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These are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from people with a disability in Victoria about COVID-19. IDEAS has helped many people on the phone, and we have put these FAQ here as they might help you too.

These questions started from August 2nd when Stage 4 Restrictions came into place in Melbourne. These have been updated on September 15.  We will add more questions and keep this information up to date.

Things do change, we are in regular in contact with the Government, services and organisations so we can have the latest details for you.

Lot's of people's questions can be quite complex, so it makes sense that it doesn't appear in the FAQ.
Please call if there is something else you would like help with. Our Information Officers are on the phone from 8 am - 8 pm, Monday to Friday.
Call the COVID-19 Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787, talk to us on Live Chat or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

There is also other helpful information on our website:
COVID-19 Restrictions in Detail
Live in Victoria - Need to Know COVID-19 Info
Melbourne - Stage 4 - What is open in retail?

Question added September 15th

What do the Stage 3 restrictions in Regional Victoria mean?

From 11:59 pm on Wednesday 16th, Regional Victoria will be under Stage 3 restrictions. This means there are no restrictions on reasons for travel or on distance travelled, except you can not go to Melbourne. People can gather in groups up to 10 outdoors and the household bubble allows up to five people to visit your home from a nominated household. Children under 12 months are not included in the cap.

Masks must be worn outside and cafes and restaurants will be able to serve people outdoors with a cap of 50 people, seated per venue and an updated “two square metre” per patron limit in place. Hairdressers, tattoo parlours and beauty servers are also open, but only where a mask can be worn for the duration of the service.

All students in regional Victoria will now be expected to return to onsite learning. The return will be staggered and will apply when term four begins during the week of 12 October.

 Full details here - Victoria's COVID19 Road Map - what you need to know

What is the go with the social bubbles?

For people in Metropolitan Melbourne from 11:59 pm 13 September

  • If you live alone you can form a social bubble with one other person. 
  • If you are a single parent/guardian, with children under the age of 18 or caring for a person with a disability or illness over the age of 18, you can form a social bubble with one other person.
  • The person you form a social bubble with can visit you at your home
  • You can visit the person you form a bubble with at their home. If they live with someone else then you can only visit them at their home when they are home alone.
  • If the person you form a bubble with has children or dependents then they can bring their children or dependents with them when they visit you, and you can bring your children or dependents (if any) with you when you visit them.
  • You can only form a bubble with someone who lives in metropolitan Melbourne. You can travel more than 5km from your home to visit the person you form a bubble with.
  • The person you form a bubble with needs to be the same person throughout the first and second steps. The person you form a bubble with can’t form a bubble with someone else.

The single social bubble concept is a way to support people who may be feeling isolated while balancing the coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission risk.
Get the full details here.

What do we need to do to keep our homes safe?

Cleaning surfaces regularly, monitoring for symptoms, planning in case someone gets unwell, keeping a record of where you go, wearing a mask if you go outside and following COVID19 rules about gatherings. DHHS have made a Home Safety booklet to help people understand how to keep their homes safe.

Download the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Home Safety Plan (PDF)

Question added September 11th

I can't wear a mask - do I need a letter to say this?

No, you do not need a letter.

DHHS have made some badges people can use to help explain if they can not wear a mask safely.
There are two types of badges people can choose and download from the DHHS website

Smart phone badge

For anyone who is exempt and has a valid reason for not wearing a face mask. 

For persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing who need the person they are communicating with to remove their face mask.

Print-ready badge

For more detailed information on masks see Disability and wearing face masks 

Questions added September 10th

IDEAS has been asked if Victorian students with a disability who have tested positive to COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a confirmed case are required to submit a negative result before returning to school. Here is what we found out.

We asked the question because we understand the implications to students with a disability having repeat COVID testing, and resulting difficulties and possible traumatic experiences.

This is what we asked for:

  • The department stance on what is the process for students with a disability who test positive to COVID-19 and allowing the student to return to school. Are students required to have continual testing until a certain number of tests return clear of COVID-19? Is there a preferred method of testing and is saliva testing approved for this purpose? Is it sufficient for family members to test clear? 
  • Are students with a disability who are identified as close contacts with a positive COVID-19 case required to return a clear COVID-19 test before being allowed to return to school again?

  • Do individual schools have any leeway in decision making around these circumstances given their direct understanding of the needs of the student with a disability?

  • Is there an allowance for doctors to communicate with the school on recommendations regarding individual circumstances?

What we learned from the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

As the Department of Education and Training (DET) is not a health organisation, they are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with regards to COVID-19 testing.  

DHHS does not differentiate their guidance by cohort. The same testing rules and guidelines apply to everyone. Here is an FAQ on the DHHS site that talks about recommendations for testing children that they refer to Recommendations for testing Children.

Also on the DHHS site - is the "Assessment and testing criteria" page (for health professional audience):


Answers to our specific questions:

Are students who are identified as close contacts required to return a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to return to school again?    

If the student does not have symptoms AND has self-quarantined for the required period as designated by DHHS, they can return to school. See How Long do I have to Quarantine?

Do individual schools have any leeway in decision making around these circumstances given their direct understanding of the needs of the student with a disability?

Schools are required to follow the advice of DHHS with regards to testing.

If you have questions that you cannot find answers to, IDEAS is here to help. Our Contact Centre operates Monday to Friday from 8 am - 8 pm AEST. We are also helping to staff the Disability Information Helpline for people living with disability who need help because of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Phone on 1800 643 787 Freecall.
Through the National Relay Service on 133 677
For support in another language call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) free of charge by -
Calling the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 and asking for an interpreter, or
  • Calling TIS on 131 450 and ask to be connected to the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787
  • Click on the LiveChat button on the button in the bottom right corner.


Questions added September 6th

When will the restrictions lift and what can we do?

The Victorian Government has shared the latest 'Roadmap' on how it will reopen and take steps towards COVID-19 normal. There is a roadmap for Metro Melbourne and one for Regional Victoria. Changes will start from September 13, and there are 4 steps that will happen before getting to COVID Normal.

See all the details - Victoria's COVID19 Road Map - what you need to know

Questions added September 3rd

Are support coordinators still allowed to visit participants at home, especially those who are deaf and don’t have the technology to access meetings online?

All services should be provided remotely if possible. If a person is unable to communicate via remote access, then face to face visits can occur with appropriate infection control measures.

Are support coordinators still allowed to visit participants at home, especially those who are deaf and don’t have the technology to access meetings online?

Yes. However, families should consider whether the visit is necessary and can be provided remotely. Under the Care Facilities Directions, only one person may visit per day for a maximum of one hour.

Questions added August 31st

When will Victoria re-open? When will Stage 4 restrictions stop?

The Victorian Government will release its reopening roadmap on Sunday, 6 September. This roadmap will detail what will happen next and when. The Government will be working with business groups, the health department and community organisations over the next week to inform the roadmap. There may be different rules for different workplaces and industries.  Premier Andrews said on August 31:

“We know every Victorian wants certainty about the future – for them, for their family and for their work. By the end of the week, we will lay out a plan to re-open our state.”

More information - Working Together To Re-Open Victoria – Safely

Questions added August 28

How can I communicate with someone who is deaf while wearing a mask?

Communicating with people can be hard at the best of times if you have a hearing impairment or are deaf. Adaptions can be made to cloth masks so that your mouth can still be visible behind a mask by adding a clear window. This allows people with disabilities who need to see your lips moving to be able to understand what you are saying. Here are some instructions on how to make an accessible, deaf-friendly face mask

Read more Disability and Wearing Face Masks - COVID-19

Questions added August 21

How is the Government protecting people living in disability residential care?

The Australian and Victorian Governments have announced a coordinated Disability Response Centre to coordinate the COVID-19 response for disability residential services, including the limiting of staff attending multiple facilities. 

Read more Victorian and Australian Governments commit to Disability Response Centre for COVID-19 crisis

Is the NDIS paying for PPE for participants? How does it work?

‘We’re making it simpler for NDIS providers to claim the costs of PPE to continue safely delivering face-to-face services to participants,’ Minister Robert said on August 21. ‘This change will also give participants greater confidence that their NDIS plan funds will not be impacted by the use of PPE, as providers can now directly bill these costs to the NDIA.’

The changes will see providers able to claim an allowance of $1.70 per hour of support delivered in the Activities of Daily Life Support Category, to cover the cost of PPE. Providers will be able to claim for costs they have incurred for delivering daily living supports from 29 July, in line with previous provisions made for providers to support PPE use. Providers will also be able to continue claiming for PPE costs through the Price Guide, in agreement with participants, announced as part of the previous provisions.

NDIS Victoria Update has more detail.

Questions added August 13

How much is the Victorian COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment?

The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews has announced that the $300 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment would increase to $450 from today. He said this payment increase had been made after consultation with unions and employers. 

The $450 COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Test Isolation Payment provides support for workers in Victoria who need to self-isolate while they are waiting for a COVID-19 test result. You can apply online. If you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result and live in Victoria, find out if you are eligible here

Questions added August 11

How can I find a food relief service near me?

The Salvation Army 03 9653 3213

St Vincent de Paul 1800 305 330

Leave your name, contact number and suburb to have someone call you.

Co-Health has a list of places in Northern and Western areas of Melbourne. 

Ask Izzy website, lists places. Enter your postcode. 
For food look at the 2 columns ‘Everyday Things’ & ‘Food’

Your local council may also have some further information on what help is available. Find your Council.


Questions added August 10

Can I get home testing for COVID-19? 


The Victorian Government has set up a new Call-to-Test service. The service provides in-home testing for COVID-19, conducted by a health worker, to people who can’t easily access other forms of testing.

Access to the Call-to-Test service will be available to individuals who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and meet the following criteria:

  • people with an injury, chronic health issue, or frailty affecting mobility
  • people with moderate to severe physical or psychosocial disability
  • people with moderate to severe mental health or behavioural issues not otherwise classified as a psychosocial disability
  • carers for a person with moderate to severe disability

Call the COVID hotline on 1800 675 398  and select option 9 to find out if you can get this service. You will talk to a nurse who will take you through the steps of what will happen next. You may need to get a referral from a GP. If you are eligible, a health worker will come to your home and do the test.

It is only available in Metropolitan Melbourne. If you live in a remote or regional part of Victoria and cannot leave home to attend a testing site, you should contact your GP, community health service or local hospital for assistance and discuss options available to you.

More Information - Call-to-Test - Reaching out to vulnerable Victorians


I cannot get Halal food within 5km, can I travel to get it?

Yes, you can, however - you must not travel any further than is necessary to get what you need. You still need to travel to the closest option, only 1 member of the household can go, once a day and only stay as long as necessary.

This applies to Kosher food or necessary products that are not available within a 5km radius of your home.


I have a disability and my Dad looks after my daughter 2 afternoons a week, he comes to my house to do this. Can we still do this?

Yes you can if
- this is a usual arrangement
- it is still absolutely needed
- there are no other people in your home that can help.

Older people are more at risk of getting COVID-19, so if other arrangements can be made please do so. Anyone travelling to provide informal care needs to wear a mask, wash hands and do not make any extra stops on the way. A permit is not needed for this type of travel.


Questions added August 7

Can I use my child's NDIS funds to help with learning from home? 

Yes. There have been some changes made to the NDIS rules to allow this. The NDIS has made Information for families and carers of school-aged NDIS participants.

This pack is designed to help families and carers manage plans, supports and education arrangements during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in Victoria.

I don't have any more funds in my NDIS package but I still need help!

The NDIS has said - "Our priority is to ensure the disability supports and services you are receiving meet your immediate needs. We can make changes to your funding through a change of circumstances plan review, so your plan meets your needs during this time". 

The NDIS has extra staff on to help just with COVID19 issues. Call them on 1800 800 110, then pick option 5.
Please also see Support available to participants in restricted postcodes in Victoria.

Questions added August 6

Can my cleaner still come into my home even if they are not part of a disability support package?

Disability support workers which provide domestic assistance are classified as permitted workers. If you are an NDIS or My Aged Care participant, these services can be funded by your NDIS or Home Care package. If you do not have a package, you can still pay for these services privately. Most private cleaning services though will have to cease providing in-home services during the Stage 4 lockdown period.

The wording from the Victorian Government’s Stage 4 Restrictions document is "Building and grounds maintenance, cleaning, pest control and packaging services are permitted to operate… where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or at work." So, where you can prove that professional cleaning services are required to maintain your health and safety at home, say because of chronic illness or disability, then you should be able to still access cleaning services. 

Can I access childcare even though I am working from home?

If you are a permitted worker, yes. If there is someone else in the house who can care for or supervise your children while you are working, then no.

Permitted workers can still access onsite childcare if the other parent/carer cannot supervise the child/ren. This could be for a number of reasons - for example, their partner or co-parent:

  • has a medical condition, or a chronic illness which prevents them from caring for the child
  • has a disability
  • is completing full-time study and must attend onsite
  • works from home, but in a role that means they cannot supervise the child/ren - resulting in the permitted worker not being able to do their job

If all adults in the household are working though, or it is a single-parent household, or the partner or co-parent has a disability, chronic illness or medical condition then you can apply for the Childcare Access Permit. Both carers do not have to be permitted workers to access childcare

The Access to Childcare and Kinder (Working from Home) form is for permitted workers who are working from home and are unable to supervise their children in the course of their duties and who don’t have anyone else in the household who can supervise them.

The employee and employer are required to fill this form out. Template available to download here: Worker Permit Scheme - Childcare Permit

Can my family or friends help out by providing care for my child?

Yes, but there’s a “but” The childcare permit would not apply to this situation but there is wording in the 5 km rule which says, "you can travel further than 5 km from your home for work, medical care and caregiving."

If you are a permitted worker, whether you are working onsite or from home,  you can keep existing arrangements for in-home childcare if your children cannot otherwise be cared for during work hours by yourself or another responsible member of the household. These arrangements can be paid or unpaid.

New arrangements are not permitted and only one person may enter the house at any one time for the purposes of providing in-home childcare.

The Victorian Government strongly advises people in at-risk cohorts, such as grandparents or elderly relatives, not to participate in in-home childcare arrangements and to limit their movement as much as possible.

What money help can I get because of COVID19?

If you normally work

Payment 1
$450 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment - Victorian Government

This payment is for workers who need to isolate because they are waiting for a COVID-19 test result and will not receive income or salary during self-isolation. It is for workers who do not have leave to cover this time off. For example, a casual disability support worker who has to wait for 3 days to get a test result.

Apply online or for support to apply for the payment, you can call 1800 675 398 and select option 8.

If you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450.

Payment 2
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - Australian Government

You can apply for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment as many times as you are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 between 6 pm on 2 August 2020 and 6 pm on 2 September 2020.

For example

  • If you need to be off work for 3 weeks as you have has COVID-19
  • If you need to isolate for 2 weeks, as you came into contact with someone who had COVID-19

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is taxable income.

The fastest way to claim is over the phone. To claim call 180 22 66. The line is open from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Call 131 202 to talk in languages other than English.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment replaces the $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment, which was from DHHS in Victoria.

If you work you may get Payment 1, then Payment 2.

If you are on an income support payment or do not work

Payment 3
Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19) - Australian Government

If you are required to self-isolate or quarantine or caring for someone who does and are in severe financial hardship and eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

You can get this 2 times in a 6 month period. You can apply online or contact Centrelink. 

There is also

  • JobKeeper payments for those people trying to keep their jobs
  • JobSeeker payments for people who are looking for work

Read more on what has changed for JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments here.

Questions added August 5

What essential services are still allowed for people with a disability?

These are disability supports that are essential to a person’s health, safety, behaviour and wellbeing.
Essential services may be provided in-home, in a facility or in the community ( in limited circumstances) and include:

- Residential Services, including STAA
- In-home supports
- Behaviour support services
- Community Support within one of the four reasons allowed to leave your home
- Centre-based services -where support is essential to the person, or the person’s family
- Aids and equipment and assistive technology where essential
- A person can be supported by more than one support worker when leaving home for one of the four allowable reasons

Note in all circumstances services should be provided remotely where possible.

How can I work out what is in 5 km or not?

There is a map available to help you. You can enter your full address, then a blue circle will display showing your approximate 5 km radius. Search your address on the Victorian Government's 5 km from home map here.  The results of the 5 km radius search in this map are not accessible to screen readers, so if you need help with this contact us on the COVID-19 Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787. 

My Doctor lives more than 5 km away can I still go?

Yes. You can leave home to receive health care or attend medical appointments. If you need to see a doctor or health care professional, you should do so. Do not put off getting medical care. Your doctor or health care professional can provide advice on how to stay safe. You can travel further than 5km from your home for work, medical care and caregiving.

Do I need a letter to say I am out for an essential reason? I have a disability and it is part of my health or care needs.

No. There has been no direction to do this. We know some people with a disability are feeling anxious about being questioned when they have to go out for an essential reason, like a doctors appointment that can not be done via telehealth. Some people already have letters that say this, so you could carry that with you.
If you already have an appointment with your GP,  and you would feel better about having some documentation you could get one. But, at this stage, there is no need to get one. If this changes we will let you know.


My support worker can't come to work as they need to have a COVID-19 test and be isolated

Speak to your service provider about making backup plans for workers so you and they can stay safe. Disability support workers can access COVID-19 test isolation and worker support payments in Victoria. 

Can I still do my physio/therapy appointment etc?

Yes,  if it is an essential part of your health or disability care and can not be done remotely.

The following are open (for on-site work) - COVID Safe Plan
  • All health services provided within and to support a hospital (public and private), registered community health service, publicly funded health services (i.e. AOD and other services), blood bank and an aged care setting including student placements
  • Community-based services which are based on a referral from a registered medical practitioner (General practitioner and/or medical specialist). This includes all clinical and allied health services
  • Services requested under a regulatory framework (e.g. child protection orders for psychology or social worker support)
  • Services requested under the education framework (e.g. social workers who may be supporting vulnerable kids in school)
  • Immunisation and essential Maternal and Child Health Services to operate
  • Community-based services which are required to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people

Workers permits, I self manage my NDIS package and support workers, what do I need to do?

Worker permits are needed for essential staff that need to travel to get to and from work. The permits will be needed from 11:59 August 5th. Workers will need a letter from their employer, which maybe you. There is a template here to use. If you do not have a printer, we suggest you can fill it out and use a photo or a screenshot of it, until access to be a printer can be found. If your worker is a sole trader, they can do a letter for themselves, which may save you some paperwork - sole traders must issue a worker permit and sign the worker permit as both the employer and employee.

This information is just new out.  As this has had to be done quickly, there will be more questions as it is implemented which we will keep across for you.


Looking for more detail? Read our information on the Permitted worker scheme and Access to Childcare permits here


Questions added August 4


Can my cleaner still come to my house?

Yes, if you have a disability, and it is part of an essential service as part of your care.  
Cleaners need to use masks and personal protective equipment. Under the Permitted Worker Scheme, anyone travelling for work will need to have a permit. You can read more about this here: Victorian Worker and Access to Childcare Permits

Can I visit my hairdresser?

No. Hairdressers and personal care services are not operating in anywhere in Victoria.

When can I go outside of my house? I live in Melbourne

From 2 August, a curfew will be in place in metropolitan Melbourne. Curfews will be in operation from 8 pm to 5 am every evening, with people only allowed to leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons. 
You must wear a mask.

You may also leave your home in an emergency.

  • From 6 pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, you are not allowed to travel more than 5km from your home for shopping or exercise.

  • You can travel further than 5 km from your home for work, medical care and caregiving.

  • Mitchell Shire and the rest of Victoria are not subject to the 5 km rule. These areas are under stage 3 restrictions.

From 5 am – 8 pm, you can only leave your home for one of the following four reasons:
  • To purchase food and necessary supplies. This must be done within a 5km radius from where you live. Only 1 person per household can leave for essential goods, and only once per day. For some people, the nearest goods and services will be more than 5km away. In this situation, you may travel beyond 5km to the nearest provider. If you are unable to leave home because it would mean leaving a young child or at-risk person at home unattended, then they may accompany you.

  • Exercise once a day for up to 1 hour within a 5km radius of your home. Gathering sizes will be limited to 2. If you are unable to leave home because it would mean leaving a young child or at-risk person at home unattended, then they may accompany you.

  • For care and health care including accompanying someone for essential medical care if you are a carer, guardian or necessary support person. The 5km limit does not apply to care or caregiving.

  • Work. Study at TAFE and university must be done remotely. The 5km limit does not apply to work.


When can I go outside of my house? I live in Regional Victoria

From August 5, there will be Stage 3 Restrictions in place. There are four reasons that you can leave home: 

  1. Shopping for food or other essential items 
  2. To provide caregiving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment 
  3. For exercise (applies to outdoor exercise, and with only one other person or members of your household)
  4. Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home.

You must leave a mask when you leave home.

Where can I get food?

Under Stage 4 restrictions open for business are:

  • Supermarkets and grocery shops, including all food and liquor shops
  • Convenience stores and newsagents

Open with Restricted operations:

  • Shopping Centres open for access to permitted retail only
  • Markets for food only with strict enforcement of density obligations

Shopping Centres may be operating reduced hours. There may be purchasing limits. 
You can read all about Grocery Shopping during the Pandemic. It's one of our most popular blogs.

Where can I get COVID-19 Testing?

There are many places you can get tested across Victoria. Plus more places are being added all the time.
See COVID-19 Testing People with Disability
Head here to see the Home Testing options now available.
See also Saliva Testing.

If you need help finding an accessible testing site or option, we can do the searching for you.  We are staffing the COVID-19 Disability Information Helpline  please call us on 1800 643 787

How do I use Telehealth?

Telehealth is doing your health appointments over the phone or on your computer. GP's, psychologists, specialists, speech therapists and other health care providers are able to do this. Speak to your health care provider about what they are offering.

Read more detail here: Telehealth - How does it work?

My support worker can't come to work as they need to have a COVID-19 test and be isolated

Speak to your service provider about making backup plans for workers so you and they can stay safe. Disability support workers can access COVID-19 test isolation and worker support payments in Victoria.


I am feeling really alone what can I do?

We have some ideas to help you, some blogs and resources you might be interested in. 

Look after your mental health during COVID -19
Staying Connected in Isolation
Catch ups for People with Disability in COVID-19

New supports announced by the Government can help you. Speak to your GP about organising this.

The Australian Government is providing 10 additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions for Australians affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

People will have to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with their GP to access the additional sessions. This will allow them to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, psychiatrist, GP or other eligible allied health workers.

The additional sessions are for people who have already used their 10 sessions through their Mental Health Treatment Plan, and who are:

  • subject to public health orders restricting their movement within a state or territory issued at any time from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021
  • required to isolate or quarantine under public health orders

This measure will commence on Friday 7 August and will be available until 31 March 2021.

You may also be eligible to receive services if you are required to quarantine or self-isolate under a state or territory public health order or direction.

There are lots of other services that you can use too. You don't need an appointment and can just ring.

We have a list of contacts you can link to at National Crisis Numbers.

And for download pdfNational Crisis Numbers PDF.


Please remember there are many services to help with all kinds of situations.

You can call us at IDEAS if you need help to find one for you. Free Call: 1800 643 787
We also have National Crisis Numbers listed for all kinds of situations.

 IDEAS does information so you can do life.