NDIS access criteria in chaos

Media Release

Today, the NDIS fell into chaos: it removed its access/eligibility criteria from its website.

Yesterday, the Government excluded most autistic children from direct eligibility to early intervention from the NDIS. At this stage, more than half of the young (under 7 years old) NDIS participants have a primary diagnosis of autism. But the NDIS quietly restricted direct eligibility for autistic children to those with Level 3 Severity. There are three severity levels: only a few of the most severely affect children are rated as Level 3. As a result of this change, most autistic children will now struggle to access the NDIS.

Many children who previously could access early intervention under the Government’s Helping Children with Autism package are now excluded from the NDIS.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports[1] that long term outcomes for autistic people are abysmal. Especially poor outcomes are observed in education and employment.

“Rather than helping, the NDIS is creating worse outcomes”, Mr Buckley, Convenor of Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, said.

“The NDIS quietly changed its eligibility criteria without even letting the community or service providers know”, he said.

“Government won’t talk to autistic people and their representatives. The responsible Ministers in the Abbott and Turnbull governments all refuse or refused to meet representatives of the autism community. The NDIA CEO and Chair of the NDIS Board also refuse to meet. Documents show meetings with NDIS minions are pointless: their record of meetings[2] show that they just ignore stakeholders”.

“Today, the NDIA decided the latest change was a ‘mistake’. They removed the pages containing essential information about eligibility from their website and there is no indication of when they will return. Now it’s anyone’s guess what eligibility criteria the NDIS will adopt next”, he said.

Currently, autism is the biggest primary disability type for children in the NDIS. There are far more autistic NDIS participants than officials expected. The autism community warned Commonwealth and state/territory governments before the NDIS started that their estimates were wrong, but our governments ignored the advice. And now the whole scheme is in disarray.

The responsible Minister and senior bureaucrats refuse to meet autistic people and their representatives. They refuse to recognise the abysmal outcomes the ABS reports. They refuse to consider improving outcomes for the most vulnerable Australians.

“Government and NDIA officials just need to listen effectively to people who know ASD”, Mr Buckley said. “We have practical approaches that are known to work. They just need to talk with us”.

Contact: Bob Buckley, A4 Convenor.

15/5/2018


The NDIA revised or restored its List A and List B on the evening of the 15/5/2018 ... after this press release.

The NDIS Access criteria for autism/ASD remain gobbledygook. sad