New measures have been announced to ensure support is in place for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and providers through the COVID-19 outbreak.
Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert says that these measures are the result of discussions with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council.
“We have been consulting with NDIS, disability and health stakeholders to understand what actions we need to take to minimise the impact that COVID-19 may have on people with disability, their families, and the network of providers and workers that support them,” Mr Robert adds.
The new measures are designed to allow people with disability to continue receiving support and for providers to be able to deliver services.
During the COVID-19 outbreak there has been concern that there would be a serious impact on services delivered to people with a disability.
Mr Robert says, “We have a concerted and responsive plan of action to ensure that people with disability can continue to receive the support they need, and that providers have what they need to continue delivering their essential services in these extraordinary circumstances.”
The new measures include:
Extending NDIS plans by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support and increasing capacity of National Disability Insurance Agency (NDA) staff to focus on urgent and required changes to plans.
Shifting face-to-face meetings to telephone meetings where possible.
Creating an action plan to ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive the essential disability supports they need.
Outreach to high-risk participants and sharing of data with states and territories to ensure continuity of supports.
Providing financial assistance to providers to support the retention of workers, 10 percent COVID-19 loading on some supports and changes to cancellation policies.
Mr Robert says maintaining access to essential supports for NDIS participants is a priority in the COVID-19 response.
“We are closely monitoring for any new service gaps that might open. If usual services cannot be delivered by a provider, the NDIA will work with states and territories to source an alternative provider who can step in to provide the required essential services," Mr Robert adds.
The current response to the COVID-19 outbreak is subject to change as more information is available.
Mr Robert says, “We can and will make further changes as required. The Department of Social Services, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission), are working with the Department of Health, states and territories, and NDIS stakeholders to monitor our response and will make further recommendations if required.”
The NDIS is also in the process of developing measures to source additional disability support workers to provide care to NDIS participants. This includes the upskilling of displaced workers from other industries and matching existing and new workers to areas where there is a demand for services.
You can find more news and information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), NDIS and Disability Support page on our website.