In what will no doubt be welcome news for many of you, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has cancelled their plans to introduce independent assessments.
What are NDIS independent assessments?
Independent assessments were proposed by the government as a new way to determine the functional capacity for a person with disability, which would then be then used to work out what level of funding that person would receive. The idea was that individuals would be assessed by a government-contracted allied health professional unknown to them.
Why have NDIS independent assessments been cancelled?
Independent assessments have been a controversial topic since they were first announced.
While the NDIA felt the new assessment method would make the NDIS fairer, many participants and disability advocates were concerned it could create greater stress and result in smaller NDIS budgets.
Following this backlash, the NDIA delayed the introduction of independent assessments and sought feedback from the sector. When this didn’t lead to a resolution, the Government called an emergency meeting where it was decided the controversial measure would be scrapped.
What was the rationale behind NDIS independent assessments?
The idea was that independent assessments would provide a more consistent way to determine how much support a person needs in their day to day life. They were designed to make the NDIS fairer to all participants by assessing everyone in an equal way through a standardised procedure.
The independent assessment was to be carried out by an impartial healthcare professional with no prior relationship or knowledge of the participant, their situation, or support needs.
So, what happens now?
In short, nothing. There will be no changes to planning meetings, plan reviews, or the eligibility process. This means you’ll have to gather your own supporting evidence from your allied health professionals to help give your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or planner a sense of the many ways your disability impacts your day to day life.
The controversy around independent assessments will likely mean the NDIA will consult more closely with people with disability, their families, the sector, and advocates on any future changes and initiatives - we think that’s a pretty good win!
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.