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Our story

The driver behind the Ability8 app is family. And more specifically, one family’s journey with disability.

What is Ability8?

Ability8 is a user-friendly self-management tool designed to help manage your disability journey. It supports care self-management by equipping users with the tools they need to organise and manage care needs. This includes paying for services, scheduling care, arranging payroll, establishing timesheets, and ensuring you meet tax and super contribution obligations. With three simple plans to choose from, from basic to advanced functionality, there's a plan to suit all care needs. And it’s also designed for carers, including contractors and permanent employees to ensure continuity of care for you or your loved ones.

Why Ability8

We launched Ability8 in 2018 to provide anyone with a disability the freedom to self-manage their care plan. As parents of an adult daughter with severe disabilities, we have navigated the never-ending and exhausting complexity of funding issues and care for many years and knew there had to be a better way to help our family and anyone managing their care plans.

When the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was announced in 2013, we began the long journey of creating something that kept track of funding, payments, and scheduling care. Initially, we focused on succession planning, the most basic plan available in our app. We know from personal experience that succession planning is a significant area of concern for any parent of a child with a disability. We all want peace of mind that our child will be cared for when we’re no longer around. But we soon realised the potential of a full-service app that could help people with various needs to manage their disability journey.

We spoke to many people who care for family members with a disability and saw many similarities to our own challenges. For example, many people have extensive paper filing systems and excel spreadsheets that make monitoring funding and spending time-consuming. This can become increasingly more complicated if you're paying for staff and need to manage tax and super contributions. It can almost be a full-time job on its own, often with no training or skills to manage it. So we wanted to create something that made it easy to self-manage care, with everything stored in one central location.

How we created the system

While we had plenty of experience managing care, funding, and payments for our daughter, we wanted to learn about other people's experiences. So we undertook comprehensive industry consultation to understand the needs and wants of people with a disability and their primary carers and families regarding self-management NDIS. We wanted to ensure we covered all the basics and create something suitable for anyone, regardless of care needs.

We were vigilant when researching IT providers, wanting to ensure the safety and protection of user data. We spent months testing different providers and undertaking due diligence before settling on the current IT provider. Which is now the same system used by the NDIS with their app.

In addition to safety, we wanted to put the control back with individuals and families instead of service providers. So all of our users can see their important information, with the ability to turn different menus on and off, so it's personalised for your needs.

Ability8 is the only self-management tool that gives you complete control when managing care plans. It's easy to grant and restrict access to your information. You can add new users who can easily access the information they need if you're changing care providers or employing new staff. Anyone you share access with has their own unique log-in and can only see the information you want them to see. Our system also meets the legal requirements of storing your data for five years and we've established two-factor authentication for additional security.

Who we want to help

As parents, we set out to design a system tailored initially for families. We specifically designed it to meet the needs of families caring for loved ones with a disability to help make it easier for them to manage day-to-day life. But as our design progressed, we quickly realised that it wasn't just families that would benefit from using the system but anyone living with a disability.

Our system allows anyone to create a detailed profile covering all aspects of daily life. This can include daily routines, mobility needs, medication management, complex behaviours, likes and dislikes for food and wardrobe, work, scheduled activities, and much more. It supports families and individuals in achieving goals and aspirations toward social and economic participation.

The future of Ability8

We currently have around 450 individual users signed up to the app and additional users, including family members, health care providers, and even schools. In addition, carers use the system to access essential information and communicate with other employees to ensure care plans are followed.

We are now into our second iteration, with a new range of product features added to help improve the functionality offered to users. Our new version is faster and provides a new user interface to make it even easier to navigate. We're set to launch even more functionality in the next few months. And we won't stop seeking feedback and making adjustments to ensure it's meeting our user's needs.

Around 500,000 people are on the NDIS, though less than 15% of those self-manage their own care. That's something we want to change for anyone who wants to self-manage. Of course, self-managing involves assessing knowledge, abilities, and skills to manage funds. But we want more people to have the option of using our app if they decide self-management is right for them. Our system can help users recruit and maintain staff, coordinate support, and achieve outcomes against individual care plans. We're confident that we've built a comprehensive, user-friendly resource that captures the legislative requirements to manage government-funded financial resources.

At Ability8, we're passionate about understanding the needs of wants of people with disabilities and their disability care needs, particularly regarding NDIS self-management. We want everyone to be able to access the system to see what it can do. We offer a free 30-day trial with complementary training to any new users. And our prices haven't changed since our initial launch four years ago. We're committed to providing a service that benefits anyone with a disability.

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