Ensuring Every Australian Counts: Supported Independent Living Supports
The funding and provision of Supported Independent Living (SIL) supports has become increasingly challenging since changes to the structure of pricing and administration were introduced by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in July 2020. This is a major concern for Sylvanvale and the 200-plus NDIS Participants we provide SIL supports for.
The NDIA appears to have a targeted approach to reduce the SIL expenditure across the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and this is having unintended consequences for the people we support. We are seeing changes to funding for Participants with complex needs - without consultation with Participants, their decision makers or providers.
Participants’ plans are being amended outside of the NDIA’s publicly published plan review processes in the following way(s):
• Funding intensity has been decreased contrary to evidence provided.
• Ratio of supports increased or downgraded contrary to evidence provided.
• Changes to a Participant’s NDIS Plan and its funding have been made without consultation or communication with the Participant or their decision maker.
• Changes to the NDIS Plan have been made without a Plan Review meeting occurring.
• Changes to the NDIS Plan have been made retrospectively, leaving the Participant with a service agreement they can no longer afford and leaving the provider out of pocket for services already provided.
Sylvanvale has seen reductions in funded supports of between 10% to 40%, seemingly without justification, contrary to expert reports and other supporting documentation. This reduction in funded supports means a reduction in hours and level of service for the people we support. The NDIA has not provided an explanation or rationale to the families impacted to date.
What can we do?
Jeff McCarthy, Sylvanvale Chairman, has personally written to the recently appointed Minister for Government Services and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Honourable Linda Reynolds, requesting a meeting to discuss the issue and impacts to the people we support and their families.
Leanne Fretten, Sylvanvale CEO, is also sending an individualised letter of complaint to the NDIA every time one of our Participants receives an amended NDIS Plan review with reductions in funded supports. The letter requests: (1) an immediate review of the outcome; and (2) a record of the complaint be kept on the Participant’s file.
We encourage all of our families to keep up to date with what’s happening, and have a voice on these matters, via the Every Australian Counts movement. The grassroots campaign is made up of hundreds of thousands of people with disability, families, carers, people who work in the disability sector, friends and supporters. It also includes the National Disability & Carer Alliance, of which Sylvanvale is a member. The campaign has been fighting for a fair go for people with disability in Australia since 2011, and is now targeting the current fundamental changes being made by the NDIA. You can find out more at https://everyaustraliancounts.com.au/ and https://everyaustraliancounts.com.au/hands-off/
We encourage you to contact your local Federal Member of Parliament and / or Senator Reynolds directly (email@example.com) with your concerns regarding the NDIA changes.
We will continue to work together with the people we support and their families throughout the pre-planning, plan review and plan implementation process, to navigate the changing NDIS landscape and achieve the best possible outcome for all.