Have you been listening to what the Govmint is saying about the NDIS at the moment? The message is consistent from the PM, the previous NDIS Minister Roberts and the current one Minister Reynolds. The NDIS is costing too much, it needs to be brought under control. Yup, us Disableds are a burden you see. We be expensive folk
It does not matter that, in fact, the NDIS is on track to meet all predicted expenditure and costs. There has been nothing out of the ordinary really. All predictions suggested that expenditure would be what it is now. But this is an inconvenient truth for the Govmint. Best not mentioned. But you can read it here, cos I am quite happy to mention it.
I laugh when I hear/see the Govmint talking about how expensive the NDIS is. You see Deaf people and people with a disability often contact me for assistance with reviews for their NDIS plans. Basically, they get shit first plans or they have drastic cuts made to their second plans. Some people contact me because they have reviews rejected and have gone right up to the tribunal to appeal.
It is often laughable really. Some of the plans are so bad they make you weep. Indeed, many of participants are so upset with what the NDIS dish out to them that this is exactly what they do, they weep. Fixing the mess that they make takes time and many person hours. It takes my time, it takes LAC time, it takes delegate time and it takes the review team time.
It often takes many months to resolve. Not helped by the NDIS insistence in calling me and deaf participants by phone. When they don’t get an answer, they send an email asking us to get in contact with them. But not before they try to call at least a few times to make contact. Time equals money and the incompetence of some people within the NDIS adds greatly to this time and the cost.
More recently the NDIS has been refusing Deaf people a specific alert system. It is called Visualert. It is preferred by many because it is hard-wired and colour coded. In this way the deaf person knows specifically what they are being alerted to – Red might mean fire, blue the baby, green the door etc. It is a safer system that does not rely on alert towers, pagers or Wi-Fi. It is all hardwired and can be linked to many things including security systems. It certainly is a little bit more expensive than some, but it is safer and apparently more reliable.
Part of the problem is that the NDIS approves it for some people but not others. Some delegates are convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs. Some are not convinced and are insist on cheaper and more inferior systems. This lack of consistency in the making of decisions causes a lot of frustration and grief.
So, participants point out that their friends got the system and rightly ask, “Well, why not me?” The NDIS don’t care. Delegate decides no and that’s it. Precedents mean nothing. Sadly, it seems, overall safety also means nothing.
What happens is request for the system is rejected as not being value for money. Participant requests a review to have the system added. They spend considerable amounts of their plan funds getting reports done by OTs to justify the need for the system. Usually around $2000 they spend of their NDIS money on these reports.
The review goes in and gets rejected after many months and many person hours. This includes, as I said, my time, LAC time, delegate time, review team time and so on. You do the maths, but again this is many thousands of dollars.
Some deaf participants give up around here. Many do not and it goes to the tribunal for appeal. Again, participant will spend money to update reports, will spend money on people like me to get advice and this is a lot of money … It is repetitive to say so, but it is many thousands of dollars.
The NDIS, because they are stubborn and don’t want to accept that they were wrong, use tribunal time which includes admin to book in the hearing, it includes booking of interpreters and it includes providing advise as to where free legal advice can be had, ( To name a few costs.) Govmint money is spent on the free legal time. Govmint also engage their own lawyer to fight their corner. The process can take up six months or more. Sometimes they even tell the participant that they want to have the NDIS own independent assessor come in and do an assessment to justify the NDIS original decision. How much they pay the independent assessment, I do not know, but it would be thousands of dollars again.
All this for an alert system that costs around $7000. The NDIS rejects the request and then defends their decision come hell or high water, bugger what that cost might be. And remember, for some people they actually approve the system. Yet, for whatever reason, will reject it for others and then spend many thousands of dollars defending themselves.
Do you know that the reviews team in the NDIS are so over worked that they cannot keep up with requests for reviews? The reviews team staff turn over must be horrendous or perhaps the never ending growth in reviews is why the review team is always recruiting. Some of the decisions of the review team make are completely laughable and with no grounding in logic, whatsoever.
Because Let me tell you now spending tens and thousands of dollars, perhaps even close to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to justify rejecting a $7000 alert system that could potentially save lives, well that’s just pure bloody mindedness.
If ScoMo wants to know where all the money is going … That’s where he needs to look – It will save them millions. You do the maths!