The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an opportunity to increase quality of life outcomes for Australians living with psychosocial disability. Psychosocial disability refers to functional impairment that stems from serious mental illness. While the NDIS presents an opportunity for people to access supports that may have been previously unavailable, a range of existing supports and programs will terminate so that funding can be transferred into the NDIS. The funding for three Commonwealth funded national programs for people living with serious mental illness, Partners in Recovery (PIR), Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) and Support for Day to Day Living (D2DL), is being transferred into the NDIS.

A report from Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) and the University of Sydney found 50 per cent of people in Partners in Recovery (PIR), Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) and Support for Day to Day Living (D2DL) had not yet applied for the NDIS.

There were 1578 (19%) of the 8162 people in this report who did not want/were unable to apply or, had to date not started the complex process of building the evidence required to apply. The percentage of people who had submitted an NDIS application, had increased by less than 2% in 4 months since the Phase 1 report3. While the Commonwealth government has partially funded these three programs for a further 12 months, this report evidences that without major changes to the process of application and assessment, there will, more than likely, still be a large cohort of PIR, PHaMs and D2DL clients who are not NDIS participants by June 2020.

Of the 50% of people who had applied, only half had been assessed as eligible, a quarter had been found ineligible, and a quarter were still waiting to hear, or their outcome was unknown. Thus, of the currently active PIR, D2DL and PHaMs clients, 25% are now supported through the NDIS and 75% are not. There are also identified problems with the assessment, approval and planning process. The 61 programs reported large variance in:

▪ The proportion of people assessed as eligible

▪ The lengths of time people had to wait for applications to be assessed

▪ The length of time before those found eligible received their plan

▪ The appropriateness of plans

To read more of this report you can download it here.

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