There has been a lot of uncertainty within the disability community over the past few months with one major question lingering in most people’s minds… “will there be budget cuts?” Although this can be scary and stressful to talk about, it’s definitely better to be up-to-date and in the know when it comes to the latest NDIS news, especially in light of the recent NDIS reboot announcement and May Budget release. Which is why we’re here to help break it all down and answer some commonly asked questions based on the information available.
NDIS is here to stay!
The good news is that the NDIS isn’t going anywhere… but it will be getting a reboot. NDIS Minister Bill Shorten recently stated, 'To enable the NDIS to reach its potential, we need to – in essence – reboot.' And that is exactly what is set to happen… a full NDIS reboot. We understand that part of this reboot is for the NDIS to be more realistic with its own projection of how many new entrants there will be onto the scheme. An estimate that has been voiced is that it was overstated by approx. 120,000 people, which represents a significant portion of the cost saving, due to incorrect numbers being previously used for a different narrative.
Having the NDIS go through a reboot isn’t a bad thing. In fact, if done right it could have a really positive outcome for participants.
The reboot aims to reform measures for improving the quality of services and support provided to people with disabilities, reducing bureaucratic red tape, and making it easier for people to access the NDIS. To ensure the reboot is heading in the right direction, a panel of experts including Bruce Bonyhady and Lisa Paul conducted an independent review last October, to address the design, operations, and sustainability of the Scheme.
At this stage, six key policy directions have been outlined:
Better outcomes from SIL
Eliminate unethical practices
Increase community and mainstream supports
For more information on the six policy directions, click here.
Cost of the NDIS on the rise
The rising cost of the NDIS has been all over the media lately, so it’s no secret that this is an issue the government is wanting to combat. It was recently released that the actual expense for 2022-2023 came in as $36.9bn, alongside future forecasts.
Currently included the future forecasts is a $910m estimated budget to help improve the NDIS. This includes:
$429m to improve NDIA capabilities and systems
$73.4m to support participants to manage their plans
$56.4m to improve Supported Independent Living (SIL) decisions
$29.3m to ensure supports provided to participants are evidence-based
$48.3m to crackdown on fraud and non-compliance
Of course, there are other areas the proposed funding will go with the intent to improve the capabilities and sustainability of the scheme, including two proposed pilot which are:
A pilot for blended payments where paying providers is partly based on the outcomes achieved, not just the time spent delivering services
A pilot for a new approach to reach remote and First Nations communities
When it comes to improvements to the NDIS, it’s important that there is careful consideration to co-design with participants and providers being part of the discussion so implemented changes have a positive impact on the quality of services and participant safety.
Flattening the curve
Following a National Cabinet meeting on 28th April 2023, the intention to reduce NDIS growth by 8% per year by July 2026 (from the current 14%) was announced. However, how they would meet that target was not addressed. For many NDIS participants, this is where the question comes in… “will my funding be cut?”
At this stage, no. If your funding is considered reasonable and necessary, the NDIA won’t cut your NDIS plan.
However, eligibility for NDIS funded supports is set to tighten in a bid to save $15bn across the next four years. NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has stated that, “the scheme was never designed for every Australian with a disability but for the most severely and profoundly impaired.” The intent is to call on states and territories to step up their own services for people with disability so that the scheme is not “the only lifeboat in the ocean”.
Another avenue the NDIS Minister has been particularly fierce on is fraud. “We also intend to clamp down on unethical behaviour,” he said.
“That covers everything from the crims to people overservicing, to people overcharging.”
Although there has certainly been some debate as to the real cost and frequency of fraud that is occurring in relation to the NDIS, it can occur and it’s important for participants and providers to protect themselves from fraud.
If you do suspect someone of fraud, you should report it to the NDIS by:
Calling the NDIS Fraud Reporting and Scams Helpline on 1800 650 717
New Price Guide
Each year the NDIS releases a new Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits (formerly Price Guide) which outlines the cost of supports that can be covered under the NDIS. It provides a detailed breakdown of the maximum prices that NDIS providers can charge for their services, along with the price limits that apply to ensure prices remain reasonable and affordable for participants.
The NDIS pricing arrangements and price limits release 2023 includes the following key features:
Price limits: The release sets maximum price limits for different types of supports under the NDIS scheme, ensuring participants are not charged more than the allowable amount for the services they receive.
Increases in prices: The release also includes minor increases in prices for some supports, reflecting the increased cost of delivering services.
New support items: The release will add new support items to the NDIS price list, reflecting expanding participant needs and demand.
Improved transparency: The release aims to improve the transparency of pricing for NDIS supports, making it easier for participants to understand the cost of services and ensuring providers are accountable for their pricing.
The Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits is pending release in June 2023.
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