28 March 2017
NDIS Update – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Anne-Marie Kennedy
The number of people joining the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) jumped dramatically in the last three months of 2016, according to official figures with these latest figures representing a major turnaround for enrolment rates. The NDIA is under pressure to keep its enrolment targets on track and disability advocates fear the push to meet targets could come at the cost of quality.
Close to 26,000 people signed on — three times the number who joined in the previous quarter with the NDIA viewing this as a very positive step. The latest numbers are a big turnaround from the first quarterly report of the scheme’s “transition” phase, when only 7,400 new participants were enrolled which was well below initial targets.
In the first quarter many trying to join the scheme faced significant challenges which the NDIA has acknowledged. Many of those trying to join the scheme said the NDIS web portal often did not work. Other complaints included difficulty in reaching the agency over the phone, and planning meetings where scheme participants’ goals and objectives were ignored. The agency said the problems were being addressed.
The NDIA is under pressure to keep its enrolment targets on track. In the year to July 2017, the NDIS is supposed to enrol 120,000 new participants. By full roll-out in two years’ time, the NDIS is targeted to have 460,000 participants.
Disability advocates however, have said the focus on enrolment numbers has a cost and has been at the expense of the quality of plans. The majority of planning is now being conducted over the phone rather than face to face resulting in many complaints. The NDIA conceded there was now a greater use of phone plans; however it said scheme participants were always given other options such as having a face to face interview instead of over the phone.
The NDIA has stated it is important people are enrolled into the scheme quickly. Slowing down could result in people waiting for many years to access the scheme. The NDIA recognises the rollout of the NDIS has been a challenge for some but stresses that 61,000 people are now enrolled in the scheme and large numbers of people are receiving services they may never have had access to before in their lives.
Interchange Australia is an approved provider of NDIS supports across NSW. Our approval includes provision of the following core and capacity building supports:
- Assistance with self-care activities;
- Assistance to access community, social and recreational activities;
- Group-based community, social and recreational activities;
- Assistance in a shared living arrangement (short term accommodation and assistance);
- Improved Living Arrangements (assistance with accommodation and tenancy obligations); and
- Coordination of Supports
We have a team of experienced consultants who have been assisting people to transition to the NDIS, manage and review services. We have offices in Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Bowral and Narellan. Please call us on 1300 112 334 to enquire about NDIS service provision and/or for a quote.