The complaints process for the NDIS

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People with disability are already placed in a vulnerable situation when receiving care from disability providers, however, circumstances can be compounded if you have a complaint you need to raise about the way you are receiving care or the services you are being provided.

Key points:

  • Talk to your provider first about the problems you are having before taking the complaint further

  • The NDIA will acknowledge your complaint within a day and let you know about the progress of your complaint

  • If you are unhappy about the result of the complaint, you can request an internal review of the complaint or get an independent agency to take it further

You may feel that the supports you receive are not what you agreed to, maybe you feel that your support worker is making decisions for you or you might disagree with the results or outcome of your National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) assessment.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the organisation that coordinates the NDIS, handles all complaints in regards to the NDIS and its providers.

As a NDIS participant, you should be empowered and supported to raise any concerns or complaints you have about your supports, as receiving services that are respectful, safe and beneficial is really important to your ongoing health and wellbeing.

Reasons you may complain

You should always feel safe and respected when receiving care and support from your disability provider.

If you are starting to feel like your human rights or the quality of care are not meeting the appropriate standards, then putting in a complaint can be a good way to resolve the issue.

Anyone receiving disability support, as well as family and friends, can make a complaint about the service they are receiving.

Making a complaint about a provider

When you’re not happy with something, first and foremost, you should try to talk to your provider about your concerns. All NDIS providers have a complaint and resolution system and this can be one of the quickest ways to have any issues resolved straight away.

However, if your provider doesn’t deal with the complaint well or to your satisfaction, then contacting the NDIA or an advocacy service is the next step. Find an advocacy service in your area by using the Disability Support Guide directory.

Putting in a complaint about the NDIA is reasonably simple as they have a complaint form available on their website.

You can send off the complaint form in a number of ways:

National Disability Insurance Agency,

GPO Box 700

Canberra, ACT 2601

The NDIA has a specific Participant Service Charter, which dictates a quick response to your complaint about providers.

You can expect:

  • The NDIA to act immediately if there appears to be a high risk of harm, neglect or abuse

  • Acknowledgement of your complaint being received within one day after you sent it

  • The NDIA to contact you within two days after receiving the complaint to provide a reference number and information on what to expect as they resolve the complaint

  • Your complaint will be resolved within 21 days after you submit it, however, complex complaints with multiple issues may take longer to resolve

  • The NDIA will publish information on their website about their performance

The NDIA may contact you for more information about your complaint so they can better understand your complaint and how to resolve the issue.

They will also be contacting the person or provider that you have put in a complaint about. The person/provider will receive details of the complaint and the NDIA will request relevant comment and information about the issue.

The NDIA will notify you of what the person/provider has said in response to your lodged complaint.

Your complaint can be dealt with and resolved in a number of ways. The officer who is managing your complaint will be able to provide you with outcomes of complaints that are similar to your own and how those complaints were resolved.

What if I don't like the outcome of my complaint?

At the end of your complaint resolution, if you are still not happy with the outcome, you can ask an NDIA supervisor/manager to review your complaint.

If you don’t agree with the decision made, you can lodge an internal review application. However, if the internal review doesn’t solve the issue, you can then take the issue to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review.

You can only contact the AAT for a review if the internal review has been undertaken. Visit the AAT website or call 1800 228 333.

Another option is to contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman for help if you are not happy with the result of your complaint. Visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman website for more information or call 1300 362 072.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to receive help from an independent agency, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) may be a better option for you.

The NDIS Commission regulates NDIS providers and the services they provide. The agency wants to normalise complaints, since it is the best way to improve services for yourself and for other people. To contact the NDIS Commission and make a complaint, head to their website.

If you didn’t have the best experience dealing with the NDIA, or want to complain or provide feedback about your dealings with the NDIA, you can also fill out a feedback form.

How can providers do better to minimise the need for a complaints system? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Your rights as a person with disability
Plan reviews and appeals
I have been approved for NDIS funding – what next?