NDIS receives its first half-yearly report
The first six-monthly National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) report shows that the average size of packages in trial sites is falling (but still 15% above the benchmark), and that planning is slow. A plan takes an average of 63 days to finalise. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has signalled that it will streamline planning to reduce this time. Very few participants are choosing to fully self-manage their packages and fewer than 1% have selected a plan management provider. Participant satisfaction is high: 1.83 on a scale that ranges from -2 to +2.
Complaints in the Barwon trial site in Victoria far outstrip the other trial sites. Feedback to NDS indicates that providers' experience in Barwon has been more difficult than in the other sites - and the complex 'in-kind' (state-funded) arrangements in Victoria are certainly implicated. In Barwon a third of supports are 'in-kind', far more than in the other trial sites. NDS is in discussions with the NDIA about the burden these arrangements impose on providers.
At the end of 2013, 2,856 participants had an approved plan, with an average package size of $40,466. While still above the $35,000 per package per year on which the NDIS was costed, the average package size has declined from $46,000 in the first quarter. The Abbott Government continues to affirm its commitment to the full rollout of the NDIS, but wants this achieved within the existing funding envelope of $22 billion in 2019-20.
The NDIS trial phase is estimated to cost $390 million more than stated in the bilateral agreements between governments. Of this, $240 million is explained by a large underestimate of eligible children in South Australia; and most of the rest by the costs of transitioning people living in large residential institutions in the NSW and Victorian trial sites. The bilateral agreements require the Australian Government to bear any cost overrun during the trial phase. The higher-than-expected costs are a pressure on the trial sites, but not on the full scheme cost - and they are estimates based on early data and a fair degree of uncertainty.
The average size of support packages varies substantially across disability groups. People with neurological conditions are receiving the highest average packages ($55,237), followed by psychiatric disability ($53,044), intellectual/learning disability ($38,331), physical disability ($35,151), and sensory/speech disability ($15,903).
Of people making an access request, 8.2% have been deemed ineligible (NSW Hunter is highest at 14.5%). Of those who become participants, people with intellectual/learning disability form the largest group (67%), followed by neurological disability (20%), sensory/speech disability (7%), physical disability (4%), and psychiatric disability (2%).
As NDS is in regular dialogue with the NDIA about how the NDIS is operating and how it can be improved, we encourage you to continue to tell us about your experiences in the trial sites.
(Source: National Disability Services 2014)