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Making the NDIS work for you: Meal Preparation and Delivery

All you need to do is turn on the television and pretty soon you’re likely to come across a show about food. For many people with a disability preparing food is not as easy as it is in these shows. That’s why ‘Meal Preparation and Delivery’ is included in many NDIS plans.

So it’s not surprising that we’re frequently asked questions about how meal preparation and delivery works under the NDIS. Because everyone’s NDIS experiences are different, there’s no single answer to this question, and what you can or can’t fund depends on your particular situation.

However, here’s some food for thought that will hopefully make things as easy as possible for you.  

When does the NDIS fund meal preparation and delivery?

The NDIS will provide funding for the preparation and delivery of meals, provided it’s directly related to your disability and considered ‘reasonable and necessary’ (click here to read more about this term). So if your disability prevents you from shopping or preparing meals yourself, the NDIS can deem it as being reasonable and necessary and fund it. The NDIS might also fund meal preparation and delivery if your primary carer (usually a family member) only has the time and opportunity to provide you with the essential supports and not with shopping or cooking. However, if you (or your primary carer) are able to shop and cook for yourself, the NDIS won’t cover it.

Where is it featured in my NDIS plan?

The NDIS can include Meal Preparation and Delivery in your NDIS plan under ‘Core Supports’ and specifically under the support category ‘Assistance with Daily Living’. Note that as with all Core Supports, your funding is rather flexible, so you can generally spend your Core Support budget on any support category you like – provided it meets the criteria of being reasonable and necessary.

What do I need to be aware of when using Meal Preparation and Delivery?

The NDIS can be particularly attentive when assessing Meal Preperation and Delivery invoices. So, to ensure you’re not out of pocket due to a misunderstanding, here are two main things to be aware of:

  1. Ingredients are not funded

You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned anything about ingredients yet – and with good reason. The NDIS does not fund the ingredients of a meal, only the preparation and delivery of the meals. This comes down the reasonable and necessary criteria again and the fact that everyone needs their meal to have ingredients, regardless of whether they have a disability or not. So the ingredients you bought as part of your normal grocery shopping cannot be funded by the NDIS, nor are the ingredients used to prepare the delivered meal. 

  1. Use providers who know how to work with the NDIS

Because the NDIS won’t cover ingredients and are particularly strict when it comes to funding, we strongly recommend using Meal Preparation and Delivery providers who know how to work with the NDIS – usually the providers who are registered with the NDIS. While unregistered providers can be a fantastic resource for other services, not all of them will be able to accurately break your invoice down into components that will satisfy the NDIS. Registered providers usually know how to do this correctly, showing clearly on their invoices the costs of preparation, delivery and ingredients. If they don’t, there’s a risk the NDIS might reject the invoice and you may have to cover it yourself.

If you need assistance finding a registered provider in your area and we’re your Plan Manager, our team will be able to provide you with advice on how to get you started. Alternatively, if you have Support Coordination with us, our support coordinators can work with you to get you in touch with a provider and help you set up a service agreement.

If you have any questions relating to your specific situation, please contact us here or give our friendly team a call on 1300 333 700.   

Top Tips

  • The NDIS only funds meal preparation and delivery if your disability is preventing you from doing it yourself.
  • The costs of ingredients are not covered by the NDIS.
  • We recommend that you contact providers for meal preparation and delivery who know how to correctly itemise invoices for the NDIS, usually registered providers. 
  • Plan Partners can provide you with advice how to find registered meal preparation and delivery service providers in your area.
  • Even though your Core Support budget is flexible, make sure you keep a close eye on it so you don’t run out of money for other important things – check our online customer Dashboard to keep track of your spending!

This is the fourth blog in our series 'Making the NDIS work for you', where we look at a wide range of topics and examine how the NDIS can help with each.

Read the other blogs here:

- Transport

- Playing Sport

- Gardening, cleaning and home maintenace

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