The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way of providing disability related supports to Australians who are under the age of 65 and have a significant and permanent disability.
- Blind Citizens Australia and the NDIS
- Fact Sheets
- Delays in access to Assistive Technology & Home Modifications
- Future Work
- Other Resources
- Quality and Safeguards Commission
Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) and the NDIS
BCA made the decision not to become a service provider under the NDIS. This means that, as an organisation, we can provide you with independent, unbiased advice on the NDIS as there is no financial incentive for us.
Below, you will find a list of fact sheets and resources that we have developed to provide you with blindness specific information on the NDIS.
If you are new to the scheme, it may benefit you to read through the fact sheets in order. Otherwise, simply access the ones that relate to your current needs.
- Preparing for your Planning Meeting
- Managing your Plan
- Change of Circumstances Review
- Scheduled Reviews
- Internal review of a decision
- Additional information for dog guide users
- Accessing information in alternate formats
- Complaints and Feedback
- Glossary of terms
- Helpful contacts
Delays in access to Assistive Technology and Home Modifications (ATHM)
BCA is in close contact with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about issues that affect people who are blind or vision impaired. We have been given this response from the agency about some issues that we have raised regarding Assistive Technology. We will be providing further information and case studies on this topic, as it is developed.
Key Messages, 30 October 2018
- The NDIA acknowledges that there have been issues with timeliness in decision making for Assistive Technology (AT).
- The Agency apologises for the impact that delays may have had on participants’ experiences of the NDIS and their day to day life.
- The NDIA recognises the transformative power of AT and remains committed to offering participants the opportunity to identify and purchase individualised AT that enhances their economic and community participation.
- As the number of participants entering the NDIS has increased, some of the NDIA’s processes and systems have resulted in an unsatisfactory experience for some participants and providers.
- The NDIA has commenced a program of improvements to reduce the need for assessments and quotes where possible, and (where quotes continue to be required) improve the efficiency and quality of assessments during the AT planning process.
Short term improvements:
- New low-cost AT policy: Up to $1,500 of funding for AT can be included in a participant’s plan without further assessments or quotes. Around 40% of AT participants are benefitting from this change, which applies to new and existing AT plans (in place since May 2018).
- Timely replacement: This change will allow replacement items (particularly like-for-like) to be sourced quickly without needing reassessment or multiple quotes. This will positively impact participants who need to replace an aged and faltering item, and would also be applicable with some review for replacing retiring dog guides (to be trialled throughout November 2018).
- Timely repairs: This change will enable timely repairs and maintenance by calculating an appropriate budget for comprehensive repair and maintenance coverage of more expensive items (workshop with sector and costing to be finalised in November 2018).
- Reducing quotes: Improved tools will calculate appropriate funding for reasonable and necessary AT or HM supports, replacing the current reliance on quotes. This is expected to reduce waiting and processing times. The new tools will be introduced progressively for different ATHM support types (from December 2018).
- Improved assessment templates: Updated assessment templates will help ensure the right information is provided to inform planning. This includes new templates for Dog Guides and Information and Communication Technology developed in consultation with participants and the sector (revised templates being validated with sector – release late November 2018).
National ATHM remediation team:
- A national ATHM remediation team is being established to monitor and help resolve delays in AT planning and plan implementation across the NDIS network.
- This team is designing a method to track participant and provider AT requests within the Agency’s Customer Relationship Management systems. When implemented, participants and providers will be able to monitor the progress of requests more efficiently.
- In the interim, nationally consistent AT email inboxes have been published on the NDIS website to assist participants and providers to provide information, and to engage with the NDIA about specific, urgent cases.
- A central team of senior NDIA planners and AT advisors is monitoring these emails and helping resolve escalations as quickly as possible.
Complex AT requests:
- Some participants requiring more complex ATHM support are currently experiencing delays related to receiving and processing assessments, and preparation of a suitable plan.
- To address this issue, and to ensure that adequate funds needed for AT are included in a participant’s plan at the plan approval stage, the NDIA is preparing to pilot the use of specialised AT assessors. These organisations will include assessors with skills in different disability cohorts, including vision loss.
- Aspects of the new approach will be tested from November 2018, and the full approach will be piloted in early 2019.
- The approach will be refined in preparation for a national rollout from Oct 2019.
- In the interim, improved guidance and training is being developed and delivered to NDIA planners and partners to improve planning for participants with complex AT needs. This will include updated Operational Guidelines and other guidance material for the sector.
- There are a number of resources, including assessment templates, on the Assistive Technology page of the NDIS website.
For details on submissions made by BCA around the NDIS, see our Submissions page.
We continue to work closely with the National Disability Insurance Agency on a range of issues including assistive technology and the need to receive information in alternative formats.
National Disability Insurance Scheme Website
For general information on the NDIS, including more fact sheets and other resources, check out the NDIS website:
NDIS Price Guide
Pricing for NDIS approved services can be accessed on the NDIS website also. The current NDIS Price Guide is available here in Word format.
Reasonable and Necessary Checklist
If you manage your plan yourself or have a plan manager and are unsure about whether a support you want to purchase meets the NDIS criteria of “Reasonable and Necessary”, this checklist may help you come to a decision.
“Reasonable and Necessary” The Podcast – The Summer Foundation
Dr Taleporos of the Summer Foundation presents a weekly podcast on the NDIS, breaking down different aspects of the scheme for listeners. Podcasts are available through the iTunes app or at the link below.
Every Australian Counts
The Every Australian Counts website contains links to a number of resources developed by state and federal governments, disability service providers and related organisations as well as general information on the NDIS.
Quality and Safeguards Commission
All states in Australia (except for Western Australia) have now joined the Quality and Safeguard Commission.
The commission is now responsible for registering NDIS providers. They also handle complaints about service providers and deal with reportable incidents of abuse and neglect.
The commission is not responsible for complaints about an individual’s plan; these must continue to be lodged with the National Disability Insurance Agency or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Complaints about the National Disability Insurance Agency can also be made directly to the agency or the commonwealth ombudsman.
If you have questions about the NDIS, contact BCA on 1800 033 660 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.