Over 100,000 NDIS participants are affected by ‘scheme growth’

Posted 4 weeks ago by Georgie Waters
Share
NDIS funding can positively impact participants, but some NDIS providers are manipulating the system, leaving NDIS participants and Australian taxpayers out of pocket. [Source: Shutterstock]
NDIS funding can positively impact participants, but some NDIS providers are manipulating the system, leaving NDIS participants and Australian taxpayers out of pocket. [Source: Shutterstock]

Concerns about overspending of NDIS plan funding have been raised as this could affect Australian taxpayers

Key points:

  • An additional $3.3 billion dollars was required to compensate for overspending on NDIS plan funding over 12 months, ending in February 2024
  • NDIS Minister Bill Shorten commented that while many providers are doing the right thing by NDIS participants, some are ‘exploiting participants and the taxpayer’
  • Some NDIS participants incorrectly claimed support with funding, such as bird seed and theme park passes

Over 646,000 Australians are registered NDIS participants, who receive specific funding to achieve goals that can involve increasing community participation and assistance with daily living.

However, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten recently highlighted concerns regarding overspending of plan funds which costs the NDIS and Australian taxpayers. 

Overspending of NDIS funding added $3.3 billion dollars in costs to the NDIS in 12 months ending February 2024 in acts dubbed ‘scheme growth.’

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten spoke recently about the impact of some NDIS providers who encourage participants to overspend funding set for a specific plan period. 

“We know in some circumstances unexpected things happen and people do need more support before the end of their plan, but the analysis by the NDIA has found this is happening far too often and tells us something is not right with the scheme,” Minister Shorten said.

“NDIS plan managers and support coordinators have a significant role in supporting participants to spend appropriately within their plans but the data shows that this is not happening.

“We are seeing examples where plan managers are facilitating early exhaustion of a plan and then contacting the NDIA demanding a reassessment and a funding increase. This exploitation is inexcusable and has to stop,” he said

An estimated 100,000 NDIS participants ‘spent their plan budgets before the end of the plan period,’ as per information identified in the recent Federal Budget and the NDIA’s Quarterly Report

The NDIS identified multiple reasons that funding may be used before the expected timeframe, causing ‘intra-plan inflation,’ including:

  • getting more hours and rates of support than accounted for in participants’ plans;
  • using core budgets for unintended purposes;
  • claiming supports incorrectly.

Theme park passes, mobile phones, bird seed and television antennas are just some expenses that NDIS participants have incorrectly claimed as support.

In the recently announced Federal Budget, the Australian Government invested $20 million dollars ‘to undertake preliminary consultation and design to work on ways to help people with disability better navigate services.’ 

To read more about the possible positive impacts of some Federal Budget allocations, head over to this article: How new Federal Budget allocations could help almost a quarter of Australians with disability.

While overspending must still be addressed, Mr Shorten explained that collaborating with people living with disability is a key step forward to ensure greater efficacy of the NDIS and improved use of plan funding.

“We are continuing to work alongside the disability community to strengthen the integrity of the scheme and make it stronger so it endures for generations to come,” he said.

While the Government works to improve the NDIS and management of support providers, statistics from the newest quarterly report showcase the improvement of the NDIS by serving more communities and people with disability. 

The target of half of all parents and carers reporting paid employment has been attained for 2023–24, which has seen an increase of 10 percent of parents working compared to previous data. 

Twenty-two percent of people with disability aged between 15 – 24 are now involved in some form of work, a figure which has doubled since the last report.

However, the data from the most recent quarterly report indicates that it’s not just people who are gaining employment that are seeing positive results in their lives as a result of the NDIS. 

An increase in engagement in social activities and other community aspects was found for 41 percent of participants, a number that is almost 20 percent higher than when it was last reported.

However, if you or someone you know is concerned about NDIS provider practices, you can report suspicious behaviour online. This can include health professionals, plan managers and support coordinators.

You can complete the NDIS Fraud Reporting Form here or make a complaint on the NDIS Commission website. 

 

Have you run out of NDIS funding before the end of your plan? How did this affect you?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

For more information related to disability news, subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter

 

Relevant content:

Up to 151,000 Australians could benefit from these specialised clinics — are you one?

How new Federal Budget allocations could help almost a quarter of Australians with disability

Multiple disability advocates left disappointed by 2024–’25 Federal Budget