On this page you will find information in regard to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, it’s roll out, how it might impact on people who are Blind or vision impaired, BCA submissions made regarding the NDIS and personal stories from BCA members, other people who are Blind or vision impaired, and their experience when dealing with the National Disability Insurance Agency
You will also find useful information on how the NDIS could assist in the provision of services to meet your needs, access to adaptive equipment, and increased linkage to the wider community.
Review of the NDIS ACT
The Australian Government commissioned an independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth) (NDIS Act), as required under Section 208 of the NDIS Act. In accordance with this legislative requirement, Disability Ministers had agreed that Ernst & Young (EY) conduct the review.
The purpose of the review is to assess the operation of the legislative framework (comprising the NDIS Act and the NDIS Rules) and develop recommendations as to whether any improvements can be made to better support the objectives and principles of the NDIS Act.
The Blind Citizens Australia submission to the then released discussion paper can be found here: BCA NDIS ACT Review October 2015 (Word doc)
Delivering the NDIS to more than half of eligible Australians
16 September 2015
Joint Media Release with:
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
The Hon. Mike Baird MP
Premier of New South Wales
The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP
Premier of Victoria
The Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments today signed the first agreements for the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Today’s historic signings confirm the joint commitment of the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian Governments to people with disability, their families and carers.
The agreements give certainty to around 140,000 people with disability in New South Wales and around 105,000 people with disability in Victoria. They also give certainty to their families and carers.
Together, the signed agreements with New South Wales and Victoria cover more than half of around 460,000 Australians and their families who are expected to be eligible for support from the NDIS when it is fully rolled out.
The NDIS is one of the largest social policy reforms in Australia’s history. Working together, our governments are building a sustainable scheme that will stand the test of time.
Transition will begin in July 2016, with a geographical roll out moving from region to region, covering all eligible people under 65.
The region-by-region roll outs will ensure service providers have time to grow, to meet the needs of their clients and to meet demand.
In New South Wales, the rollout will start with the Central Coast, Hunter-New England, Nepean-Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, South-Western Sydney, Western Sydney, and Southern New South Wales regions.
The Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern New South Wales, South-Eastern Sydney, Sydney, Western New South Wales, and the Far West regions will start entering the scheme from July 2017.
In Victoria, the Northern East Melbourne, Central Highlands and Loddon regions will join the scheme from 1 July 2016. The regions of Inner Gippsland, Ovens-Murray, Western District, Inner Eastern Melbourne, Outer Eastern Melbourne, Hume-Moreland and the Bayside Peninsula will commence from July 2017, followed by Southern Melbourne, Western Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton, Goulburn, Mallee and Outer Gippsland from July 2018.
Victorian children on the Early Childhood Intervention Services waitlist will enter the scheme during the first two years of transition and ahead of the scheduled transition of each region.
Today’s agreements are a huge accomplishment for the people of New South Wales and Victoria and will ensure people with disability in these states have access to the lifetime choice and support they need.
Association of Blind Citizens of NSW Forum Audio
The Association of Blind Citizens of NSW, is pleased to make available for download from its Website, an audio recording of a recent discussion forum about the NDIS and Aged Care.
This was a presentation by a panel of speakers, which provided information, and an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience, about how people who are blind or vision impaired can access disability services into the future.
The audio download is available from: www.bcnsw.org.au/reports.html
NDIS: How Does it Actually Work?
We’ve told you a lot about the policy-related aspects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) already, but let’s get down to business and see how the process of opting into the scheme actually works for potential participants.
The first step is testing your eligibility, which involves an assessment to see whether or not you face barriers in any of the following four areas of daily living:
Everyone’s set of circumstances is different, but for someone who is blind or vision impaired, a few examples of such barriers might include:
- difficulty accessing information
- difficulty accessing transport to different parts of the community
- difficulty with home and garden maintenance
- difficulty accessing recreational activities
If you are assessed as being ineligible for the scheme and feel that this decision is not fair, you can appeal the decision through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ask that it be reviewed. If the matter cannot be resolved through the NDIA, it can
then be advanced to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal where an independent decision will be made>
The Planning Process
Once it has been determined that you are eligible for the scheme, you will be invited to sit down with a planner who is employed by the NDIA. The planner’s role is to assist you to develop a plan that will outline the types of “reasonable and necessary” services and supports that you wish to use your individualised funding to purchase. This process can be completed over multiple visits and can be conducted in your home, in an office of the National Disability Insurance Agency or in another setting that is convenient for you. You can choose to have a friend or family member participate in the planning process with you, or opt to undertake planning independently. If you wish to have a member of staff from a blindness agency assist you in the planning process, however, you will need to ask the National Disability Insurance Agency for a “specialist assessment”>
Developing Your Statement of Goals and Aspirations
The first part of
the planning process involves establishing a statement of goals and aspirations which will help to guide the establishment of your personal plan. The statement of goals and aspirations provides the foundation for the subsequent statement
of supports which will be developed by you and your planner. It needs to outline your goals, objectives and aspirations, as well as information about your personal and environmental context; such as living arrangements, informal and other community supports and level of social and economic participation.
You will receive further information about how to develop your statement prior to undertaking the process and will be able to seek assistance with developing your statement if you so desire. The statement does not have to be written down by you and can be provided in any form; if provided in a form other than writing, the planner will need to record the statement and seek your confirmation that it is true and accurate.
Developing Your Statement of Supports
While your Statement of Goals and Aspirations will be prepared by you, your Statement of Supports will be prepared by your planner with your input and will then need to be formally approved. In developing the Statement of Supports, the planner will:
- Consider strengths, capacity, circumstances and context;
- Assess activity limitations, participation restrictions and support needs arising from your disability;
- Assess risks and safeguards;
- Relate support needs to your Statement of Goals and Aspirations>
Examples of some of the supports that have been provided to participants who are blind or vision impaired already have included:
- Taxi transport
- Garden Maintenance
- Adaptive technology, including iPhones, text-to-speech software, talking barcode readers, scanning software etc.
- Appliances to assist with cooking
- Assistance with dog guide expenses; including food and veterinary bills
If there is a support that you deem to be crucial in allowing you to be able to achieve your goals and aspirations and this is shown to be “reasonable and necessary”, it should be accommodated in your Statement of Supports. If, however, this does not happen and you feel as though you have been treated unfairly, you should appeal the decision and ask that it be reviewed. Before proceeding with a formal review, you are encouraged to ask the individual responsible for not including this support for you to reconsider their decision; especially if you think an important matter was overlooked, or new information has come to light.
If you are unable to resolve a matter informally, you can request an internal review by writing to the CEO of the NDIA, by requesting a review orally at an NDIA office, by phoning 1800 800 110 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This request must be made within three months of you receiving notice of the decision. At the time
of asking for a review, you should also explain why you think the decision is incorrect. Once your request has been received, the CEO will ask an NDIA staff member who was not involved in the original decision to review the matter. If you are still unhappy after
the first review, you can seek a further review by the NDIA, or you can ask for a review to be undertaken by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal>
Managing Your Funds
Each individual will be able to choose how much responsibility they would like to take in the management of their supports. You will have the option of managing your funding yourself, or you can choose to have all or part of your funding managed for you>0>
If you are self-managing funding of the supports in your plan you can choose to receive your supports from registered providers, as well as providers who are not registered with the NDIS. If choosing to manage your own funding, you will be responsible for:
- sourcing and arranging your supports;
- making payments to your chosen providers, including ensuring that providers receive their payment on time;
- managing your plan expenditure, including submitting “My Plan Purchases” forms to the NDIA; and
- keeping records of all your plan purchases and providing these
to the NDIA.
If you choose to have a registered plan management provider manage some or all of your funds for you, they are able to handle financial intermediary activities such as:
- the organising of providers and their payment;
- the processing of expense claims;
- the development of monthly statements for participants;
- claiming from the NDIA.
While it may sound daunting, funding management is not intended to be a burdensome process and the NDIA will ensure that you have adequate information and support available to assist you in having your funding managed in a way that works for you.
Having Your Plan Reviewed
As we all know, people’s needs are not static and can change suddenly and drastically. So what if the plan that has been developed for you is no longer working?
If your circumstances change, or if you do not believe that the Statement of Supports that has been developed in your plan is allowing you to be able to achieve your goals and aspirations, you can contact the NDIA and request that your plan be reviewed. Your plan will also be reviewed periodically by the NDIA to ensure that your needs are being met.
How the NDIS Affects Your Other Supports
When you register to receive support from the NDIA, this then alerts Centrelink that the NDIA is responsible for accommodating your transport-related needs, so they will cease payment of your Mobility Allowance. In practice, nobody should be worse off under this arrangement, as people should have access to a greater number of transport options. If you were to get a taxi, for example, you would continue to use your half-fare subsidy and would either send the receipt for the remainder of the fare to the NDIA so that they are able to reimburse you, or have it arranged so that your local taxi company is able to invoice the NDIA directly for this trip. If you were not eligible for half price taxi travel but were a registered participant of the NDIS, the agency would cover the full cost of the trip.
While you will not continue to receive Mobility Allowance once opting into the NDIS, your eligibility for other income supports, such as the Disability Support Pension (blind) and Health Care Card, will not be affected in any way.
NDIS Update February 2014
The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is steadily progressing, with a number of people who are blind or vision impaired now receiving individualized support through the scheme.
There has been growing concern within the disability sector since the government’s adoption of a new term to refer to the sites where the NDIS was first launched in July last year. While these were initially referred to as “launch sites”, people felt that the new term, “trial sites” reflected the government’s lack of commitment towards an ongoing NDIS and was a sign of the scheme’s impending demise. The Council of Australian Governments has, however, advised that the name change simply reflects the fact that the launch areas are being used to trial the way in which the scheme is administered and to learn lessons about how the system can be improved prior to commencement of the full national roll out. Refer to the transcript at the conclusion of this update for further details on the government’s commitment towards an ongoing NDIS.
Another issue which has been raised several times by our members is the matter of eligibility for Mobility Allowance. When you register to receive support from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), this then tells Centrelink that the NDIA is responsible for accommodating your transport-related needs, so they will cease payment of your Mobility Allowance. In practice, nobody should be worse off under this arrangement, as people should have access to a greater number of transport options. If you were to get a taxi, for example, you would continue to use your half-fare subsidie and would either send the receipt for the remainder of the fare to the NDIA so that they are able to reimburse you, or have it arranged so that your local taxi company is able to invoice the National Disability Insurance Agency directly for this trip. If you were not eligible for half price taxi travel but were a registered participant of the NDIS, the agency would cover the full cost of the trip.
, A recorded interview regarding the NDIS for the 10 March 2014 New Horizons (our weekly radio program) show can be accessed here New Horizons Program 337
In the interview, Lauren Henley, BCA National Policy Officer, spoke with one of the scheme participants from the Hunter region, who explained that he now has access to far more support than that which was available under previous arrangements. In particular, the scheme has made it far easier for individuals to access adaptive technology; which has been a long-term barrier for people who are blind or vision impaired in Australia.
We are well aware that the cut off age of 65 will be of detriment to many of our members and are still working on this issue behind the scenes. To our knowledge, people over the age of 65 in the launch sites are still continuing to receive support from the major blindness service providers and their immediate needs are still being met. We are, however, concerned that these people will not have access to the full range of supports that are available to their younger counterparts under the NDIS. During a meeting with one of Senator Mitch Fifield’s Adviser several weeks ago, we were informed that the federal government had decided to move aging and disability under the same portfolio to allow them to examine this issue more closely and identify whether or not people were falling through the cracks. While there is nothing set in stone as of yet, it is possible that the aged care sector may move towards a similar system of individualised care in the future.
On 14 and 15 February Greg Madson BCA President and Executive Officer, Rosemary Boyd attended a meeting of the Australian Blindness Forum to discuss this issue in more detail and to seek the insights of David Bowen, Chief Executive Officer of the NDIS.
So where is the NDIS heading next? On July 1, the scheme will commence its roll out in the ACT, the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory and the Perth Hills area of Western Australia. Roll out of the full scheme in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory will commence progressively from July 2016.
You may be interested in reading the below transcript of recent Senate proceedings; where Senator Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Manager of Government Business in the Senate was questioned about the NDIS:
Fifield – Transcript – NDIS Quarterly Report – 13 February 2014
[SEC=UNCLASSIFIED] Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES MANAGER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN THE SENATE Senator for Victoria.
Transcript SENATE QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
13 February 2014
Subject: National Disability Insurance Scheme.
My question is to the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Fifield. Can the Minister provide an update to the Senate on the operation of the four trial sites of the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
Colleagues may be aware that late last year I released the key elements of the First Quarter results of the NDIS trial sites, which found that plan completions were taking longer than expected, with about 921 people in the scheme – around half the target number. The First Quarter results also found that package costs were running at $46,290 ¬– 30% higher than the modelled average cost of $34,969.
Today, in the interests of transparency, with my colleagues on the Ministerial COAG Disability Reform Council, we are releasing the Second Quarter results, that show:
– Firstly, that average package costs have fallen from the First Quarter figures, down to $40,466. While this trend is positive, I should inform the Senate that these figures remain 15% above the budgeted average cost. Plan completions are now at 2,586, which is half the target for this stage of 4,340.
– Secondly, the Report indicates that it’s likely that the budget by the previous government for the trial sites underestimated cost to the tune of nearly $400 million. This was due to errors in the bilateral agreements negotiated by the previous government. The difference between the expected annual cost in 2013/14 to 2015/16 and the actuarial baseline model is $392.1 million to be precise. Those bilateral agreements negotiated by the previous government provide that the Commonwealth is liable for all cost over-runs.
Errors of this sort are far more likely when a political timetable to achieve launch prior to an election is pursued, rather than the more prudent timetable recommended by the Productivity Commission.
Can the Minister inform the Senate of the implication of these figures and the Government’s response to them?
This isn’t just an issue for the Commonwealth. The NDIS is a shared venture of all Australian governments. That is why, at the last COAG meeting on December 13, First Ministers – State and Federal, Liberal and Labor ¬– asked disability ministers to report back in March 2014 on progress with the trials, including options to improve the implementation of the scheme and ensure that it operates on insurance principles to deliver for people with disability in a fiscally sustainable way.
At the same COAG meeting, First Ministers decided to describe the launch sites as trial sites. This decision was taken to emphasise the need to carefully study and learn the lessons from the trial sites, as was the intention of the Productivity Commission.
All governments, I know Mr President, share with the Australian Government the intention to learn those lessons to make sure they are implemented before full roll out.
Can the Minister inform the Senate of the Government’s approach to the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
The Coalition is committed to delivering the NDIS in full.
The priority of the Government is to ensure the scheme is as effective and efficient as it can be. And that’s to ensure that the support gets to the people who need it.
We are determined to ensure that the NDIS is here to stay, and that its foundations are strong and financially sustainable.
It’s important that we ensure that Australians with disability aren’t left wondering whether a reform of this magnitude is able to stand the test of time. We need to give them certainty that the services provided to them under the NDIS are here to stay.
That is what everything the Government does in relation to the NDIS is about.
And I would hope that those opposite will participate in the Parliamentary NDIS Committee, in the way it was intended – to put partisanship aside, to help identify issues, to help identify solutions and to see that the NDIS is the best that it can be.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
From 1 July 2013, the NDIS commenced roll out in Tasmania for young people aged 15-24, in South Australia for children aged 0-14, and in the Barwon area of Victoria and the Hunter area in NSW for people up to age 65.
From 1 July 2014, the NDIS will commence across the ACT, the Barkly region of the Northern Territory and the Perth Hills area of Western Australia.
Roll out of the full scheme in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory will commence progressively from July 2016.
So how is the rollout going and how are the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired currently being met?
We recently recorded an interview with two participants who are blind or vision impaired to hear about their experiences with the scheme to-date. This interview is in 4 parts and can be accessed using the following links. It may take a minute or two to commence playing:
- Listen to part 1 of the interview (MP3 file)
- Listen to part 2 of the interview (MP3 file)
- Listen to part 3 of the interview (MP3 file)
- Listen to part 4 of the interview (MP3 file)
Please keep in mind that this reform is still in its infancy. The first launch sites will play an important role in capturing any issues with the scheme so that these can be explored and resolved for future participants.
We will have ongoing involvement with the National Disability Insurance Agency to follow up any matters that are brought to our attention and would urge anyone who has had a problem to get in touch with us and share their experiences.
If you have a question about the scheme or would like to find out if you are eligible for supports, you can contact the National Disability Insurance Agency on 18800 800 110.
Blind Citizens Australia has been very active in our provision of consumer advice to the Federal Government on the consumer needs of people who are blind or vision impaired in regard to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
During the consultations Blind Citizens Australia have made submissions on:
- what should be considered reasonable and necessary supports (Word doc)
- draft NDIS Bill Comment (Word doc)
- BCA Key Askes of a NDIS (Word doc)
to ensure that people who are blind or vision impaired can access the services they need when they need them, with the maximum amount of choice and flexibility; Blind Citizens Australia has previously responded to the NDIS rules that would relate to people who are Blind or vision impaired.
- NDIS Rules paper (Word doc)
- Rule on Becoming a Participant (Word doc)
- Rule on Plan Management (Word doc)
- Rule on Registered Providers of supports (Word doc)
- Rule for supportsforParticipants (Word doc)
Blind Citizens Australia will continue to provide input where we can to the development of the NDIS.
The National Disability and Carer Alliance are working closely with government to inform the continued development of the NDIS.