There are now more than half a million Australians with a disability receiving supports from the NDIS.
The latest Quarterly Report released this month says there are now 502,413 people with NDIS Plans. Almost half (47.5%) are under the age of 18.
Read on to find out all the latest including new COVID-19 related supports, price limit changes and planned improvements rolling out in 2022.
Quarterly Report highlights.
- $6.7 billion worth of NDIS payments were made from October to December 2021
- 20,384 new people entered the NDIS during that time
- 9.1% of new active participants identify as Indigenous
- 9.6% of new active participants are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
- 53% of participants now use a plan manager like Leap in!
In January the NDIS announced you can use your Core funds to pay for rapid antigen tests (RATs) if they are required to access ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports. You can also use your NDIS funds to purchase RATs for support workers.
Top tip: If you are a concession card holder, you can get up to 10 free RATs over a three month period with a maximum of five in one month. The best place to search for your free tests is the Find a pharmacy website. Use these first if you can find some so you’re not using up your NDIS funds.
Several other COVID-related measures are mentioned:
- The ability to flexibly use your NDIS Plan to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks if used in the home while NDIS supports are being delivered
- $300 for deep cleaning your home if a support worker tests positive to COVID-19
- $1200 a day for people living in shared SIL who are required to self-isolate
- Programs to lift vaccination rates of people on the NDIS and support workers.
In addition to the measures mentioned in the report, the government is also distributing rapid antigen tests to high-risk residential disability care settings. Five million test kits will be delivered by June this year.
Price limit changes.
The NDIA has made changes to Core supports price limits to reflect the additional costs to providers due to the pandemic.
The overhead allowance for disability support workers has been temporarily increased from 12% to:
- 12.4% for (SIL) supports and group Core supports, including employment supports
- 12.25% for other Core supports.
The increases will remain in place until 30 June 2022 pending the outcomes of the 2021-22 Annual Pricing Review.
The impact of the NDIS.
The NDIA surveys participants and their families to find out the impact the NDIS is having on people’s lives and where improvements can be made.
- 91% of parents say the NDIS has helped their child’s development after 1 year and 96% after 3 years (from 0 to school age).
- 62% of parents report the NDIS improved their child’s independence in the first year, which increased to 72% after 4 years (for ages 0-14).
- 71% of participants aged 25+ say the NDIS helped them have more choice and control over their lives. This increases to approximately 80% after 4 years.
- 74% of participants aged 25+ said the NDIS had helped them with daily living activities, increasing to 85% after 4 years.
Some parents said work was needed to overcome barriers so children with a disability could be included in more activities with other children.
The report also noted that self-rated health and home-related outcomes have deteriorated for both for young and older adults.
Employment and community participation.
The NDIS set a goal for 30% of working age people on the NDIS to be employed by June 2023. However, the total participant employment rate remains stable at 22%. The chances of having a job increase slightly, the longer a person is on the NDIS.
Transition to a new pricing model for Supports in Employment will be complete soon providing support to people with a disability in any workplace, not just Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
More people on the NDIS are getting out and about in the community. For people aged over 25, participation in community activities increased to 50% in the last 12 months from 37% in the previous year.
Children and the NDIS.
There are now 77,287 children under seven with an NDIS Plan. An additional 12,246 are accessing early connections.
Over 90% of parents of young children think the NDIS has improved their child’s development.
The NDIA is working on a new approach for children to create what it calls a “world-leading model” for evidence based early childhood supports. More information will be released later this year.
NDIS planned improvements.
As part of its Participant Service Guarantee, the NDIS is working on some changes and improvements. The following are expected to be rolled out sometime during 2022:
- Increased access to online forms
- The ability to track where your application is up to online
- An easier to use website and portal
- Clearer information about what reasonable and necessary means
- An online access request form
- Plan summary statements and draft plans sent out before a plan is approved so you can check the details are correct before your plan meeting
- Improved direct support for people with complex needs
- More flexible early intervention supports
- Plan and Plan Review meetings via video link.
Top tip: You can now access your personal data and plan details without a Freedom of Information request.
Source: NDIS Quarterly Report to disability ministers, 31 December 2021, © National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency.