Accessibility Tools

NDIS Independent Assessments

This week the NDIA released a new Functional Capacity Assessment Framework in line with the Government’s response to the Tune Review.

The NDIA says that Functional Capacity Assessment Framework means people with disability accessing the scheme will have free and fair access to the scheme but disability activists have slammed the announcement, fearing that the move to standardised tests is a cost-cutting measure. 

“They will also be a cost-free, simpler and more equitable approach to ensure participants receive the supports and funding they need – part of a wide range of improvements we are making for a simpler, fairer and better NDIS.” – NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman

Currently, people need to get reports from multiple health providers of their choosing to make an NDIS Access Request and cover any associated costs. These new assessments would be conducted by NDIS-appointed healthcare professionals using standardised tools.

But what will these standardised tools look like? And will access to the scheme genuinely be easier or will it become more prohibitive?

At this point, we simply do not know.

What we do know, is that in a recent ruling, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) – the independent body which makes rulings on Government decisions –  said the NDIA’s use of an independent assessor was wrong [in the case of Ray v NDIA] and that the type of therapist chosen to conduct the assessment by the NDIA was “not appropriately qualified” and that the assessor’s understanding was mistaken.   

The AAT found that contrary to the independent assessor’s findings, the person with a disability was eligible for the NDIS and the evidence supplied by treating health professionals who had longstanding relationships with the person was more accurate and much more reliable than the single assessment paid for by the NDIS.

So the announcement that the NDIA intends to refer all participants to a single independent assessor from next year is alarming for people with disability, their families, carers and advocates. In response to community concern, the NDIA has provided some questions and answers for more detail about this. .

Every Australia Counts is asking people with disability, their families and supporters to ask NDIS Minister Stuart Robert six simple questions about independent assessments to help you have your say about these changes. An Easy Read version is also available.

PWDA is likewise concerned about the introduction of independent assessments to the NDIS and has urged their members to contact the Minister as well.

Further reading on the NDIS Website

NDIS - Functional Capacity Assessment Framework
NDIS - Independent Assessment Q and A

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