Campaign aims to bring long wait for NDIS housing down to ten days

Posted 2 years ago by Anna Christian
Approval for housing funding under the NDIS is taking up to 18 months for some participants, affecting their health and wellbeing. [Source: Shutterstock]
Approval for housing funding under the NDIS is taking up to 18 months for some participants, affecting their health and wellbeing. [Source: Shutterstock]

Thousands of people with disability are waiting far too long for approval for the housing they need, causing stress and impacting their health, the members of a new campaign say.

The Down to 10 Days campaign launched this week and aims to have the wait of up to 18 months for housing approval under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) cut to ten days to protect the health and wellbeing of people with disability.

According to campaign data, there are more than 1,100 Australians with disability in hospital who are ready for discharge but unable to move because they are waiting for their NDIS paperwork to be approved.

In addition, more than 50 Australians under the age of 65 are forced to move into aged care homes every month because they are waiting for funding approval for appropriate housing.

These people, and others living in homes that are not suited to their needs, are regularly waiting months and months for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to go through the process of assessing their paperwork, the campaign organisations say.

Organisations that are part of the Down to 10 Days campaign include:

  • Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
  • Brain Injury Australia
  • Council for Intellectual Disability (CID)
  • People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Physical Disability Australia
  • Physical Disability Council of New South Wales
  • Public Interest Advocacy Centre
  • Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
  • Youngcare
  • Summer Foundation

Campaign Director Tim Naughtin says the organisations and the people they represent are looking for all sides of politics to make a commitment to work with the NDIA to make faster, more accurate decisions on housing – no matter whether it is the Government or the Opposition in power after the election.

“Ten days is the timeframe that the NDIA has put out in public communications in the past – it’s on their website and they’ve said that’s the timeframe they will ‘try’ to make a decision in, so from that perspective they obviously think that ten days is a reasonable amount of time,” explains Mr Naughtin.

“They’re just not meeting that.

“The other thing that brought us to that timeline is that aged care can do it within ten days – so if you’re in hospital and you desperately need to get into aged care you can do it in three days, but otherwise it is within a couple of weeks as well.”

Mr Naughtin says he would also like to see the NDIA be more transparent around the data on how many people are waiting for accommodation and for how long, because the data will help to inform improvements that can get people the support they need.

“The timeline of ten days that we’re asking for is from the time when the NDIA receives all the appropriate paperwork to the time that they communicate that decision back to the participant,” Mr Naughtin says.

“The Agency will say they make decisions in a certain timeframe, but what they’re taking into account with that is this small part of the process where a panel sits and makes the decision.

“What they’re not taking into account with that [timeframe] is all of the time between when the person submits the paperwork through to when it reaches the panel, then all of the time until [the decision is communicated] back to the person.

“Really this is about cutting through bureaucracy, we understand there has to be processes, but it just needs to be a more efficient, effective process.”

For several years all of the organisations that are part of the campaign have been seeing the same recurring issue where people are waiting far too long for housing, Mr Naughtin says.

“The disability sector and the health sector and the housing sector have been talking about it for a number of years behind closed doors to the Agency and to the Government,” he says.

“Unfortunately we’re not seeing any progress on the ground in terms of faster decisions, so that’s why this group has got together and said we need to do something more public.”

To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved visit the Down to 10 days website.

Discrimination in healthcare called out by advocacy group

As well as backing the Down to 10 days campaign, the Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) is part of a new campaign called End Deadly Disability Discrimination.

Other organisations involved in the End Deadly Disability Discrimination campaign include Inclusion Australia, the Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine, Down Syndrome Australia and the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at the University of New South Wales.

CID says people with intellectual disability are dying up to 27 years earlier than the general population and up to half their deaths are preventable.

People with intellectual disability also have 2.5 times more health problems and use emergency departments twice as much as people without intellectual disability, according to CID.

Launched earlier this month, the End Deadly Disability Discrimination campaign urges all political parties in the Federal Election to commit to establishing the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health, which CID says is the most important part of a roadmap the organisation created in collaboration with the Department of Health and released last year.

The Roadmap is a ten year plan, starting in 2022, which will improve healthcare for people with intellectual disability.

The National Centre of Excellence is key to the plan because it will give healthcare professionals the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide quality, appropriate and disability-informed healthcare services.

The Coalition Government has committed to the Roadmap, which CID wants all political parties to join in committing to ahead of the Election.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has also committed to funding the National Centre of Excellence, although CID wants all parties to commit to establishing the Centre within the next 12 months because of its importance to the Roadmap.

More information about the End Deadly Disability Discrimination campaign and how to get involved can be found on the Council for Intellectual Disability’s website.