The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Appeals service assists all people who are unhappy with a decision the NDIS have made, not just those with an acquired brain injury (ABI), across South Australia and the Barkly region of the Northern Territory.
We can assist people in challenging any reviewable decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), three of which include: being refused access to the scheme, not receiving enough money for supports in their NDIS Plan, and revocations of access.
As with everyone this year, we’ve continued to work through and adapt to the changes that COVID-19 brought. This forced us to change the way we have delivered services with the vast majority of them being delivered remotely during this time. During 2020–21, our NDIS Appeals team supported 33 new clients and 15 existing clients through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. We also assisted 39 new clients through the Internal Review process while continuing our work with 10 existing clients. This is a big increase in numbers since 2019–20 and reflects both a growing awareness of people’s right to appeal decisions as well as greater reductions in funds from the Agency.
The improvements in the time it took to process internal reviews last year have continued this year. We, and other disability organisations, have highlighted how significant an issue this has been, often leaving people with significantly reduced plans for months at a time. It has been great to see progress in this area and are eagerly awaiting the implementation of the Participant Service Guarantee that will require the NDIS to complete these reviews within 2 months of receiving them.
Brain Injury SA’s Appeals Officers have also assisted in a number of complex and novel cases, including supporting in successful matters relating to unique pieces of assistive technology, transport funding for children with disabilities, supported accommodation, and seeking access for psycho-social disabilities.
We are, unfortunately, noticing an increased demand for services as the result of poor planning decisions, situations where the NDIS looks to pass services to the health system and generally less funding available for people. We are also experiencing longer times to resolve matters at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), as the NDIS has increased the amount of evidence required from previous years.