Support Classified as ‘Ordinary Living Expenses’ Would Be Banned in NDIS Redesign | National invalidity insurance scheme

The federal government’s overhaul of the national disability insurance system plans to ban certain forms of support that it considers “ordinary living expenses”.

A leaked agenda for the next disability ministers meeting, seen by Guardian Australia, reveals that Federal NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds will seek “in principle” agreement from states and territories for a major overhaul of the regime.

This includes support for the controversial plan to introduce independent assessments for all applicants and participants. The plan is facing opposition from Labor and Federal Greens, some state governments and disabled people’s organizations.

It sets up a potential July 9 showdown between the federal government and some states and territories, particularly the Labor-led governments.

The bill does not need the support of states and territories to be legislated, although their approval would likely increase the government’s chances in the Senate.

This comes despite calls from disability advocates in government to stop the overhaul process altogether, amid the particular fury of the evaluation plan.

This will require applicants to go through an interview with a government-hired paramedical health professional, rather than providing evidence obtained from their own treating specialists. Guardian Australia has indicated that this will likely result in an overall reduction in funding.

Based on details provided to states and territories, the government is considering changing the program’s “reasonable and necessary” criteria to refer to a “reasonable and necessary funding package” rather than individual supports.

A previous leaked bill, first reported by Nine Newspapers, proposed to remove “reasonable and necessary” entirely, but this was later ruled out by the government.

Reynolds has previously said she believes the test is unclear and needs reform, but disability groups fear the move is aimed at cutting costs.

The government will also specify which goods and services should be excluded from funding programs under all circumstances, as they are considered “ordinary living expenses”.

Specifically, it would allow the government to ban NDIS participants from accessing gender-based services through the program, which the High Court said should not be ruled out, although the list of items effectively banned could be longer.

For example, the National Disability Insurance Agency has waged legal battles in a attempt to deny participants access to support such as gym memberships, adapted transport, service animals and air conditioners for people with multiple sclerosis, among others.

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Mary Sayers, chief executive of Children and Young People with Disability Australia, said she was concerned the proposed changes would undermine the program.

His group is among those who have called on the government to stop its reform process, arguing that NDIA, which runs the program, has shattered the trust of people with disabilities.

“NDIS was built on the platform people need to be in control of their lives,” Sayers said.

“But if you start to say, ‘Oh, well, no, you can’t have this and you can’t have that,’ that actually undermines the real intent and the real design of NDIS. It’s just another way to ration.

Jordon Steele-John, a Green Senator who lives with cerebral palsy, called on states and territories to take a stand against the changes next week.

“The Morrison government’s agenda from the start is clear; empower the federal government to make it harder to access NDIS and make it harder for people to get the support they need, ”he said.

“These legislative changes represent the manifestation of that will. They are designed for one purpose: to shut down NDIS and drive people out of it. “

“That is why state and territory ministers should come into the room, look the minister in the eye and say, ‘We will not support these changes. “”

The government has increasingly warned that the program is unsustainable, taking advantage of budget projections indicating that the program will cost $ 40 billion by 2024-25.

NDIS Labor spokesman Bill Shorten said this week the claims were based on “rubbery numbers”, while Steele-John said the government had refused to release an official report on the regime’s sustainability which would show the assumptions of these projections.

According to the agenda, the proposed legislative and rule changes will also include a previously announced participant service guarantee, which will set waiting times for the agency to make a decision on access and plan of the diet of the person.

It will also include a “personalized budget” which the government says will give participants more control over how they spend their funding.

The bill will go to public consultation before states and territories are then asked to give their full support.

Asked for comment, NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds said it was “a unique program in the world that Australians can be proud of.”

“I look forward to my second meeting with state and territory disability ministers next week,” she said.

“There will be many important issues to discuss and on which to seek agreement. “

She did not respond to questions about the changes that were communicated to states and territories.

“In terms of meeting details, my preferred approach is to have these discussions directly with my fellow disability ministers,” Reynolds said.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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