Ombudsman slams disability insurance scheme
"Unwieldy", "unapproachable" and lacking "fairness and transparency" – that’s the damning report from the Commonwealth Ombudsman on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) review system.
The report reveals that about 8000 people are waiting up to nine months for reviews of such fundamental issues as inadequate equipment being provided and pleas for extra support. Other complaints focused on NDIS staff and contractors actively discouraging people from seeking a review, requests for reviews not being acknowledged and inquiries being ignored. In some case, the report said, these people were at risk of harm or homelessness.
"[Delays] pose a particular risk to those who may be at risk of losing services or experiencing deterioration in their capacity if their plan is not adjusted quickly," the report said.
The Ombudsman said it had received 400 complaints about the review processes in the 18 months to January.
More than 140,000 Australians are covered by the NDIS with that number expected to rise to 475,000 in the next four to five years.
The report listed 20 recommendations and the NDIS says it is working through them.
"[The agency] has started determining the most practical way to implement responses," a spokesman said in a statement. "The NDIA has established a dedicated team to manage outstanding reviews.