CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s Morrison government is still planning on making changes to the disability insurance scheme this year, the responsible minister has confirmed.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Linda Reynolds had put legislative changes to the program on hold while consulting with the sector, but she is still working towards introducing them this year.
“I’m very keen and very aware that I do need to bring forward legislation this year to improve the participant experience,” she told a Senate inquiry on May 18.
“Particularly in terms of some form of independent assessments in conjunction with changing the legislation for how people are reassessed.”
Senator Reynolds flagged the possibility of pushing the annual assessment out to every three or five years.
The Senate inquiry is solely looking at independent assessments, which had been previously announced by Senator Reynolds’ predecessor Stuart Robert.
Recommendations from the inquiry will help shape how independent assessments work and the form they take.
People applying for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are assessed by their own medical team to determine what level of support they require from the scheme.
But Senator Reynolds says that the system is currently unfair, raising concerns people with better access to doctors were receiving more from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
But by 2024/25 the federal government expects to be paying 61 percent of the scheme, with the states dividing the rest.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is growing at about 12 percent each year.
Last week’s federal budget showed the cost of participant plans in the scheme would grow to AU$31.9 billion ($24.7 billion) in 2024/25.
“To be quite frank it is now a scheme that is on an unsustainable growth trajectory,” Senator Reynolds said.
“Together we’ve got to find a sustainable growth trajectory so the scheme itself endures for many generations to come.”
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) packages are built on what is deemed “reasonable and necessary” for participants.
The phrase would be redefined to ensure its meaning is clearer and consistent, Senator Reynolds said.
Established under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support to people with a significant and permanent disability that affects their capability to take part in day-to-day activities.
A person is eligible for The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if he has a permanent and significant disability that disrupts his ability to take part in everyday activities, is aged less than 65 when first accessed the scheme, is an Australian, permanent or New Zealand citizen who holds a Protected Special Category Visa and lives in an area where the scheme is available.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Nikita Nikhil)