The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) (formerly known as DisabilityCare Australia) is an independent statutory agency. Its role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS aims to support the independence and the social and economic participation of people with a significant and permanent disability. The NDIS also aims to allow eligible participants greater choice and control in the planning and delivery of any necessary supports and in the pursuit of their goals and aspirations. For the NDIS’s contact details, see “Contacts”.
The NDIS assists people with or affected by disability to access mainstream and community supports, and provides information, advice and referrals to other relevant government and community services.
Local area coordinators of the NDIS facilitate access to community services and activities such as social, study, sporting or other interests.
The NDIS also works with eligible individuals to develop personalised plans relating to their goals and aspirations. A plan may include familiar supports, such as help with certain activities, or aids and equipment to maximise mobility and independence. The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports.
The NDIS is currently being rolled out nation-wide. To find out what is available to you, you can:
• phone the NDIS on 1800 800 110 (Monday to Friday, 8 am to 11 pm);
• use the online tool My Access Checker to see if you may be able to access individualised assistance from the NDIA. You can find it at www.ndis.gov.au, or phone and ask for a paper version;
• visit one of the NDIS’s offices listed on www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/our-sites.
To be eligible for an individual support plan, a person must:
• be under 65 years of age; and
• be an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen who holds a protected special category visa; and
• meet the disability requirements:
– you have a permanent impairment; and
– your lifetime impairment cannot be better supported by another service system; and
– you have a substantially reduced functional capacity to undertake activities in the areas of communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care or self-management. Reduced functional capacity means you require assistance from another person or from equipment or technology in order to participate or you cannot participate at all.
To be eligible for early intervention:
• you or your child has a disability that is likely to be permanent; or
• your child has a developmental delay; and
• there is evidence that shows getting early support will reduce how much help you or your child may need in the future.
The Victorian Disability Services Commissioner (see “Contacts”) receives complaints about registered disability service providers from people who are receiving services under the NDIS.
However, if people have complaints about the NDIS or NDIA, these are handled internally.
If you are unhappy with the NDIS’s service, raise the issue straightaway with the person you are dealing with. If this is not appropriate or does not help, you can ask to speak with that person’s supervisor or the state manager, or you can call the NDIS. You can make a complaint in person, by phone, email or letter to the office you are dealing with.
If you are unable to have your complaint resolved through these means, you can ask the Commonwealth Ombudsman (www.ombudsman.gov.au) or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (www.aat.gov.au) to review the decision.
Action for More Independence and Dignity in Accommodation (AMIDA) (see “Contacts”) is a disability advocacy group with a NDIS Appeals Support Service for NDIS participants and people who may be eligible for the NDIS. This free service can help:
• people who have been denied access to the NDIS;
• where the support offered by the NDIA does not meet a person’s needs/goals.
Other free services in Victoria that can help you make a complaint about the NDIS include:
• Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (tel: 9480 7000);
• AED Legal Centre (tel: 9639 4333);
• Disability Justice Advocacy (tel: 9474 0077);
• Grampians Disability Advocacy (tel: 5333 7344);
• Leadership Plus (tel: 9489 2999);
• Rights Information and Advocacy Centre (tel: 5222 5499);
• Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (tel: 9380 3900);
• Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service (tel: 5227 3338).