Coronavirus (COVID-19), NDIS and Disability Support

This collection of resources explores the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on disability support and the NDIS in Australia.

Coronavirus Statistics

Australia

Confirmed Cases: 26,997 Deaths: 869, Total Recoveries: 24,446

Confirmed cases by State

ACT: 113 / NSW: 4,213 / NT: 33 / QLD: 1,153 / SA: 468 / TAS: 230 / VIC: 20,119 / WA: 668

Globally

Confirmed Cases: 32,091,257 Deaths: 980,299 Total Recoveries: 22,110,409

Updated 25/09/2020 


Royal Commission hearing to investigate impact of COVID-19

18/06/2020 - The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has announced a public hearing to examine the experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Royal Commission originally indefinitely suspended all public hearings and face to face activities in March due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. 

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Survey reveals COVID-19 experience has been “expensive, isolating and lonely”

12/06/2020 - A new survey released by peak disability rights organisation, People With Disability Australia (PWDA), has revealed the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability. 

Results also show that many people with disability have experienced changes caused by COVID-19 with increases to expenses, changes to the way supports, including NDIS supports, are accessed, and changes to healthcare. 

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First stages of post-COVID-19 NDIS as temporary measures set to end

12/06/2020 - Some of the temporary measures put in place by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to help ease the burden of COVID-19 are set to end by 1 July. 

Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, announced today the first stages of a post-coronavirus NDIS. The announcement follows a review of current temporary measures to support participants and disability providers during the pandemic.

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Learnings and improvements needed to better support people with intellectual disability during COVID-19

04/06/2020 - People with intellectual disability have faced unique challenges during the outbreak of COVID-19 and need to continue to have their rights and autonomy protected as Australia focuses on its recovery efforts. 

Professor Christine Bigby, a disability researcher from Melbourne's La Trobe University, is one of many calling for better measures to protect the rights of people living with intellectual disabilities. 

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World MS day highlights importance of connections - especially during COVID-19

02/06/2020 - World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day, held over the weekend on 30 May, spotlighted the importance of connections for people living with MS, with the theme ‘Connections’. 

As the world continues to face the impacts of COVID-19, the theme couldn't be more relevant and in current times these connections are more important than ever. 

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Push for inclusion and kindness for blind and vision-impaired during COVID-19

29/05/2020 - COVID-19 has created a push for kindness online, and a new project has been launched by Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) and The Kindness Pandemic to spread kindness to people who are vision-impaired or blind and help them navigate the new normal.

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COVID-19 recovery can’t leave people with disability behind

19/05/2020 - As restrictions for COVID-19 are gradually lifted across Australia, people with a disability are at risk of being left behind as the world slowly goes back to 'normal'.

The National Cabinet released a 3-Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia earlier this month to help guide Australia’s recovery and return the country to life after COVID-19. 

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Advocacy boost for Victorians with disability during COVID-19

08/05/2020 - With a $2.2 million funding boost to disability advocacy services, the Victorian Government is leading the charge to support advocacy during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan says, “We’re making sure Victorians with a disability and the dedicated people who care for them have the support and resources they need throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

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COVID-19 helpline now available for people with disability

06/06/2020 -  People with disability are now able to access a dedicated Disability Information Helpline to access important information to help keep them safe and informed during COVID-19.

The Disability Information Helpline is a free and private service supported by the Federal Government and is available for people with disability, their families, carers, support workers and providers who need help because of COVID-19.

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Warning of scams targeting people with disability during COVID-19

06/06/2020 - The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is warning people with disability about online scams, as scammers take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to target vulnerable people. 

Common scams include phishing for personal information, online shopping, and superannuation scams with scammers commonly impersonating entities such as Government organisations.

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Report shows COVID-19 increases the risk to disability workers

04/05/2020 - A survey of more than 2,300 disability support workers by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney has revealed the initial experiences of workers during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Commissioned by Health Services Union, Uniter Workers Union and Australian Services Union, the report revealed that COVID-19 has massively increased the risks of working in disability services. 

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COVID-19 tracing app needs to be accessible for people with disability

1/05/2020 - Australians across the country are being encouraged to download an app to their smartphones to help trace the spread of COVID-19, however the accessibility of the app and unreliable internet access to download could be an issue for people with disability.

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Further support for NDIS participants during COVID-19

29/04/2020 -  As a part of their coronavirus, COVID-19, response, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has announced further support for participants and disability providers, including increased access to low-cost assistive technology. 

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International students to boost COVID-19 disability and health workforce

28/4/2020 - Work restrictions for international students in medical courses are being eased during the COVID-19 crisis to help boost worker numbers in the disability and health sector. 

International students currently working for registered disability service providers will now be exempt from the usual 40-hour per fortnight work restriction placed on student visas. 

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COVID-19 contract, lease and consumer law considerations for NDIS Providers

28/04/2020 - OPINION - In collaboration with MPS Law, this is the second in a series of articles discussing employment considerations, commercial leases, contract disputes, business continuity and the NDIS Practice Standards.

This article will cover commercial leases, planning for the impact of a reduced workforce on service delivery, the Australian Consumer Law and factors to consider when changing or cancelling service bookings.

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Students with disability face “disconnection” with online learning

24/04/2020 - As a result of COVID-19 many schools have moved partially or completely to online learning, a drastic shift from the traditional learning model.

This has presented challenges for students and their parents across Australia, but students disability are facing additional barriers that may leave them disconnected and without support. 

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Personal Protective Equipment essential for safety

23/04/2020 - A lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 crisis is a concern for disability workers and individuals with a disability, as the equipment is an essential part of service delivery.

PPE includes equipment like facemasks, gloves, and gowns, and is used to protect healthcare workers and individuals from coming into contact with bodily fluids that may contain infectious germs.

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COVID-19 planning for people with disability a human rights issue

22/04/2020 - Independent experts in human rights, bioethics, and disability are concerned about the decision-making process being used during the outbreak of COVID-19 and the impact on people with a disability.

These concerns were released in a statement last week with experts calling for the rights of people with a disability to be considered in the response to COVID-19. 

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COVID-19 response plan for people with a disability

21/04/2020 - Cabinet Ministers have approved a COVID-19 response plan that takes into account the unique health needs of people with disability.

The development and execution of a Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability is part of the Government’s response to the outbreak of the coronavirus known as COVID-19.

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Challenges for unpaid carers during COVID-19

17/04//2020 - Being an unpaid carer is a valuable and rewarding job but it's also a tough one, with many carers juggling multiple responsibilities such as work, family and friends, while making sure their loved one is well looked after.

For many carers, the COVID-19 pandemic adds another level of stress to an already challenging responsibility.

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The shift to online for disability services during COVID-19

15/04/2020 - COVID-19 measures are changing the way that service providers are delivering support to people with a disability in order to ensure the safety of their clients and workforce.  

Local Area Coordinators (LAC’s) now offer support for NDIS participants over the phone, via email or through a webchat, including for planning or plan review meetings.

Other organisations are having to come up with alternative ways to ensure they are able to deliver services and have implemented methods to support their clients either virtually or over the phone. 

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COVID-19 employment considerations for NDIS providers

09/04/2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense strain on the economy and raises complex legal problems for registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers.  

In collaboration with MPS Law, articles in a new series will discuss commercial leases, contract disputes, business continuity and the NDIS Practice Standards.

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Government-funded workplaces putting people with intellectual disability at risk

09/04/2020 - Disability advocates say that people with an intellectual disability are being put at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19 while working at Government-funded Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).

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Priority home delivery for NDIS participants

09/04/2020 - A new priority service launched this Monday in partnership with some of Australia’s biggest supermarkets to provide access to essential supplies for over 340,000 National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants during COVID-19.

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Unique challenges of Indigenous people with disability during COVID-19

08/04/2020 - While the country deals with the impact of the coronavirus, and people with disability face their own challenges around changes in service delivery, the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people with a disability puts them at an even higher risk during the outbreak of COVID-19.

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The smiley face system looking out for people with a disability

03/04/2020 - Community Vision, a not-for-profit community-based organisation in Western Australia, has come up with a unique way to make sure their clients are okay during the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Based on an initiative created in the United Kingdom, they have introduced ‘I’m OK cards.’ One side of the card is green with a happy face, while the other side is red with a sad face. 

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Staying connected with each other during COVID-19

01/04/2020 - During the COVID-19 outbreak, social distancing measures have been introduced to try and combat the virus. However, it is still important to stay connected to the people around us. For people with a disability, this can be extra challenging during this time.

COVID-19 is interrupting life as we know it and doesn't just affect day-to-day life, it has the potential to impact the mental health of the whole community. 

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Royal Commission raises concerns about COVID-19 support

30/03/2020 - The Disability Royal Commission (DRC) has released a statement saying it's “deeply concerned” about the impact of COVID-19 on people with a disability.

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Helping someone with intellectual disability during COVID-19

27/03/2020 - Information about COVID-19 is continually changing as new information becomes available. It is important everyone understands the information so that they can prepare and protect themselves and others. 

For a person with an intellectual disability this could be more challenging. They may be at risk due to not being able to access clear information, low health literacy, or needing to rely on carers.

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Message from the CEO: An important update about COVID-19

25/03/2020 - "As a community we're in uncharted waters as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

I wanted to provide you with an update as to what DPS is doing as a company in these uncertain times. Our number one priority is to keep consumers and our team members safe. We are also doing everything we can to support our clients during this time..."

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How to help keep yourself healthy and safe during COVID-19

25/03/2020 - Making changes to our daily lives in terms of personal hygiene and social behaviours can help slow the spread of the virus which will help limit the impact on other people, businesses, and healthcare services such as hospitals and doctor's clinics. 

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Explaining coronavirus and COVID-19

24/03/2020 -  A coronavirus is a large family of viruses which can cause sickness in animals or humans.The coronavirus currently spreading around the world is  known as COVID-19. 

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New measures to support participants and providers during COVID-19

23/03/2020 - 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. 

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Disability Royal Commission suspended due to COVID-19

17/3/2020 - The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has, until further notice, suspended all public hearings, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

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Coronavirus may impact services delivered to people with disability

13/3/2020 - The potential impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on those with a disability has led peak body People With Disability Australia (PWDA) calling for people with a disability to be included in the management of the outbreak.

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