What is the NDIS Independent Assessment?
NDIS Independent Assessments were once proposed by the government to determine the functional capacities of disabled persons. These NDIS Independent Assessments were led by government-contracted allied health professionals, assigned at random to the NDIS participant. The findings of an NDIS Independent Assessment were in turn used to determine the level of funding the disabled person might qualify for.
These NDIS Independent Assessments were originally rationalised to provide a standardised methodology for determining the level of support needed by the disabled. To ensure standardisation, the assessments were to be conducted by impartial healthcare professionals, having no prior relationship with the participant.
The NDIS Independent Assessment would be carried out using standardised materials, such as questionnaires and checklists.
As part of an initial pilot, some existing participants volunteered to have an assessment conducted before the initial release. Following completion of the pilot program, the goal was to require all participants, over the age of seven, to complete an assessment prior to renewing their plan.
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Why were NDIS Independent Assessments discontinued?
Controversy sparked the instant that the government first introduced the NDIS Independent Assessment program. Participants and advocates rallied together to argue that the program could potentially cause more stress to participants and lead to decreased NDIS funding.
The assessments were quick in the grand scheme of things; assessors (i.e., healthcare professionals who perform functional assessments) were expected to get to know the individuals, understand how their disability inhibits them, and determine necessary supports all within a maximum time limit of three hours.
Many advocacy organisations argued that the protocols were unfair for individuals with fluctuating disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis, which can be better or worse depending on the day. Confining the assessment period to only three hours within a single day could easily skew the overall picture of how an individual’s disability affects them. In fact, some spectators deemed the process to be “dehumanising” altogether.
Other concerns surrounded the inevitable potential for discrimination amongst minority groups (e.g., First Nations, non-native, culturally diverse, and LGBTQIA persons). Many advocates suggested that minorities should be provided assessors with specialised expertise.
On another note, decisions made as a result of an NDIS Independent Assessment could not be appealed or challenged.
When were the NDIS Independent Assessments discontinued?
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) was moved by the backlash and requested additional feedback from participants, assessors, and suppliers (i.e., individuals who train assessors). Additional review was completed independently by the Centre for Disability Studies and the Centre for Disability Policy and Research at the University of Sydney.
Ultimately, it was determined by the government that the flaws of the program outweighed the benefits, so NDIS Independent Assessments were discontinued in July of 2021.
Visit the NDIS website to read more information regarding the pilots of the assessments, feedback from participants, and links to evaluations.
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Will Independent Assessments Be Reintroduced in the Future?
The government has not yet released any plans or dates for the reintroduction of NDIS Independent Assessments. Currently, NDIA is still requesting feedback from disabled participants, their family members, the sector, and healthcare advocates in order to develop and implement a better assessment system.
In the meantime, participants are expected to gather and provide supporting evidence regarding the supports and funding in which they are requesting from NDIS. Participants should meet with their Local Area Coordinator (LAC) to discuss how their disability affects them on a daily basis.
Patient Handling, Australia’s leading supplier of disability and mobility aids, is a registered NDIS provider. Patient Handling can help you understand the benefits of NDIS self management and connect you with additional resources. You can contact Patient Handling by calling 1300 734 862.
Check out the Patient Handling blog to “Understand the NDIS and How You Can Benefit From It.” For more details on product coverage, read “What Mobility and Transfer Products Are Covered by NDIS.”
For more information about NDIS self management, visit the NDIS Website or contact NDIS support at 1800 800 110 (Operating Hours: 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday). If you require additional assistance, please contact myGov support or call at 1300 169 486 (Operating Hours: 7am – 10pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays AEST).