While in general the NDIS is leading to increased levels and quality of services and supports, not all people with a disability have experienced improved outcomes under the NDIS. An investigation into the impact of the NDIS by Flinders University found that people with a disability who are unable to advocate for themselves or who struggle to navigate NDIS processes are at risk of receiving lower levels of services than previously many have. The NDIS also was found to have had a negative impact on the availability and cost of services for people with a disability who are not part of the NDIS. Furthermore, access to specific supports for family members and carers was considered limited under the NDIS. These finding were particularly noted for people from indigenous and CALD backgrounds, individuals with mental health conditions, and those with higher support needs.
It is perhaps the nature of any insurance scheme, that there is a high reliance on assessing the ‘evidence of need’, requiring robust supporting documentation and outcomes to be presented as part of the funding allocation framework. Unfortunately it has often emerged in practice that those individuals with lower awareness of skill in presenting their profile and support framework, or with a perspective on the relative merit of their claim, risk missing out. This 2018 review also raises a very interesting emerging challenge around service availability and rising costings for those with a disability but who are still ineligible for NDIS, or who have elected or find themselves outside the scheme. As the scheme takes hold to shape the care industry in Australia we need to keep a close eye on how we can support the social validity and the broad community impact. Alongside this, it becomes imperative that individuals and their supports have access to meaningful evidence and documentation to assist in their advocacy for an adequate ongoing support framework.