melbourne is the best decision I have ever made, and I am already telling people that I am absolutely never ever going back to Perth (to live, at least!). The independence I have in my apartment, having access to some of Melbourne’s best attractions, shops, and cafes at my door step – (including amazing ice-cream at Southbank! ) is something beyond my wildest dreams!
Rebecca has a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from Curtin University and is now undertaking her PhD with the Summer Foundation’s Research team. She was previously the Housing Hub’s Lived Experience Team Lead
Rebecca has SDA funding in her NDIS plan and is now living in a High Physical Support apartment in Melbourne's CBD.
Rebecca is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and ensuring they have access to the information they need to live their best life, particularly regarding housing and the NDIS.
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