What do I need to know about the DPA, and can I apply?
Who can apply for a DPA
You can apply for direct payments if you are:
- a person with disability who is a resident of NSW and is eligible for a service under the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW)
- a nominee or other supporter of a person with disability
- someone who has approved individual funding.
There are some types of individual funding that can’t be used for a DPA. This is because they are specialised or short term supports. Call the IDEAS DPA Infoline to find out if your individual funding can be used with a DPA.
Who do I talk to about applying for a DPA?
The IDEAS DPA Infoline should be your first point of contact if you’re interested in finding out more about the DPA. This Infoline is run by IDEAS, which stands for Information on Disability Education and Awareness Services. IDEAS run an independent information hub for people with disability, their families and carers.
The information officers on the IDEAS DPA Infoline will help you find information about the DPA, and tell you the steps you should take before you apply for a DPA.
- call the information officers on 1800 029 904
- talk to the information officers on the live chat service on this website: www.ideas.org.au
- email the information officers at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you receive disability supports funding but don’t currently have individualised funding, and you would like to apply for a direct payment, register your interest:
- call ADHC on 1800 605 489
- email email@example.com
- complete an online registration form for an Individual Funding Arrangement request for yourself or Individual Funding Arrangement request for a friend or family member.
Please note: These online forms should only be completed by people wishing to register themselves, or by parents and carers on behalf of a family member or friend.
Contact your local FACS district office if you’re unsure you have individualised funding.
What else do I need to know about the DPA?
Please read the DPA Handbook [link] before you apply for direct payments. The DPA Handbook has a lot more detail on your obligations under a Direct Payment Agreement (DPA).
A contractual agreement
The DPA is a formal agreement between you and the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) about how you’ll use your funding.
To be approved for direct payments you must be able to understand, and agree to meet, the terms of the agreement.
What are my key responsibilities in a DPA?
You are responsible for:
- managing your own money
- purchasing the supports you need
- providing reports to FACS on how you spent your money.
Safeguards are the way risks to a person with disability are minimised and managed. They protect your right to be safe and can promote more opportunities to exercise choice and control.
Everyone applying for a DPA will participate in a Safeguard Assessment. This considers if there are risks you would be exposed to in managing direct payments, and if so, what supports could reduce these risks.
For example, an applicant could be offered training to boost skills in self-managing funds, as a safeguard.
You can ask another person to act as your nominee. A nominee is a person who accepts responsibility to manage your direct payments and agrees to comply with all terms of the DPA agreement on your behalf. A nominee can be a parent, family member, friend, carer or other trusted person.
Your nominee acts in your best interests according to your wishes and preferences, and can’t financially benefit from your direct payments.
Individual Plan and Budget
You will need to give FACS an individual plan and budget with your DPA application. More information on what to include and who can help you prepare an Individual Plan and budget is in the DPA Handbook.
Work Health and Safety
When you apply for a DPA, you will need to think about your work health and safety (WHS) obligations. You also need to complete 3 WHS checklists from the My Disability Supports: Managing Safety website with your application. There are some examples of completed checklists on the My Disability Supports: Managing Safety website to help you.
You will need to complete the:
You need to let FACS know what you are spending your DPA funds on. This is usually a monthly progress report, as well as a report at the end of each DPA term. Your DPA Coordinator will tell you what information you need to provide. You don’t have to use a particular reporting template, but you may like to use one of the following:
How long does it take to get a DPA?
It takes at least three months, from the time you first express an interest in applying for a DPA to when you receive your first payment. There are lots of things that need to be done to set up a DPA.
This timeframe is just an estimate, it depends on how much time you need to complete your individual plan or to sign your DPA letter, and if any changes need to be made during the application process. It might take longer than three months.
You should keep your current service provider in the meantime, to make sure you are receiving supports. Your DPA can’t be backdated to include money that has already been given to a service provider for your supports.
You can get more information on direct payments from the DPA Handbook. You can also talk to your DPA Coordinator when you are completing your application.