PIAC is working to improve outcomes under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for people with disability.
The NDIS has the potential to provide choice and control for people with disability as well as early intervention services for many Australians who have never received assistance before. However, those who should be benefitting from the scheme have reported a range of concerns, particularly in relation to application and appeal processes.
PIAC is working with people with disability, carers, peak groups and stakeholders to identify and address key concerns. The initial focus of our work is on improving transparency and consistency around decision-making, and making the appeals process less adversarial and more user-friendly.
Ultimately, we hope to make the system fairer and work better to meet the needs of people with disability.
Decisions about who is funded under the scheme, and to what extent, are generally made behind closed doors, with limited information available to the public and individuals about the basis for decisions by the National Disability Insurance Agency and the outcome of appeals.
Without this information, decisions can be difficult to challenge. And for those who do decide to appeal, difficulty getting legal assistance can make it hard to mount an effective case, particularly for people who have trouble navigating complex processes, or whose cases do not raise complex or novel legal issues.
There is also a lack of publicly available information about appeal outcomes, especially for the large number of cases that settle prior to hearing. Having access to this information would help develop principles for decision-making and assist with driving systemic improvements.
How we will create change
This project seeks to establish principles that can be applied consistently to ensure that applicants and appellants are treated fairly and get the support they need, no matter where they live or what their circumstances. We will also seek to improve the transparency and accountability of the NDIA’s decision-making processes.
We will employ a range of strategies, including:
- Representing individuals in cases of strategic importance
- Collaborating with disability advocates and groups, as well as other stakeholders
- Raising issues in public debate, including in the media
- Political engagement
In December 2019 we released an issues paper that outlines reforms to the NDIS to make it work better for people with disability.
From July to early September 2019, PIAC engaged in extensive consultations with stakeholders across the disability sector to understand the concerns of the community in engaging with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) at key decision-making points.
This Issues Paper distils underlying issues identified across the disability sector during the course of these consultations and suggests proposals for reform. It can be downloaded here.
For more information about the project call Chadwick Wong on 02 8898 6500.
For general legal or advocacy assistance on NDIS reviews and appeals, please contact Legal Aid NSWor People with Disability Australia. PIAC is not currently assisting with general legal enquiries in relation to the NDIS.
Image: Flickr/ halahmoon