How functional capacity assessments can help you use your NDIS plan

Emma Lo Giudice
May 19, 2023

A functional capacity assessment can be a helpful tool to get you started with your NDIS plan. 

While not mandatory, this assessment can give you some much needed direction on what supports you need. This is particularly helpful if you’re completely new to the NDIS, are about to have a plan reassessment or are entering into a new stage of your life. 

What is a functional capacity assessment?

A functional capacity assessment (FCA) takes a look at how you do things at home, in the community, at work and in school settings. The end result of an FCA is a report which will give an overview of your needs and make recommendations for supports you’d benefit from.

The assessment is usually done by occupational therapists, but other allied professionals like physiotherapists and social workers can also do it. 

If you’d like to get an FCA, you can use the funding in your ‘Improved Daily Living’ category under your Capacity Building Supports Budget to cover the cost

How a functional capacity assessment can help you use your plan

  • You’ll know how to spend your funding

The recommendations in your report can introduce you to the world of NDIS supports. Not only will you learn about the types of supports that exist (which you may not have known before) but the things that will benefit you specifically. 

  • You can use it to easily tell your story to others

You can share your FCA report with other people in your life to easily communicate your needs, so they can tailor their services and support to you.  

  • You can make sure you’re getting the most out of your next plan

An FCA can help you prepare for a plan reassessment, which is where you review your current plan and prepare for a new one. You will be able to get an up-to-date evaluation of how your current supports are working out for you. This tells the NDIA whether your current funding is enough or if you need more funding.

  • You can prepare for a major life transition

If you’re about to move from school to the workforce, move out of home or experience any other major life event, an FCA can let you plan for the supports you’ll need in your new situation. 

FAQ about functional capacity assessments

Who can do the assessment?

Occupational therapists (OTs) are usually the one to conduct them. But a physiotherapist, social worker or other allied health professional can also do an FCA for you. 

Your LAC, support coordinator or the team at HeyHubble can find you an occupational therapist who can conduct the assessment. Make a request here. 

You don’t need to have any prior history with your therapist to get the assessment done. So it’s okay if you’ve never worked with one before. 

What’s involved?

An FCA is often completed over multiple sessions. Overall, there are three parts to an FCA:

  1. An interview with you and/or your carer.
  2. An environmental assessment which involves your therapist or social worker seeing you in everyday situations at home, school and work.
  3. A report detailing your needs and recommendations.

Whoever is doing the assessment will be interested in things like:

  • How you perform personal care activities like getting ready in the morning.
  • How you move around your home.
  • If you use or need mobility aids.
  • How you’re going at school or university and any supports you receive.
  • How you juggle household tasks, including your experience as a parent.
  • If you’re able to pursue any interests or hobbies, or if you’d like to do so.
  • How you find leaving the house to do things like go to the shops, attend events or see friends.
  • How you perform at work, or if finding a job is a goal of yours.
  • If assistive technology would be something you’d benefit from.

How much does it cost?

You can expect your FCA to cost around $2,000. However, you should ask for a cost estimate for your specific circumstances.

You will be able to use your NDIS plan to cover this. The funding you can use is found in ‘Improved Daily Living’ under your Capacity Building Supports Budget.

The cost of the assessment includes the face-to-face time spent with your OT (or other professional), the time it takes them to research and write your recommendations, plus any travel costs. 

HeyHubble can help you book a functional capacity assessment

We can connect you with a quality occupational therapist who is available to do a functional capacity assessment when you need it. Our team can also answer any questions you have about the process.

Want help understanding your plan? Book in a Plan Guidance Session

If you want some 1:1 support and someone to talk to about your individual plan, our team can help.

A Plan Guidance Session is a free 20 minute call where we can explain your NDIS plan, highlight any particular restrictions or rules to keep in mind with your funding, and help you find providers you’ll like.

Fill out your details below and we’ll be in touch with you soon.

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