We love the NDIS and have seen firsthand what a big and beautiful impact it has had on the lives of people with disability in Australia. Most participants are with us on this - according to the latest quarterly report over 90% of NDIS participants are satisfied with the NDIS.
Is it great system?
A perfect one?
In this blog we will go through some of the ways, big and small, that the NDIS is evolving and changing for the better.
It’s arguably one of the trickier parts of the NDIS to wrap your head around. It’s also crucial to get right. Without transport that suits your needs, you can’t get to your services.
As a disability service provider, transport challenges are something we hear a lot about, spend a lot of time working on and are always advocating for more funding for.
What is the NDIS doing about transport and travel?
In 2020 there were changes introduced which were a step in the right direction.
2) Plan flexibility
When it comes to choice and control, plan flexibility is so important.
How you use your NDIS funding is restricted by what’s included in your plan, and also what support category it falls under. Core funding is the category with the most flexibility.
What is the NDIS doing about plan flexibility?
There are two main things that have helped increase plan flexibility in 2020, and both of them have to do with your core funding.
- In 2020 the NDIS announced that core supports are now flexible across all four categories. This has made core more flexible than ever before.
- There are also moves to put more NDIS line items in your core funding. By including more in your core funding, it makes your NDIS plan more flexible. More flexibility means better choice and control.
Have NDIS plans become more flexible after the pandemic?
Coronavirus has created new challenges for everyone. As a result, more flexibility has been introduced so you can use funds in different ways to get the support you need. If for instance you have funding for a gym program but your gym is closed, you may be able to use funds for things like:
- short-term rental of gym equipment
- online training programs work with a therapist or trainer to develop fitness programs using everyday items
3) Access in rural and remote areas
The NDIS is now fully rolled out across the country. Big cause for celebration.
Many remote areas were rolled out last in the NDIS, and there is a reason for this. There are a lot of things that can make it harder (or even impossible) to access support if you are living in a remote or rural area of Australia.
This is because there are less service providers available in more remote regions. Telehealth services can be used in some instances, but are not always suitable depending on your needs. In some locations, you might be able to use fly-in services or pay someone in your community for the support you need. Speak to your LAC to find out your options and watch this space as the NDIA plans to improve access to services in remote areas.
If you live out bush make sure you check out our living rurally under the NDIS blog.
How is the NDIS making sure people in remote areas don’t miss out?
The NDIS has created a Rural and Remote Strategy.
The strategy aims to address these goals:
- Easy access and contact with the NDIA.
- Effective, appropriate supports available wherever people live.
- Creative approaches for individuals within their communities.
- Harnessing collaborative partnerships to achieve results.
- Support and strengthen local capacity of rural and remote communities.
Change is coming
If you find the NDIS hard to understand, are frustrated by the time things take, wish you knew more about why decisions are made, or feel like your needs are not properly understood, you are not alone. These are all things that are in the process of being changed. Change can take time, laws need to be updated, staff need to be trained, and new systems put in place. The good news is that despite these pain points, nearly 400,000 Australians with disabilities are being supported by NDIS funding, and things are getting better.
As one of Australia’s biggest disability service providers, we are always advocating for positive changes in the NDIS. We are providing regular feedback to the NDIS to help make the scheme fairer and more responsive and meets the needs of the people it exists to support.