The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the Australian Government’s funding and support initiative for some 460,000 Australians living with a disability.
The funding provides individuals with the means to afford much needed services that will assist with daily life and long-term relief.
The NDIS has copped criticism however, over its slow roll out and underspending, and the then-CEO has acknowledged some of the issues that participants and carers face.
Implementing social reform is a tall order, so some initial hurdles are to be expected.
Care providers and recipients have been struggling to get onto the scheme in the first place due to the complex administration structure. There are also long waiting lists for services as the scheme rolls out state-by-state, and as a gap in the workforce catches up to meet the needs of Australia.
The third-term coalition government is promising to address and resolve the problems that recipients of the NDIS face.
The insurance scheme now falls under the control of the Department of Social Services, and no longer the National Disability Insurance Agency. This has allowed the underspend from the previous budget year to be allocated instead to the federal budget, with the aim to help return the budget to surplus.
Disabilities covered under the NDIS include those categorised as intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive, and psychosocial disabilities. Children with developmental delay are also covered.
It’s not all bad news though.
There is some positive traction happening in the NDIS with the release of the latest report from the Disability Reform Council.
Sixty-five per cent of parents and carers of school children aged to 14 years thought their child was more independent as a result of the NDIS now, as compared to 56 per cent in the scheme’s first year.
More young people aged 15 to 24 found the scheme helped them with daily activities and 75 per cent of Australians aged over 25 on the scheme said the scheme helped them have more choice and control over their lives.
One popular resolution that many have been asking for is a case-manager. It’s thought that this will help mitigate some of the issues recipients and carers are facing, and will help streamline and centralise some of the processes.
The NDIS is not a welfare system, but rather the scheme aims to enable people to become independent, or improve their participation in daily life over time.
With some advances in the scheme already occurring, continued development and strong leadership should see the NDIS reach all people who are in need.