The NDIS and meal preparation and delivery explained

Acacia Plan Management NDIS meal preparation and delivery
Reading Time: 4 mins

We are often asked about meal preparation and what the NDIS will and won’t fund.

For many people with a disability, it just isn’t possible to make their own meals.  This may mean they need assistance to organise a delivery of ready-made meals to keep in the freezer and simply prepare and eat.  For many, they are keen to learn how to prepare their own food or may need some extra support including assistance when shopping for ingredients.  For others, they would like to learn more about how to create and implement a nutritious and healthy eating plan.

This article will explain what the NDIS will fund and how you can manage this funding flexibly.

What costs will the NDIS cover?

The NDIS will fund the cost of preparing a meal and having it delivered to you. It won’t cover the cost of the ingredients used to make the meal, because these are regarded as ‘an everyday expense’.

Service providers use a standard formula for their meals that breaks down the proportion of total costs for preparation and delivery and how much for the ingredients. While this varies between providers, it generally equates to about 70% of the price covered by your NDIS funds and the remaining 30% will be paid out of your own pocket.  Many providers call this a “co-payment.” 

Ready-to-make meal kits

One option is to use your own money to order meal delivery kits and then use your NDIS funding for a support worker to help you cook and serve the meal and help to clean up afterwards.

Ready-made meals

There may be times where you can’t do the cooking and you need to organise a delivery of ready-made meals. 

If you have meal preparation supports included in your NDIS plan, you can decide which provider supports you to prepare your meals. This support comes from your Core Supports budget and is flexible. It also means if you have a temporary change of circumstances, you can change to meal preparation and delivery without changing your NDIS plan.

How do I know if I am eligible?

The NDIS recently made it easier for more participants to use their funding to pay for meal preparation and delivery.  Now, anyone with Core funding in their plan can use it for this purpose under line-item number 01_023_0120_1_1.

Previously, meal preparation and delivery was a stated line item, which meant only people with funding specifically for this purpose could access it.  This is no longer the case.

  • Some people who are already receiving funding for Core Supports (Daily Activities) in a Supported Independent Living (SIL) or short or medium term accommodation (respite) setting may not be eligible for meal delivery unless their regular support team is unable to support with meal preparation, for example due to sickness.
  • People who are struggling to understand or maintain a healthy, nutritious eating plan, may be able to access NDIS funding to engage a dietician to design a meal plan to support their needs.
  • Your disability might mean you can’t shop, cook or clean up after preparing your meal. The NDIS may fund the cost of a support worker to help you shop for your food, prepare your meals, and to clean up afterwards.
  • Your disability might mean you have trouble planning your meals or following multi-step instructions. If you can re-heat your meals, the NDIS may fund a support worker to help you shop for food and pre-prepare some meals for the week. They may also pay for delivery of pre- prepared ingredients.

How can you use your funding flexibly?

The NDIS may provide reasonable and necessary funding for the cost of meal preparation. Your core supports are flexible and you may decide to use that funding to pay for the preparation and delivery of pre-prepared meals in certain circumstances. It is up to you to manage your funding to cover your expenses for the length of your plan. You are only able to use your core support funding flexibly for meal preparation if this was specified in your plan.

What else do we think about?

To work out whether the cost of paying someone to help with meal preparation is reasonable and necessary, the NDIS will look at the information you give them against the NDIS funding criteria.

While the NDIS can provide reasonable and necessary funding for the cost of meal preparation and the cost of home delivery, they won’t fund supports that aren’t directly related to your disability. For example, if you want healthy meals delivered because you have a poor diet or need a different diet for reasons that aren’t to do with your disability, they wouldn’t be able to fund this.

The NDIS won’t fund meal preparation and delivery if you only need these supports because of health issues such as:

  • weight loss
  • food allergies
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • kidney disease
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome. 

These are not usually related to your disability and are better funded through the health system or through mainstream supports.

What about other forms of nutrition?

If you require nutritional support like Home Enteral Feeding (sometimes provided by a nasogastric tube or NGT, or directly into your stomach via a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG), you may be eligible for disability-related nutrition supports.

These could include:

  • a dietitian to work with you to create a disability-related meal plan
  • support to help you follow a meal plan
  • feeding equipment
  • products to help you eat safely and get the nutrition you need, like food thickeners
  • support to manage your feeding

Our best advice is always to contact the NDIS to seek clarification on your personal situation and plan.