Long delays and complex bureaucracy limiting fair access to NDIS

3rd Oct 2018

Extensive delays, complex bureaucracy and difficulties surrounding the appeals and review process are making it impossible for people to have fair and equal access to the NDIS in NSW, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

The ALA has reports of people waiting more than 12 months to receive clarity on how their NDIS supports will be affected by a compensation payment.

 “It is appropriate that supports provided by the NDIS are reduced to account for any compensation paid by an insurer but significant uncertainty and distress is being caused by unreasonably long delays in calculating repayment amounts,” said Mr Andrew Stone SC, NSW President, ALA.

“This creates stress on family members caring for people with catastrophic injuries or people with disabilities who are trying to access services and equipment but don’t know if they will have enough funding after their compensation has been accounted for and they made any required repayments.”

The ALA has made a submission to the Inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS and the provision of disability services in NSW outlining concerns around fair and equal access to the system.

“We believe the complexity and inadequacy of the current NDIA processes is creating two classes of recipients,” said Mr Stone.

“There is a divide between those that that have the capacity and financial resources to judge whether their plan is fair and to engage professionals to advocate on their behalf and those that do not have the ability or the support to effectively appeal an inadequate plan.

“The vast majority of people with disabilities do not have access to any support to help them access the NDIS. The complex bureaucracy and the often adversarial approach of the system is leaving them exhausted and frustrated.

“This will be even more of an issue when the NSW Government’s funding for disability advocacy services cease in 2020.

“We appreciate that there is significant pressure on the system as it rolls-out and there are many people benefiting from NDIS services.  However, too many people are not receiving the support they need to live an ordinary life, and NDIA processes are making it very difficult for them to have a plan reviewed or appealed.”