Update April 1: What the 2-person rule means for disability support. There are new rules for everyone now, which have been introduced to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These rules mean that people need to stay at home, except for essentials, like getting food or going to the doctor.
There are also rules that limit the number of people who can gather in a person’s home or a family’s home. Generally, you can only have one visitor at a time to your home. However, for people with disability, there are exemptions which mean that you can have more than one visitor if the visitors, such as your disability support worker(s), are providing ‘care’ or ‘assistance’ to you and/or doing their jobs.
We know that the response to the COVID-19 virus means that there are lots of changes for us all. And it can be difficult to easily locate the information you need.
This article explains many of the different rules in different places. And we understand that government agencies are preparing documents to make sure information on the exemptions that apply for people with disability who are receiving supports from more than one person at time in their own home is clearly explained and accessible.
Rules for different states and territories:
The rules say you need to stay at home, except when getting food or medical supplies. You can access public services, such as social and community services, and you can help people who need it.
The rules allow people to ‘provide care and assistance, including personal care, to a vulnerable person’ which means that this covers disability support workers coming to your home.
The rules in Victoria say you can leave your house for care and other compassionate reasons, including to give support to people with disability and people with chronic illness.
There are exemptions for the rules about having more than two people in your home for care or compassionate reasons as well, which means disability support workers are allowed.
Queensland has exemptions for “Obtaining medical treatment or other healthcare services.” which may cover disability supports.
A reasonable excuse to be exempt from the two person rule includes providing social support or care to another person, or when you are at work if your work cannot be done remotely.
We will update this page when the details of rules for other states and territories have been published.
We are hearing a lot of concern from members and other people with disability about access to their usual disability support services during the outbreak. We’re doing everything we can to seek clarity from government and advocate for people with disability collectively, and our individual advocates are also working with people to resolve their specific problems. If you need help, you can call our Wayfinder Hub on 1800 843 929 or email email@example.com. Wayfinder Hub’s phone line is currently operating on a call-back basis – please leave your name and number in a voicemail. We will call you back from a private number. You can also look for other advocacy services in your area using the Disability Advocacy Finder.
We will be updating this page with any new official information that comes out about disability support during the crisis.
The NDIA has published frequently asked questions and Easy Read information for NDIS participants and an Auslan update (19 March). The NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission has published advice for providers. Here’s their latest update.
Update 26 March: The Commission now have a factsheet for NDIS participants about:
- what you can expect from your NDIS providers
- your rights
- how to make a complaint about a provider
- what resources are available from the NDIA
- where to find more information and resources about COVID-19.
It’s available in Word and PDF formats, and they’ve promised Easy Read and Auslan versions ASAP.
Every Australian Counts also has some information from the NDIS and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. They have written up a plain English summary of the March 25 NDIS changes.
National Disability Services has information for service providers.
Disability Services Consulting have put together a free 30-minute online training module for workers. It is designed to provide practical strategies to prevent and control infections. They also have a guide to provider obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct and Practice Standards which it may help to refer to if you’re contacting a provider about making sure your supports continue to function.
We also want to highlight 1800RESPECT’s Disability Support Toolkit for front line workers supporting people with disability who have been impacted by violence and abuse.