AFDO developed “Disability Loop” to be the “go to” place for NDIS news, information, resources and events.
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Welcome to Disability Loop eNews for Autumn 2019. Here you will find recent news about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and helpful NDIS-related resources either from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) or from other organisations.
The NDIA priorities for 2019
At the end of 2018, the NDIA CEO explained what work the NDIA will be focused on during 2019. Here is what he listed:
Quality participant plans and outcomes as we continue to welcome more people into the scheme than ever before.
Supporting participants to achieve their goals, including meaningful employment in more inclusive workplaces.
More clarity on issues where the NDIS interacts with other government and community services like health, mental health and justice systems.
Deliver the roll out of the planned pathways approach including for people with psychosocial disability, ECEI (early childhood early intervention), complex support needs, and hard of hearing, and ongoing systems improvements for providers.
A focus on a better service experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and for people with disability living in rural and remote locations.
Supply market growth including delivery of a new payments strategy.
Better Assistive Technology processes and timeframes.
Ongoing engagement with the disability sector.
More focus on employment of staff with disabilities.
New NDIS Website is Now Live
The NDIA launched the new NDIS website in January this year. You can visit the new website at: www.ndis.gov.au
In December 2018, the NDIA released a test version of the new NDIS website as part of a six week trial to provide the community with the opportunity to give feedback. During this time, the NDIA received a lot of valuable feedback and they thank all those who took the time to review the site and provide comment.
The new website features: a clearer layout, an easier design for mobile devices, better search functionality, and new in-built accessibility features such as contrast and font resizing.
Further content and functionality improvements are expected in 2019.
As part of the move to the new website some links have changed and you may notice pages you have bookmarked may no longer work.
Late last year, the NDIA made a public statement about how they recognise that appropriate assistive technology (AT) can make a real positive difference for people with a disability. The NDIA has been working to ensure participants have access to AT solutions that help their economic and community participation.
The agency has identified areas of the processes around getting AT that needs improvement. This matches feedback they have received from participants and the sector and they acknowledge that more needs to be done to improve the timeliness and quality of AT decision making.
Some of the improvements the NDIA has made are:
Implemented immediate improvements to the planning process including reducing the need for quotes for all AT, and eliminating the need for quotes for low cost AT;
Established dedicated resources to address outstanding AT plan approvals;
Will strengthen its support for timely AT repairs and replacements by including appropriate funding in plans.
Following on from the previous article, at the end of February, the Federal Government made some more welcomed announcements about AT (Assistive Technology, also called adaptive technology) as it related to the NDIS.
NDIS participants will find it easier to replace their AT to enable them to continue to pursue their goals following the introduction of simpler processes. Replacement for standard AT items will now be quickly assessed by the NDIA without needing a full re-assessment, and will only require one quote for items valued between $1,500 and $15,000.
These and other planned improvements are good news because it means they are cutting back on red tape to replace items, while also reducing the delays in the assessment process and delivery of AT.
From April 2019, the NDIA will commence the pilot of a new approach to improve the quality and timeliness of assessment for participants requiring complex and non-standard AT. In June 2019, the NDIA will introduce changes to make it easier for participants to access refurbished or pre-used AT.
Support for People Currently Using Commonwealth Disability Programs
There are about 14 programs for people with a disability that are run by disability service providers that have been funded in the past by the Commonwealth Government. This funding was going to stop once the NDIS was rolled out, as people would be expected to use their NDIS funding to access similar services. However, not all clients of these programs have moved over yet to accessing the NDIS. Also, not all clients will be eligible for the NDIS.
Service providers have been working hard to help their clients transition to the NDIS. As it rolls out, it has become clear that additional time is required to help some people in Commonwealth programs to transition to the NDIS. Several of the 14 Commonwealth programs support Australians such as children with hearing loss and vision impairment in remote and regional areas, people with psychosocial disability, and people with younger onset dementia.
In March 2019 the Australian Government announced that they have decided to extend funding for most of the programs to these service providers for up to 12 months to 30 June 2020, so they can continue to support their clients with transitioning to the NDIS.
People will need to meet the NDIS eligibility criteria before they can access the scheme. People over the age of 65 and non-residents are not eligible for the NDIS.
Anyone who currently accesses a Commonwealth disability program who is ineligible for the NDIS will continue to receive their supports through something called Continuity of Support arrangements. This is where the Commonwealth and State governments have made agreements with each other and/or service providers to keep services going for those clients by extending funding. In most cases, this will be through existing arrangements where programs are still operating. Continuity of support arrangements will be different for different programs and services. The arrangements for these supports may also change over time.
If you have wondered how to get NDIA planning decisions about you reviewed, follow the link below to find out. Here you can read about how to request an internal review of a decision, and what to do if you are still dissatisfied after the internal review of the decision. https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/how-review-planning-decision
10 steps to excellent NDIS therapy reports
“10 steps to excellent NDIS therapy reports: VALID’s guide to NDIS therapist reports for allied health professionals” is a 20-page good practice guide which uses clear sections and headings and an easy to read layout for therapists as they prepare reports for NDIS participants.
It was developed by VALID advocates with expertise in providing advocacy support to people with intellectual disabilities.
In addition to helping allied health professionals, it can also be used as an information source for NDIS participants, families, Local Area Coordinators, and Support Coordinators when they are seeking therapy reports, or to determine whether a report is of a high standard. Along with the 10 steps, it contains a glossary, checklist, and small case study examples.
New resources to assist NDIS participants into work
There is a new resource to encourage NDIS participants to prepare for a conversation about their interest in work. It has been developed by the NDIA and is a booklet called “Let’s talk about work”. It has been prepared in consultation with participants, their families and employers and is designed to be used during the NDIS planning process.
“Let’s talk about work” helps participants to think about their strengths and any existing barriers in looking for work. It also encourages them to set employment goals in their NDIS plan.