Landmark changes promise to make the NDIS easier to use

The Government has recently announced the biggest changes to the NDIS since its inception.

The new changes promise to make the system quicker and easier to navigate. It’s also hoped that more people sign up to the scheme and receive the help they need.

There are currently over 400,000 people registered for the NDIS despite there being 4.4 million people in Australia with a disability.

The reforms respond to the 2019 Independent Review of the NDIS Act (Tune Review) which had 29 recommendations including giving participants, families and carers more control over their plan, providing more visibility around time frames and reducing jargon.

The Federal Government supports all of the recommendations of the review and will work in close collaboration with the disability sector to roll out the changes.

Although the legislative changes won’t be made until next year, improvements are coming immediately.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released a new Participant Service Charter and Participant Service Improvement Plan. These documents set out how the NDIA will deliver on the Participant Service Guarantee.

They should allow for new service standards and clear timeframes making it easier for people navigating the NDIS.

In addition to the recommendations, new independent assessments will be rolled out. These assessments will focus on the person and will gather information about their support needs and the impact of their disability on their daily life.

It’s promised that these assessments will deliver a simpler, faster and fairer approach for determining a person’s eligibility and developing more flexible and equitable support packages.

Kirsten Deane from grassroots organisation Every Australian Counts was pleased that many of the sensible, practical recommendations in the Tune Review were accepted.

She wrote on her website: “Things like greater flexibility in how you can use your NDIS funds. And outreach and support for people who are really missing out – like First Nations people with disability or people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.”

Leading autism body Amaze welcomed the changes but said more needs to be done for people with autism

Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie said in a statement: “[People with Autism] make up the biggest group in the NDIS, yet we continually hear of low understanding of their needs. It is absolutely critical that the scheme works well for [people with autism].”

They ask for specific autism and neurodevelopmental stream within the NDIS and dedicated training in autism for all NDIA and partner staff.

Read more about the NDIA Participant Service Improvement Plan and Service Charter.

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