In 2021 the NDIS will be introducing ‘Independent Assessments’ – a new method to determine what NDIS supports people need.
While Independent Assessments may sound like another complex term to be added to the long list of NDIS lingo, they’ve been designed to make the NDIS process more consistent for all participants.
In this news article we look at these Independent Assessments and what they might mean for you.
What are Independent Assessments?
An Independent Assessment is a meeting between you and an Independent Assessor in which you’ll discuss how your disability can affect your daily life. An Independent Assessor is a qualified expert such as a therapist, psychologist, rehabilitation councillor or social worker.
After this meeting, the Assessor will create an assessment report which the NDIS will use to assess the level of support that you require. But don’t worry, it’s not just this one report that determines everything, as the NDIS also look at lots of other pieces of supporting evidence, such as OT reports or letters from your informal support network.
When will I need to do an Independent Assessment?
Independent Assessments will be needed during key stages in your NDIS journey, including when you:
- Enter a new stage, where your NDIS goals might change; like starting school or employment
- Undergo a change of circumstance, like moving out of home or losing an informal support
- Request a review of your NDIS plan
- Access ‘Supported Independent Living'
It will also form part of the access process for people coming onto the NDIS for the first time.
Can I choose my Independent Assessor?
Yes - you can select your assessor, but they must be an NDIS approved Independent Assessor. While some feel this goes against the concept of choice and control, the NDIS have stated that using specially trained assessors ensures they’re consistent with their reporting – an integral part of this new method.
What’s the benefit of this change?
Because the NDIS uses supporting evidence to assess what funding and supports a participant needs, it’s important that everyone is on a level playing field.
Under the current system, some participants don’t bring supporting evidence to their planning meeting, which can make it hard for the NDIS to make an informed decision on the level of support they need.
In many cases, this is simply because participants aren’t sure of what they should bring or because they found it hard to find someone to perform an assessment for them. Independent Assessments will hopefully eliminate those barriers and ensure all participants have the best chance of getting the support they need.
Independent Assessments will also play a big role in the NDIS’ move from annual plan reviews to longer plans that are built around key stages in people’s lives. The NDIS has already began to move towards this approach, with some plans now being extended for up to 24 months.
Do I need to pay for these Assessments?
No, you don’t. In the past, some people were paying for independent reports themselves or had it funded out of their NDIS funding. From now on, that is not needed, as the NDIS will provide everyone with access to Independent Assessments at no cost to them.
When will these assessments be introduced?
There’s no fixed date for the introduction of independent assessments at the moment. The NDIA were planning on introducing them in early 2021, however after some criticism from disability advocates this was paused while they seek more feedback from the sector.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on independent assessments and their introduction as more information is released.