Inability to challenge NDIS assessments undermines principles of ‘choice and control’
8th Apr 2021
The inability of participants to challenge the results of mandatory NDIS assessments undermines the legislative intent of the scheme, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“A key principle of the NDIS Act is that people with disability can exercise control and choice in regard to the support they need,” said Mr Graham Droppert SC, National President, ALA. “The proposed changes, which will make so-called independent assessments mandatory and will not allow assessments to be appealed, completely undermine this principle.
“There is a real risk that the new assessment process will result in people with disability being unable to access the support they need, and there are very limited options available for individuals to appeal these assessment decisions.”
The ALA has outlined its concerns about the proposed plan in a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS.
“Under the new scheme, the results of the assessment cannot be challenged or appealed,” said Mr Droppert SC. “Individuals will not be given a copy of the full assessment report unless they apply to see it. This will mean that there will be very few circumstances where the plan and budget can be changed after the assessment is complete.
“This contradicts the Tune Review, which unambiguously asserted the importance of participants having the right to challenge the results of the functional capacity assessment, including the ability to undertake a second assessment or seek some form of arbitration if they are not satisfied with the assessment.
“The plan to move to unreviewable independent assessments is deeply concerning. It will cause irreparable damage to the individualised and personalised nature of the NDIS and result in an automated process that will not adequately consider individual needs and circumstances.
“It is critical that any changes to the NDIS scheme include protections for participants, including a right to challenge assessment results.”
Read the complete ALA submission here.