New improvements to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for both participants and providers will begin to take effect in October, following a recent Government announcement ahead of the Scheme’s fifth birthday.
An increased National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) workforce is among the improvements with an additional 750 staff to be employed over the next 12 months, targeted training of 6,000 planners and frontline staff, a staffing cap increase from 3,138 in 2018-19 to 3,230 in 2019-20 and an increase in the number of staff able to make access and plan approval decisions.
NDIS participants will also enjoy face-to-face planning meetings in order to deliver easy to understand, accessible plans through a single source.
However, participants aren’t the only ones to benefit from the NDIS improvements, with providers to also enjoy an improved NDIS experience through enhancements to the Provider Finder tool, the expansion of a dedicated National Provider Payments Team to resolve payment issues, improvements to quoting and claiming low cost assistive technology and the implementation of the first set of Independent Pricing Review recommendations.
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) took to their Facebook page to commend the announcement, saying they have been calling for a staffing increase for several years.
“This increase of 750 staff will go a long way towards improving the quality of service from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and reducing delays.”
PWDA says the delays to NDIS plans is causing distress to people with disability, so with more staff to improve plans, essential disability supports will be able to be put in place for people who need it most.
The announcement will also ensure a consistent point of contact with the NDIS is established, another request by people with disability.
“We want NDIA staff to know more about the issues we face and are pleased to see the announcement about training.”
“People with disability want their planning done face-to-face and we are pleased to see more support to ensure this can happen, as well as specific new programs for people with psychosocial disability and hearing impairment, including timely access for young people with hearing impairments.”
“These changes are the first steps towards significantly improving the NDIS for many people with disability and making the Scheme into the transformative system that it was always intended to be.”
The full list of improvements to the NDIS includes:
Clear links to other service systems such as housing, employment, education and health systems to ensure people gain access to the supports they need.
Improved connections between the NDIA planners and Local Area Coordinators (LACs) as a consistent point of contact for NDIS participants.
Improved disability awareness and cultural competency training to be undertaken by NDIA planners and LACs.
Face-to-face planning support during the critical pre-planning and plan implementation stages.
Implementation of a complex support needs pathway to help participants with such needs.
A nationally consistent Early Childhood Early Intervention approach delivering best practice intervention strategies.
Improved support for people with hearing impairments and to ensure timely access to early intervention for children with hearing impairments.
Ongoing work with Mental Health Australia to implement a psychosocial disability service stream to address the needs of participants with psychosocial disability.
Updated NDIS website and participant and provider portals.
The reforms are being introduced following received feedback and a trial of 1,000 participants.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au