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Support Coordination line items to be removed from Core

The NDIA will stop participants from spending their core funding on Support Coordination at the end of this week. Here's what we know so far.

By Evie Naufal

Updated 15 Apr 202425 Feb 2021

Update: On 1 March, NDIA announced that the duplicate line items will remain available in Core Supports until 31 March 2021.


We’re all well and truly over hearing that the NDIS is a “plane being built in flight” but today’s news that the NDIA intend to remove Support Coordination line items from Core really feels more like the plane is being dismantled en route.

The backflip announced on the NDIS website this morning will reverse the announcement last October that the flexibility would remain indefinitely. It’s an incredibly disappointing move that, frankly, demonstrates how increasingly disconnected the Agency’s leadership is from the real life implications of its decisions. 

The story is still emerging as we await details of the announcement. Here’s what we know so far.

 

What’s happening?

At the beginning of the pandemic, the NDIA introduced duplicate Support Coordination line items under core supports to allow people to use their funding flexibly towards Support Coordination. While originally announced as a temporary COVID measure, the NDIA announced in October that these line items would be ongoing, a decision they are now intending to suddenly reverse.

 

When will the change be effective?

The duplicate line items will end on Sunday (28 Feb), which is – even by NDIA standards - unbelievably short notice for such a drastic change. It doesn't even meet the NDIA's own definition of a short term cancellation for an appointment (2 clear business days), let alone allow time for Coordinators to cease supports in a safe, considered way.

 

What would be the impacts of the change?

Since the NDIA announced that the line items would be ongoing back in October, 5 months have passed where providers, participants, LACs and planners have believed they could rely on Support Coordination in Core. So the sudden backflip carries some huge risks and impacts:

  • Support Coordination services will suddenly cease: Around 10-30% of Support Coordination services are currently estimated to be funded from Core supports. This is a combination of people who did not have Support Coordination funded in their plans or who are topping up their hours where their needs exceeded available funding. These services will cease at the end of the week, disconnecting many participants from an important support, including (to name just a few examples) people:
    • whose need for Support Coordination increased due to crisis
    • in the midst of exploring housing options
    • approaching a plan review in the near future
    • with case conferences or other appointments involving their Support Coordinator scheduled after Sunday
  • Many plans now have insufficient budgets: In a survey of over 360 participants, half of respondents who had their plans recently reviewed had been told by an LAC or Planner that they could “just use core” for Support Coordination and were funded for either too little or no hours under Capacity Building.
  • Participants may not have an option to review their plans: For people with insufficient funding, there isn’t currently a plan review option that would allow adding Support Coordination to a plan without a full plan review. And even if the NDIA created a solution to support people to review their plans to add Support Coordination, these requests would need to be lodged without the support of the Support Coordinator.
  • Providers who have scaled up now suddenly have to scale down: To respond to the increased demand in Support Coordination, many providers have hired new staff. It’s not up to the NDIA to ensure organisation’s profitability but to cut an industry’s revenue by 10-30% practically overnight is not exactly living up to their market stewardship role.

 

What can be done?

Below are some of the ways you can show the NDIA the impact this will have on you and the people you support.

🔲  Support Coordinators can complete Disability Intermediaries Australia (DIA)’s survey on the impact this will have on you and participants: https://intermediaries.typeform.com/to/GcXfjULd

🔲  Share DIA's 2 question participant survey (https://bit.ly/2NTssGD) with participants and their supporters so they can lodge their views on this change and the impact it will have

🔲  Email or call your NDIA Provider Relationship Manager to inform them of the impact this decision will bring, or

🔲  Email [email protected] where you have not been issued with a Provider Relationship Manager.

🔲  Send NDIS your thoughts at [email protected]

🔲  Contact Minister Stuart Roberts’ office on (07) 5500 5919 And let him know what you think of NDIS taking away the flexibility they keep saying they’re increasing.


Making a change like this before even responding to the sector’s submissions to last year’s Discussion Papers makes recent calls for consultation ring especially hollow. This rapidfire change is poor policy and bad politics, especially at a time when the Agency is trying to convince the sector that Independent Assessments are about increasing funds flexibility.


Note: Statistics quoted in this article have been drawn from Support Coordination and Participant surveys undertaken by Disability Intermediaries Australia.

Authors

Evie Naufal

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