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Will the NDIS Really Pay for Food? Meal Preparation and Delivery for NDIS Participants

Updated: May 7

The introduction of the NDIS in Australia has changed the lives of many Australians with disabilities for the better.

The NDIS extends the idea of disability support outside of basic medical needs, towards a more fulfilling life. An NDIS plan also helps participants gain a better quality of life, function more independently and achieve their personal goals. As part of this approach, the NDIS can cover meal preparation and delivery for participants who qualify.

One of the reasons I started Ketolicious Kreations is that I believe everyone should have access to delicious, life-affirming, healthy food that suits their body and their needs – not just a standard definition of ‘healthy’ that may or may not be right for them.

Knowing that the NDIS offers assistance with the cost of preparation and delivery of meals is a huge step forward, particularly when participants have the freedom to choose their own NDIS approved food service provider.

What food preparation and delivery options are funded by the NDIS?

Technically, the NDIS Plan doesn’t cover the food itself – what it funds is the process of cooking, packaging and delivering meals for NDIS participants.

Essentially, if you’re eligible, the NDIS will pay for the cost of food preparation and/or delivering that food to you. However, NDIS doesn’t cover the cost of the ingredients, which can impact the way you pay your NDIS food service provider.

There are two different ways to get NDIS funded meals: either purchasing ready-made meals or hiring an in-home meal preparation service.

Getting ready made meals under the NDIS means your payment will be divided – with a cost of approximately 20% or 30% paid by the participant to cover ingredients, while the remaining 70% or 80% is funded by the NDIS.

On the other hand, if you use an NDIS approved in-home cooking service, you or your supports handle the supply of ingredients, so the whole amount paid for the cooking service is what’s funded by the NDIS.

Which NDIS line Items apply to a meal preparation service?

Wondering if your NDIS plan covers meal preparation services? The good news is that NDIS meal preparation can fall under six different line items, not just the one. Engaging an in-home cooking service helps build valuable life skills such as budgeting, planning, computer skills, community skills, networking, and more.

For this reason, meal preparation services are available to a range of different NDIS participants and plans. An in-home cooking service like Ketolicious Kreations can assist with a variety of assistance and capacity-building needs.

Below, we will outline the support categories in-house cooking services fall under. This should make it easier to understand what you are entitled to under your plan.

Here are some of the NDIS line items that apply to meal preparation services:

Category: Core - Assistance with Daily Life → Preparation and Delivery of Meals

Line Item: Assistance with the Cost of the Preparation and Delivery of Meals (01_023_0120_1_1)

To meet the daily needs of the Participant and enable them to live independently, this support assists with the cost related to the preparation and delivery of meals. This ensures the participant is maintaining a fresh and nutritious diet to support their overall wellbeing.

The NDIS states two requirements: that Participants are unable to prepare food themselves; and they’re not receiving any other supports to meet this specific need (eg. other in-home support arrangements that include meal preparation). As of 1 March 2022, the NDIA no longer requires quotes for meal preparation and delivery, simplifying access to this support.

The previous code (Code 01_022_0120_1_1) can still be claimed if included in a Participant’s plan.

Category: Core - Assistance with Daily Life → Daily Personal Activities

Line Item: Assistance with Self-Care Activities (Code 01_011_0107_1_1)

A self-care routine is an important daily activity, such as food and nutrition. This line item is designed to help a Participant live autonomously or develop the necessary skills to do so. When a Participant uses our meal preparation services, we supply them with fresh and nutritious meals. This ensures they are eating a healthy diet and taking part in the daily activity of meal preparation.

Category: Core - Assistance with Daily Life → Self-Management Capacity Building

Line Item: Self Management Capacity Building (Code 01_134_0117_8_1)

By placing a booking with Ketolicious Kreations and preparing for our visit, the Participant will employ useful self-management skills. In the process of placing a booking and preparing for the delivery, the Participant will learn how to manage their budget, prepare their kitchen, plan their meals and more.

In the process of making a booking and ordering groceries for their cook-up, the Participant will further develop their self-management capacity. We provide a list of ingredients required for the meals selected, giving the Participant the opportunity to manage their budget and make grocery selections. This helps practice self-management skills, such as choosing between brands and financial concepts such as purchasing in bulk.

The Participant will also learn to prepare their kitchen for the preparation of their meals, giving capable participants the opportunity to organise their living space for our cook’s scheduled visit.

Category: Capacity Building - Increased Social & Community Participation → Development of Daily Living & Life Skills

Line Item: Skills Development and Training (Code 09_009_0117_6_3)

By placing a booking with Ketolicious Kreations and preparing for our visit, the Participant can build some fantastic skills for social and community engagement. By booking our services and customising their meal preferences, our staff help the Participant develop their decision-making and communication skills.

Shopping for groceries online or in person helps practice essential skills like budgeting, decision-making and understanding the value of money, as well as navigating the internet. Our visits are another opportunity for valuable social engagement - Participants are able to watch the meal preparation process, as well as welcoming and conversing with our cook.

The Participant will also gain valuable daily living and independence skills, including using the microwave to heat their nutritious prepared meals.

Category: Capacity Building - Improved Daily Living → Other Supports

Line Item: Assistance with Decision Making, Daily Planning and Budgeting (Code 15_035_0106_1_3)

When the Participant utilises our meal preparation and delivery services, they build long-lasting skills relating to decision making, planning and budgeting. These are essential daily living skills that improve the Participant’s capacity to live independently.

By employing our meal services, the Participant will need to use daily decision-making skills to decide which meals they are going to select, and which meals they are going to eat, freeze or keep fresh each day.

Scheduling the booking date and time of their delivery also involves planning and scheduling skills. The Participant will also develop financial literacy and computer skills through completing the grocery shopping to prepare for their in-house cooking appointment.

Line Item: Skill Development and Training to Increase Independence, Including Public Transport Training (Code 15_037_0117_1_3)

By booking our services, Participants will develop key areas of their independent living skills. Our staff can assist Participants in making decisions around daily living, including which meals to order and how to store them.

When Participants handle the budgeting and additional shopping requirements for their meal delivery, they also learn valuable money skills, such as independently handling their budget and choosing between grocery options.

If a Participant has to travel for their grocery shopping, they can also practice public transport skills to further increase their independence and community interaction.

Who is eligible for food delivery under the NDIS?

To be eligible for a cooking service or food delivery under the NDIS, your NDIS plan needs to include one of the relevant Core or Capacity Building support category items.

Now, this is where it gets technical.

From 1st July 2020, NDIS plan participants with a new plan were required to get a quote for meal preparation and delivery services. This has been reviewed and as of 1st March 2022, the NDIA no longer requires a quote, making the process for this line item much simpler.

If your NDIS plan started before that, you can still claim food preparation & delivery under flexible Core Supports funding, the same as before.

If you feel that meal preparation and delivery would benefit you but this isn’t included under your current NDIS plan, I encourage you to follow up with your plan manager or provider. If you have an upcoming NDIS review, emphasise how meal preparation and delivery on your NDIS plan would help you achieve your key goals, such as:

  • Helping you gain independence or remain independent

  • Improving your overall health and wellbeing

  • Helping you participate more in daily activities

If you need guidance, an NDIS mentor such as Im Online can help you navigate this process.

Is the full cost of food delivery covered by the NDIS?

Food preparation and delivery is funded by the NDIS, but you will need to pay for the actual ingredients used. When using a meal delivery service, this is calculated based on around 20% of the total cost for ingredients (paid by the participant) and around 80% for cooking, packaging and delivery (paid by the NDIS plan).

When using a meal preparation service or cooking service, the price charged is solely for the service, so you won’t need to worry about calculating the difference.

Does the NDIS cover meals for special dietary requirements?

Under the NDIS, you get a choice in which cooking service or meal delivery company you choose. This means you’re able to choose a provider that suits your specific needs, including allergies, food intolerances and any other dietary requirements.

When you choose an in-home cooking service rather than ready-made meal delivery, you get even greater control over the way your meals are made and the ingredients used. If you have specific dietary needs or preferences, a meal prep service for people with disabilities or a general in-home cooking service could be a great option to suit your NDIS plan.

How can I get meals prepared under the NDIS?

Both plan and self-managed participants may be able access support in meal preparation, including an in-home cooking service such as Ketolicious Kreations.

If you’re eligible for food preparation and delivery support in your NDIS plan, you can choose your own meal service provider, and options aren’t limited to specific cooking services for people with disabilities.

The NDIS line item for food preparation and delivery is “subject to quotation” – meaning you do need to submit a quote from a service provider to have it approved. If you get in touch with an NDIS service provider for food or cooking support, the service provider will be able to issue a quote or invoice for use in making an NDIS claim.

Why is a cooking service helpful for NDIS participants?

Opportunity for skill and capacity building

There are a variety of skills that participants can gain by using an in-home cooking service such as Ketolicious Kreations.

It’s about much more than just fresh, nutritious meals - the cook-up process provides plenty of opportunities to build capacity for independent living. At every stage, there are valuable skills to practice: from making a booking and choosing meals, through to shopping for groceries and welcoming our cook into their home on the day.

Regular cook-up appointments help NDIS Participants establish and maintain valuable community networks. From skills development to social support, our service can help reduce anxiety and build confidence for NDIS Participants.

Even better news: the range of skills developed means meal preparation can be covered under a range of NDIS line items. If you are unsure if your plan will cover the cost of the in-home cooking service speak to your plan manager, NDIS or contact an NDIS mentor such as Im Online who can help you with your plan.

Simpler payment arrangements than pre-made meals

When purchasing pre-made meals under the NDIS, the NDIS covers food preparation but not the cost of ingredients, requiring the costs to be divided up and calculated. When choosing a cooking service under the NDIS, the entire amount paid is for food preparation, keeping things simple.

Using a cooking service makes the payment process more straightforward, meaning the entire payment is for the cooking process and packaging of meals.

Customise meals as much as you want

When using a meal prep service or in-home cooking service, every meal we prepare is customised to your requirements. We put the choice back in your hands to decide what you want to eat, something everybody should have the chance to do.

How is a cooking service better than pre-made meal delivery? When meals are prepared especially for you, you can make those little changes to ensure you’re eating food you’ll really enjoy. When ordering ready meals or frozen meals, you’re unable to make any changes to get the flavours, textures and presentation you’d really like to have.

At Ketolicious Kreations cooking service, we accommodate medical conditions, dietary requirements and preferences, from the common to the unusual – we don’t judge! Whether you have a nut allergy, prefer beef over lamb or just can’t stand coriander, the meals I cook are based around your preferences.

Choose your own ingredients