Funding concerns as more Aussies join NDIS

·2-min read

About 100,000 Australians joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme over the past year, new data has revealed.

It comes as the scheme faces accusations of reviewing participant plans in order to reduce their funding.

The NDIS' latest report reveals that on average, 24,800 people joined the scheme each quarter. There are now 430,000 participants, an increase of 93,500 people since December 2019.

The minister responsible for the scheme, Stuart Robert, is happy the NDIS has been available nationwide since July last year - seven years after it began.

"We are now focused on ensuring the scheme delivers a consistent and high quality experience for all participants," he said.

Mr Robert wants to ban all participants from receiving sex therapy through the scheme, despite his state and territory counterparts disagreeing.

It follows a Federal Court ruling that found a woman with multiple sclerosis and other conditions was legally entitled to receive funding for sex therapy.

The new data also shows the number of younger people in residential aged care has reduced by 22 per cent over the past two years.

All Australians applicants for the NDIS have been told within the 21-day time frame if they were successful. In July 2019, such decisions were taking 42 days on average.

The number of registered providers in the scheme has grown by more than 12 per cent over the past year. Providers received more than $20 billion last year to provide supports to Australians with disability.

The numbers also show average payments per participant increased by nine per cent last year, from $47,800 to $52,300.

Independent assessments are now required for Australians to enter the NDIS to determine the level of support an applicant needs, and to replace assessments normally done by a health professional of the participant's choosing.

By the end of this year, independent assessments will be required when participants have their plans reviewed.

Labor MP Pat Conroy says people in his electorate are already receiving calls from the NDIS to have an independent review of their plans.

One person in his electorate had their support downgraded from $75,000 for their own apartment to $43,000 to be in a house with three others.

"Let there be no mistake, this is an attempt to cut funding to participants," he told parliament on Tuesday.

"This has caused very significant distress to my constituent.

"When Labor designed the scheme the aim was to give participants choice, control over their lives and their plans."

A review of the scheme recommended independent assessments for new participants and not existing ones, contrary to the government's framing.