The National Disability Insurance Scheme (the NDIS) promised to deliver much needed assistance to hundreds of thousands of Australians living with disabilities.
The Scheme does not pay for medical expenses but for assistance that would help people function within the community, and to the extent possible, increase their independence. This applies to both social and economic participation in the community.
With its head office located in Geelong, the NDIS looks at providing reasonable and necessary functional supports for the disabled as its core function. It also looks towards 'assistive' technology that will increase the capacity of people to participate and be independent. It also provides capital equipment and meets technology needs that can increase the capacity of the disabled.
One year on since the commencement of Scheme's roll out, the Productivity Commission has been tasked to review the costs and viability of the Scheme moving forward. While indications from the Commission suggest that the Scheme's funding remains on track, higher than expected uptake of the Scheme has resulted in uncertainty from the States and Territories about who will bear the burden of any funding blowout.
Although initially anticipating that those in the statutory compensation schemes would be excluded, it seems that the legislation doesn't prevent these people from also making application for assistance.
Managing the NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The NDIA has estimated that by 2019 the NDIS will cover 475,000 participants at a cost of $22 billion each year. In 2013 the Gillard Government struck a deal with the States and Territories to share the funding burden of the scheme at a growth rate of 3.5%. However, current figures suggest that growth will occur at a higher rate. The Productivity Commission's final report on the cost and design of the NDIS could recommend an increase in the amount of funding contributed by the States and Territories.
On Thursday 17 August 2017, the Commonwealth Government introduced a bill into Parliament attempting to increase the Medicare levy to raise $8 billion to fund the Scheme. The bill proposes to increase the levy from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent, however, the Labour Party have indicated that they will oppose aspects of the bill, to ensure the less wealthy are not burdened by the increase, leaving a question mark over the Scheme's future.
The Productivity Commission's final report on the NDIS costs is due in October this year.
If you or a family member has been injured and are considering participation in the NDIS, you need the right advice. For further information call our free Adviceline on (03) 9321 9988.