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Explore Our Frequently Asked Questions on NDIS STA & Respite

Navigating the requirements and processes for NDIS short term accommodation (STA) and respite can be challenging for participants and coordinators. As a trusted and valued provider of STA and Respite services Australia-wide, Habitability has developed a list of our most frequently asked questions.

What is Short Term Accommodation including respite?

Short-Term Accommodation/Respite, is NDIS allocated funding for support and accommodation for when you need to live out of your usual home environment for a short period. This gives your usual carers a short break from their caring role. You might have a short stay with other people, or by yourself. It’s often funded when your usual carers aren’t available, or for you to try new things.

STA covers the cost of your care in another place, for up to 14 days at a time.
STA can be granted based on your eligibility and circumstances for a combined period of up to 28 days in a year.

How can I access Habitability STA/Respite?

The Habitability network of trusted partners and booking organisations reaches out across Australia. We work hard to find suitable options in every state and territory, in order to meet your unique needs. With so many choices, we can help you realise your STA goals and objectives and enjoy the STAycation of a lifetime. Learn more About Habitability

Does the NDIS expect my family and informal supports to care for me?

The NDIS may fund Short Term Accommodation/Respite, alongside additional supports that provide a ‘respite effect’ and help your carers to keep supporting you in the long term. The NDIS considers the risk to you and your family’s wellbeing if they continue to support you without Short-Term Accommodation. They also consider how the support provided by your family and networks affects your independence. We compare this to the independence and opportunities Short-Term Accommodation may provide.

NEW: Does STA cover accommodation options?

Yes. We will discuss this with you, and with your consent, discuss your STA with your support coordinator, plan manager, and representatives. At Habitability, we recognise that each participant has unique goals and expectations. Our model provides choice and control and ownership for NDIS participants, allowing you to grow with the promise that we will create a value for money STA Quote, which complements and adheres to the NDIS Guidelines.

Who can come with me to my Habitability STA?

Habitability’s STA/Respite Model rests within the NDIS STA Operational Guidelines themselves; – as quoted

“You might have a short stay with other people, or by yourself. It’s often funded when your usual carers aren’t available, or for you to try new things.”

Therefore eligible NDIS Participants can attend their Habitability STA by themselves/or with their own support worker/or with their informal carer as per the Operational Guidelines and if you believe STA will assist you in achieving your outlined NDIS goals, as specified within your NDIS Plan.

Will I get spending money on my STA?

Within our Habitability’s STA model, we provide up to $200 per day for a single participant – for food and activities and up to $400 if attending with a support person, whether informal or paid.

How long can my Habitability STA be?

Based on your eligibility and circumstances, STA covers the cost of your care in another place, for up to 14 days at a time and for a period of up to 28 days within a 1 year period. *Note that there must be a break of at least one day before commencing a stay within STA.

My child is an NDIS participant. As a parent, can I book a Habitability STA for my child / children?

The NDIS may fund Short-Term Accommodation for children if circumstances meet the reasonable and necessary criteria. Eligibility will depend on your child or children’s needs and the NDIA consider the needs of the family and carers and take into account the whole family situation. *Specific funding for STA/Respite may need to be written in your child’s plan for STA/respite to be considered. We recommend you discuss eligibility with your LAC and/or NDIS Planner or the NDIS directly. 

Q: What activities can be included in my Habitability STAycation?

Now here’s your opportunity to get creative! Think about your goals, what you’d like to achieve, what you enjoy, the things you’d like to experience and try, and we can help you make it happen. Previous Habitability STAycationers have enjoyed things like: 

  • Horse riding
  • Adventure parks
  • Bowling
  • Hot air balloon rides
  • Driving range
  • Jet Flight simulator
  • SkyLine Australia
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Dancing classes
  • The zoo, beach, and game rooms.

What type of activities cannot be included in my Habitability STAycation?

Habitability STA’s do not include or support activities that may include visiting casinos or gambling, consuming alcohol, etc.

Do I have to be Plan-Managed, Self-Managed or NDIS-Managed to access Habitability STA?

Presently, Habitability STA works with Plan-Managed and Self-Managed NDIS participants.

How do I know if I have sufficient funds to cover my Habitability STA? Can the Habitability team advise and assist me?

Habitability suggests that you speak to your plan manager, support coordinator, LAC, or family member to discuss whether sufficient funds are allocated to cover your Habitability STA. 

As a NDIS participant, you have access to the NDIS portal where you can view your NDIS funds.

If you are plan-managed, your plan manager is your first point of contact to enquire about your NDIS funds and your eligibility for STA/Respite.

Habitability has no authority or access to your funding or your NDIS Plan and therefore cannot advise you on your NDIS funding and we do not provide any financial advice to NDIS participants on how to use your NDIS funding.

Please note also that your plan manager, support coordinator, LAC, or family member will not discuss your circumstances, until you provide them with consent to share information with us.

How do I know if my NDIS funding is plan managed, self managed, or NDIS managed? Can Habitability assist?

We suggest that you speak to your plan manager, support coordinator, LAC, family member, or NDIA to check how your NDIS funding is managed. 

How many rooms can I book with a Habitability STAycation?

In most cases, you can book up to two rooms if attending with a support worker or informal support person. STA/Respite is not set up to provide a ‘holiday’ for other members of your family.
We suggest that you discuss all aspects of your STA with your relevant stakeholders to ensure value for money and adherence as per the NDIS guidelines.
For further clarification, contact your support coordinator, plan manager, LAC or the NDIA, before engaging with your STA enquiry with Habitability.

Is STA/Respite a holiday?

No, Short Term Accommodation/Respite is not a holiday.
The NDIS only funds STA when the need for it is related to your disability, such as for respite or skill-building. We suggest that you speak with your support coordinator, LAC, early childhood partner or planner if you’re going on holiday and need your disability support delivered in another location.

Can I use STA in a crisis situation?

If you are experiencing homelessness, please contact your NDIS representatives for support and guidance. In some cases the NDIS may consider funding STA for a short period of time if there is a risk of harm involved and will consider all factors of your circumstances.

https://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/are-you-experiencing-homelessness

How do I get STA included in my NDIS plan?

In most cases you may not require specific funding for STA to be written in to your plan, *although we suggest that you may consider discussing this with your Support Coordinator & representatives in the run up to your plan review. In the meantime, you may be able to access the flexible funding within your core allocation – which may allow you to experience Short Term Accommodation – if it helps you pursue and meet your goals and increase your independence and capacity.

If your circumstances change and you need Short Term Accommodation, you can request a plan re-assessment (review) if there isn’t enough funding in your current plan. On consideration of your circumstances, the NDIS may include additional funding in your plan to cover Short-Term Accommodation if it is deemed reasonable and necessary.

STA and Respite FAQs for Plan Managers and Support Coordinators

What costs are covered by the NDIS under STA?

STA includes: personal care supports, accommodation, food and the activities you as a NDIS participant and the provider agree to, in addition to the providers service fees.

How is STA funded/Respite and how can funding be used?

The NDIS funds standard rates for Short Term Accommodation. You can find the rates in the https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-pricing

You can choose to use the core budget on a range of supports like STA to suit your clients needs and individual requirements as outlined in their plan. If your client already has funding in their core budget, this may be used for STA. Generally funding is for a group price, unless there is evidence your client requires individual support because of their disability.
Habitability’s STA/Respite model only supports STA and Assistance (inc Respite) at a 1.1 ratio.

What is the Habitability STA model?

Habitability’s STA model is an innovative pilot STA model, which allows NDIS participants greater flexibility to enjoy a premium experience of STA within their existing NDIS budgets. It also offers capacity and increased flexibility for participants over the use of their funds, within STA. Habitability’s STA model will work with clients to create new opportunities for them to learn and explore new things, increase their social connections, enhance their confidence to participate independently in the community, maintain healthy family relationships, as well as offer a short break to their informal supports.

Clients can bring their own support worker, informal supports or attend their STA independently.

Habitability works with carefully selected and accomplished NDIS support providers around Australia, who are skilled in the provision of NDIS supports and complement Habitability’s values and standards.

For participants who will be using their own paid support worker, (SW) we insist that we are advised of the proposed hours of support and the total costs.

These SW costs will then be built into our quote & service agreement, and later paid, post STA after we receive remittance from plan manager.

For STA/Respite enquiries that may require 24/7 supports – support worker costs alone, may account for a significant portion of the daily STA cap allowance when billing at the NDIS rates.

In these circumstances we encourage you to liaise in discussions with all relevant parties, and especially Plan Managers – in the hope of achieving a favourable client outcome, as there may be times, at the plan managers discretion where support costs may be invoiced separately/and or in conjunction with our agreement.

During their Habitability STA, clients can choose to consider participating in a range of activities. This is where Habitability encourages the NDIS participant to be as creative as possible to achieve their goals.

Habitability does not directly organise activities of choice, but encourages clients wherever possible, to build their capacity and planning skills and use their STA opportunity to take ownership to accomplish outlined plan goals.

We also encourage support coordinators to work with their clients, (as they know them better than us) to elicit ideas and encourage planning in this area.

  • Within the Habitability STA model, we provide pre-paid gift cards which are designed to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner and any activities expenses. The cards are pre-loaded with an agreed upon amount and instructions of use are provided within our itinerary, which is sent out after our service agreement is signed and plan manager approval has been received.
  • In limited circumstances, we can consider sending through a direct payment to your client’s bank account/or a trusted account of their choosing, if time for the cards to be posted and arrive is compromised, in any way.

How can I best assist my client to consider an STA with Habitability?

Most importantly, manage client expectations!

All Habitability STA’s require plan manager approval in writing from the plan manager before we can proceed with active facilitation of the requested service.

Also, there are times where the preferred STA accommodation options of your client are unable to be pre-reserved by Habitability – as we must adhere to the providers cancellation and payment options.

Options to pre-reserve accommodation decrease the nearer the scheduled check-in date is, so it is best to plan ahead wherever possible to allow time for a) the option of pre-reservation b) the process to evolve to hopeful, plan manager approval of the STA!

Does a Habitability quote include the cost of accommodation, meals, activities and any other associated costs?

Habitability’s model provides flexibility of choice and control for NDIS participants. We work with the participant, their support coordinator, plan manager and family members to create a value for money STA quote within the NDIS price limits.

All STA costs can be discussed individually in the hope of clients achieving their unique goals and aspirations.

Please note that Habitability cannot assist with flights, but we may be able to assist with other transfer options and we encourage you to discuss potential options with our Intake & Assessment Coordinators.

What does the Habitability quote include?

Our STA quotes typically include costs for your STA Accommodation, Meals and Activities as well as our service fees. In addition, quotes may include agreed upon assistance with transfers, in addition to specialized equipment, your client may require.

All the above costs will be discussed with individual NDIS participants and we are confident that our model provides flexibility, and choice and control to your participants. 

Will there be any out of pocket expenses with a Habitability STA?

There may be out of pocket expenses in some circumstances.

Expenses may occur, where requests, – when combined with the highlighted STA costs, exceed the daily cap allowance or if particular requests do not rest within the advised NDIS guidelines.

What does Habitability charge to facilitate an STA?

Habitability STA’s have a standard administration fee of $425 per night. Our fee is based on a nightly rate of stay, as we do not charge for the check-out day.

For 2 Day STA’s, Habitability charges a one off ‘STA Service Facilitation Fee’, of $1,000.

Our fees cover all of our operational costs, and allow our team to provide ongoing support until completion of your client’s STA, in addition to our post STA ‘check-in’ evaluation.

At Habitability, we  believe that our fees offer clients an innovative model of STA, which is client focused and where  real choice and control is possible

Our fees also provide us with the opportunity to remain viable in the STA space and our feedback is that our fees offer value for money, an exceptional client experience and are comparably lower than our nearest competitors.

What is the line item associated with a Habitability STA Quote?

It is 0115. And we suggest that you refer to the NDIS price guide for further reference.

Who can assist participants ensure that a Habitability STA is value for money or is the best choice of STA for the individual?

We encourage our clients to consult with their support coordinator, LAC, plan manager, planner, and family members to seek support and guidance around their STA. *Our Service Agreement is only developed after the Habitability STA quote is reviewed and approved, firstly by the client and then their representatives.

What is the Habitability STA cancellation policy?

Habitability requires as much notice of cancellation as possible.

At a minimum, we offer free cancellations if the booked STA is cancelled within 72 hours of booking. Furthermore, all cancellations will apply according to the NDIS pricing arrangements *but this is subject to conditions, as Habitability works with a range of independent accommodation providers whose cancellation policies are not aligned or governed under the NDIS, therefore, within our service agreement we make reference to this. – LINK TO BELOW?

Habitability STA Accommodation Cancellation Policy – Third Party Accommodation Providers Conditions.

The participant agrees for Habitability to recoup all STA pre-payment costs associated with their STA accommodation booking, in the event of cancellation.

This will be in line with the terms and conditions of the accommodation provider, which can be 7 days before the STA commences, but this is a guide only, as STA accommodation providers have differing terms and conditions, within their individual cancellation policies.

The participant gives consent for Habitability to recoup all STA pre-payment costs, if choosing to vacate their STA Accommodation for any reason once their STA has started.

In limited cases Habitability may be able to negotiate a room credit (to be used in a future STA) or partial refund.

When do clients have to pay for their Habitability STA?

All Habitability STA invoices are sent to plan managers or self-managed clients within 24 hours of the completion of the STA service.

Do clients have to choose accommodation options only listed on your website?

Habitability has arrangements and partnerships with a range of hotel chains around Australia, but aside from this your client can choose any accommodation option which is featured on booking.com – as we work well with them, within their terms and cancellation conditions.

How much notification does Habitability need to book a STA?

We prefer to receive as much notice as possible to discuss, develop and facilitate your Staycation experience! Our preferred timeframe is a minimum of two weeks but in some cases, it is possible to facilitate an earlier entrance of your STA, based on a number of factors being met, with the most prominent being plan manager approval, once a quote is received and approved by your client.

What is the process for booking a Habitability STA?

  1. Read the STA FAQs prior to proceeding with the NDIS STA referral request.
  2. Complete the <STA Booking Enquiry Form on our website>.
  3. Our STA Intake & Assessment Coordinators will make contact with you within 24 hours by phone.
  4. Once our intake staff receive all the information from you, we will prepare a quote and send it to the client to first approve, and this quote will also be sent to the support coordinator / plan manager.

After the quote is approved, we encourage support coordinators to seek Plan Manager approval as we can only proceed with an STA when we have received Plan Manager approval in writing.

    1. Our Service Agreement will be sent to the client to sign (or elected representative) and once signed a copy of the agreement will be generated for the support coordinator & plan manager.
  • Habitability STA’s can only proceed when we receive plan manager (written) notification of their approval for the STA to proceed. Without this approval the STA process is suspended, and your clients STA may be at risk, especially if we have been unable to pre-reserve accommodation due to the closeness of the commencement dates.
  1. After the Service Agreement is signed, our Staycation Coordinator will proceed with all of your client’s arrangements and send out confirmation of their itinerary, which will include an overview of the STA, which includes check-in information, guidance on how to use our pre-paid STA Cards and our details of our on call service.
  2. One of our Client Experience Coordinators will make contact with the client and be on hand to assist them throughout their STA experience until completion. 
  3. On the scheduled STA commencement date, the client will commence STA services.
  4. Habitability provides an on-call service for clients to call if they require assistance during their STA.
  5. An invoice will be sent out after the completion of the STA to the plan manager or participant/representative if self-managed.
  6. Our Quality and Compliance Officer will contact the client for feedback a few days after their STA.

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