NDIS independent assessments ‘dehumanising’?

NDIS independent assessments – we are all for a fairer NDIS but, are a group of allied health professional, who is unknown to the person with a disability, the right people to assess the level of support they need? What do you think?

Independent assessments were meant to make access to the NDIS fairer. But disability groups disagree and want them stopped.

A coalition of more than 20 disability organisations released a statement last Thursday setting out significant concerns over the federal government’s plans to introduce independent assessments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The government says this new approach is aimed at making the NDIS fairer. But many people with disability think it is about cost-cutting. They also say an independent assessment is a “nightmare” process that doesn’t produce an accurate picture of people’s lives.

If the government is trying to make the NDIS fairer, there are better ways.

What are independent assessments?

To meet criteria for NDIS funding, you need to demonstrate you have a permanent and significant disability.

At the moment, applicants submit evidence from experts such as medical professionals and specialists. But this can be expensive, and the government argues this has led to inconsistencies in how individuals are funded.

For instance, NDIS minister Stuart Robert recently shared Tasmanian data showing a 53 per cent difference in the average value of NDIS plans between more and less wealthy towns. So he argues independent assessments would make the process “simpler, fairer and more consistent for participants, and their families and carers”.

Some current NDIS participants have volunteered to have independent assessments as part of a pilot process. However, from the middle of this year, all people over seven years old who meet the initial access requirements will be referred for an independent assessment.

Those currently in the scheme will progressively be required to undergo the same assessment before they receive their next plan, with new legislation to facilitate this process.

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